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Texts and Contexts (4th Edition)

av Steven Lynn

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
217490,875 (3.07)1
Deeply rooted in the views, responses, and history of contemporary critical theories, this text provides students with the knowledge and tools to write about literature effectively. It presents a user-friendly introduction to contemporary critical theories.



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Lynn steers past the shoals that sunk my pedagogical interest in the Guide for the Perplexed lit theory survey, first, by providing clear examples of how each school of thought reads, and by anticipating objections to the weirdness and political engagement (or at least pretensions to political engagement) of each of these schools. His section on Freud, for example, congenially (which is the tone, throughout) explains that the concept of penis envy "continues even today to drive people up a wall." And the examples are superbly detailed: they walk students from the rudiments of simply understanding some work, to brainstorming, to research, and finally to several examples of good final papers.

I've only a few objections to it. The first is simply medieval crankiness: Hamlet and Milton anchor the--how did I end up with this nautical conceit?--they are the earliest writings, which means there's nothing from my field. Not a serious problem, by any means, since I wouldn't expect him to read Gerald of Wales in the way I want him read, anyhow. My second objection is more substantial. The Klages survey divided criticism into humanist (outmoded) and posthumanist (hip and with it since at least 1980) and rapidly dispensed with humanist approaches. Given the divisions, her explanations were much more sophisticated than Lynn, and they were generally in line with my own critical interests. Lynn, by contrast, gives us only Freud and provides nothing of Lacan. In fact, he tends towards humanist critiques: his example of a psychoanalytic reading is a character study of Hamlet rather than, say, a study of language and representation itself, and he devotes his explanation of "historicist" readings to doing a biographical exegesis of the relationship between John Cheever's life and a short story. In short, there's just not enough cultural critique.

These problems hardly sink the book, however, and I just might assign it next semester, if only because its explanations of New Criticism, poststructuralism, and feminist and gender critique are pretty good, and the last chapter on doing research is flawless. I can always victimize the Hamlet reading, and a few of the others, to create a communal (mis?)conception of sophistication in a class that would otherwise feel entirely victimized by the critical tradition.

Okay, I just checked the price. At 50$ , it's way too expensive. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
I bought this book for a required College English class. It is an extremely informative guide to several major critical theories. It includes clear explanations of each theory and provides relevant examples of how each can be applied. Very useful guide for any English Major or any reader who likes to delve deep into a literary work. It can also enhance one's ability to offer a critical examination of a book for those who enjoy writing reviews.
  exlibrismcp | Aug 5, 2008 |
Breaks down the different analyzation styles. Really helped me grasp the different concepts. Every English major should have a copy. ( )
  LydieR | May 3, 2007 |
Great introduction to different schools of literary criticism. Can get tedious at times, but it's a great reference to have if you're an English major. ( )
1 rösta fodroy | Mar 25, 2006 |
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Deeply rooted in the views, responses, and history of contemporary critical theories, this text provides students with the knowledge and tools to write about literature effectively. It presents a user-friendly introduction to contemporary critical theories.

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