The Rules of Art

Written with verve and intensity (and a good bit of wordplay), this is the long-awaited study of Flaubert and the modern literary field that constitutes the definitive work on the sociology of art by one of the world’s leading social theorists. Drawing upon the history of literature and art from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, Bourdieu develops an original theory of art conceived as an autonomous value. He argues powerfully against those who refuse to acknowledge the interconnection between art and the structures of social relations within which it is produced and received. As Bourdieu shows, art’s new autonomy is one such structure, which complicates but does not eliminate the interconnection.

The literary universe as we know it today took shape in the nineteenth century as a space set apart from the approved academies of the state. No one could any longer dictate what ought to be written or decree the canons of good taste. Recognition and consecration were produced in and through the struggle in which writers, critics, and publishers confronted one another.

Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory

With new entries and sensitive edits, this fifth edition places J.A. Cuddon’s indispensable dictionary firmly in the 21st Century.

  • Written in a clear and highly readable style
  • Comprehensive historical coverage extending from ancient times to the present day
  • Broad intellectual and cultural range
  • Expands on the previous edition to incorporate the most recent literary terminology
  • New material is particularly focused in areas such as gender studies and queer theory, post-colonial theory, post-structuralism, post-modernism, narrative theory, and cultural studies.
  • Existing entries have been edited to ensure that topics receive balanced treatment

The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism: Volume 3, The Renaissance

This 1999 volume was the first to explore as part of an unbroken continuum the critical legacy both of the humanist rediscovery of ancient learning and of its neoclassical reformulation. Focused on what is arguably the most complex phase in the transmission of the Western literary-critical heritage, the book encompasses those issues that helped shape the way European writers thought about literature from the late Middle Ages to the late seventeenth century. These issues touched almost every facet of Western intellectual endeavour, as well as the historical, cultural, social, scientific, and technological contexts in which that activity evolved. From the interpretative reassessment of the major ancient poetic texts, this volume addresses the emergence of the literary critic in Europe by exploring poetics, prose fiction, contexts of criticism, neoclassicism, and national developments. Sixty-one chapters by internationally respected scholars are supported by an introduction, detailed bibliographies for further investigation and a full index.

The Literary Animal

In recent years, articles in major periodicals from the New York Times Magazine to the Times Literary Supplement have heralded the arrival of a new school of literary studies that promises-or threatens-to profoundly shift the current paradigm. This revolutionary approach, known as Darwinian literary studies, is based on a few simple premises: evolution has produced a universal landscape of the human mind that can be scientifically mapped; these universal tendencies are reflected in the composition, reception, and interpretation of literary works; and an understanding of the evolutionary foundations of human behavior, psychology, and culture will enable literary scholars to gain powerful new perspectives on the elements, form, and nature of storytelling.

The goal of this book is to overcome some of the widespread misunderstandings about the meaning of a Darwinian approach to the human mind generally, and literature specifically. The volume brings together scholars from the forefront of the new field of evolutionary literary analysis-both literary analysts who have made evolution their explanatory framework and evolutionist scientists who have taken a serious interest in literature-to show how the human propensity for literature and art can be properly framed as a true evolutionary problem. Their work is an important step toward the long-prophesied synthesis of the humanities and what Steven Pinker calls “the new sciences of human nature.”

Time and the Literary

Time and the literary: the immediacy of information technology has supposedly annihilated both. Email, cell phones, satellite broadcasting seem to have ended the long-standing tradition of encoding our experience of time through writing. Paul de Man’s seminal essay “Literary History and Literary Modernity” and newly commissioned essays on everything from the human genome to grammatical tenses argue, however that the literary constantly reconstructs our understanding of time. From eleventh-century France or a science-fiction future, Time and the Literary shows how these two concepts have been and will continue to influence each other.

Critical Terms for Literary Study, Second Edition

Since its publication in 1990, Critical Terms for Literary Study has become a landmark introduction to the work of literary theory—giving tens of thousands of students an unparalleled encounter with what it means to do theory and criticism. Significantly expanded, this new edition features six new chapters that confront, in different ways, the growing understanding of literary works as cultural practices.

