An Introduction to CriticismLiterature - Film - Culture
An accessible and thorough introduction to literary theory and contemporary critical practice, this book is an essential resource for beginning students of literary criticism. Covers traditional approaches such as formalism and structuralism, as well as more recent developments in criticism such as evolutionary theory, cognitive studies, ethical criticism, and ecocriticism Offers explanations of key works and major ideas in literary criticism and suggests key elements to look for in a literary text Also applies critical approaches to various examples from film studies Helps students to build a critical framework and write analytically
Preface: An Introduction to Critical Analysis xi 1 Formalism 1 Major Texts 1 Major Ideas 1 Major Terms 3 Summary and Discussion 5 Examples of Formalist Critical Analysis 7 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 18 2 Structuralism 19 Major Texts 19 Major Ideas 19 Major Terms 22 Summary and Discussion 23 Examples of Structuralist Analysis 25 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 31 3 Historical Criticism 32 Major Texts 32 Major Ideas 32 Major Terms 33 Summary and Discussion 35 Examples of Historical Analysis 37 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 42 4 Psychoanalysis and Psychology 43 Major Texts 43 Major Ideas 43 Major Terms 45 Summary and Discussion 48 Examples of Psychological Analysis 52 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 58 5 Marxism and Political Criticism 59 Major Texts 59 Major Ideas 59 Major Terms 63 Summary and Discussion 64 Examples of Marxist Analysis 71 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 74 6 Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction 75 Major Texts 75 Major Ideas 75 Major Terms 78 Summary and Discussion 80 Examples of Deconstructive Analysis 83 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 86 7 Gender Criticism 87 Major Works 87 Major Ideas 87 Major Terms 89 Summary and Discussion 91 Examples of Gender Analysis 98 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 108 8 Ethnic, Post-Colonial, and Transnational Criticism 109 Major Texts 109 Major Ideas 109 Major Terms 110 Summary and Discussion 111 Examples of Post-Colonial and Ethnic Analysis 118 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 122 9 Scientific Criticism 124 Major Texts 124 Major Ideas 124 Major Terms 126 Summary and Discussion 127 Examples of Scientific Criticism 130 Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 137 10 Film Studies 138 Major Works 138 Major Ideas 138 Major Terms 139 Summary and Discussion 142 Examples of Film Analysis 147 Things to Look for in Film Texts 150 11 Cultural Studies 151 Major Texts 151 Major Ideas 151 Major Terms 153 Summary and Discussion 153 Examples of Cultural Analysis 157 Things to Look for in Cultural Texts 160 Summary: Theory for Beginners 161 1 Culture is nature 161 2 Words make things 162 3 We know what we know 164 4 Learn Arabic 165 5 Reality is a fabrication 165 6 Not all stories are true 167 7 Power is belief 169 8 You are not who you think you are 170 9 You have to learn to be yourself 172 10 Capitalism is bad for you 172 11 Effects are sometimes causes 174 12 Identity is difference – and is therefore contingent 175 13 We all live in the past 177 14 The world is all there is 178 15 Nature is culture 178 Index 181
“But these are only minor criticisms of what will be an extraordinarily helpful and reassuring book for many students.” (Times Higher Education, 28 February 2013)
Michael Ryan teaches American Literature and Film Studies at Temple University, USA. He is the author of numerous publications, including Literary Theory: An Anthology, second edition (co-edited with Julie Rivkin, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction, second edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), Cultural Studies: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), and Cultural Studies: A Practical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).
Written in a highly accessible style, this book offers an up-to-date and thorough introduction to contemporary critical practice. Ranging engagingly from formalism and structuralism to psychology and history, the book also covers more recent developments in criticism, such as evolutionary theory, cognitive studies, ethical criticism, and ecocriticism. An Introduction to Criticism offers a step-by-step approach to acquiring the skills to write analytically, and in doing so teaches readers how to think critically about the world and to become more aware of the cultural assumptions, values, and ideas on which they rely. With practical examples, a focus on logical reasoning, and an innovative combination of literary, cultural, and film studies, this book is an essential resource for beginning students of literary and cultural criticism.
"A marvelous new book with which to introduce students to the informed, intelligent and insightful criticism of films, literature, and culture. In easy-going and engaging prose, Ryan shows his readers why cultural criticism practiced well is still amongst the most important things we can - and must - do. Students will love following him as he moves from Adorno to Hawthorne to Fanny Burney to Negri - an original critical ride." —Imre Szeman, University of Alberta “This is a smart and clearly written book that covers the whole field of criticism very well.” —Robert Scholes, Brown University
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