These six new chapters are “Popular Culture,” “Diversity,” “Imperialism/Nationalism,” “Desire,” “Ethics,” and “Class,” by John Fiske, Louis Menand, Seamus Deane, Judith Butler, Geoffrey Galt Harpham, and Daniel T. O’Hara, respectively. Each new essay adopts the approach that has won this book such widespread acclaim: each provides a concise history of a literary term, critically explores the issues and questions the term raises, and then puts theory into practice by showing the reading strategies the term permits.

Exploring the concepts that shape the way we read, the essays combine to provide an extraordinary introduction to the work of literature and literary study, as the nation’s most distinguished scholars put the tools of critical practice vividly to use.

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction

What is literary theory? Is there a relationship between literature and culture? In fact, what is literature, and does it matter? These are some of questions addressed by Jonathan Culler in this Very Short Introduction to literary theory. Often a controversial subject, said to have transformed the study of culture and society in the past two decades, literary theory is accused of undermining respect for tradition and truth and encouraging suspicion about the political and psychological implications of cultural projects rather than admiration for great literature. Here, Jonathan Culler explains ‘theory’, not by describing warring ‘schools’ but by sketching key ‘moves’ theory has encouraged, and speaking directly about the implications of theory for thinking about literature, human identity, and the power of language. In this new edition Culler takes a look at new material, including the ‘death of theory’, the links between the theory of narrative and cognitive science, trauma theory, ecocriticism, and includes a new chapter on ‘Ethics and aesthetics’. This lucid introduction is useful for anyone who has wondered what all the fuss is about or who wants to think about literature today. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

The Making of the English Literary Canon

It is widely accepted among literary scholars that canon-formation began in the eighteenth century when scholarly editions and critical treatments of older works, designed to educate readers about the national literary heritage, appeared for the first time. In The Making of the English Literary Canon Trevor Ross challenges this assumption, arguing that canon-formation was going on well before the eighteenth century but was based on a very different set of literary and cultural values. Covering a period that extends from the Middle Ages to the institutionalisation of literature in the eighteenth century, Ross’s comprehensive history traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward literature in English society, highlighting the diverse interests and assumptions that defined and shaped the literary canon.
An indigenous canon of letters, Ross argues, had been both the hope and aim of English authors since the Middle Ages. Early authors believed that promoting the idea of a national literature would help publicise their work and favour literary production in the vernacular. Ross places these early gestures toward canon-making in the context of the highly rhetorical habits of thought that dominated medieval and Renaissance culture, habits that were gradually displaced by an emergent rationalist understanding of literary value. He shows that, beginning in the late seventeenth century, canon-makers became less concerned with how English literature was produced than with how it was read and received.
By showing that canon-formation has served different functions in the past, The Making of the English Literary Canon is relevant not only to current debates over the canon but also as an important corrective to prevailing views of early modern English literature and of how it was first evaluated, promoted, and preserved.
It is widely accepted among literary scholars that canon-formation began in the eighteenth century when scholarly editions and critical treatments of older works, designed to educate readers about the national literary heritage, appeared for the first time. In The Making of the English Literary Canon Trevor Ross challenges this assumption, arguing that canon- formation was going on well before the eighteenth century but was based on a very different set of literary and cultural values. Covering a period that extends from the Middle Ages to the institutionalisation of literature in the eighteenth century, Ross’s comprehensive history traces the evolution of cultural attitudes toward literature in English society, highlighting the diverse interests and assumptions that defined and shaped the literary canon.
An indigenous canon of letters, Ross argues, had been both the hope and aim of English authors since the Middle Ages. Early authors believed that promoting the idea of a national literature would help publicise their work and favour literary production in the vernacular. Ross places these early gestures toward canon-making in the context of the highly rhetorical habits of thought that dominated medieval and Renaissance culture, habits that were gradually displaced by an emergent rationalist understanding of literary value. He shows that, beginning in the late seventeenth century, canon-makers became less concerned with how English literature was produced than with how it was read and received.
By showing that canon-formation has served different functions in the past, The Making of the English Literary Canon is relevant not only to current debates over the canon but also as an important corrective to prevailing views of early modern English literature and of how it was first evaluated, promoted, and preserved.

The Literary Guide to the Bible

Rediscover the incomparable literary richness and strength of a book that all of us live with an many of us live by. An international team of renowned scholars, assembled by two leading literary critics, offers a book-by-book guide through the Old and New Testaments as well as general essays on the Bible as a whole, providing an enticing reintroduction to a work that has shaped our language and thought for thousands of years.