How Literature Works: 50 Key Concepts

How Literature Works: 50 Key Concepts

John Sutherland

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0199794200

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

How Literature Works: 50 Key Concepts

John Sutherland

Language: English

Pages: 224

ISBN: 0199794200

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


How Literature Works is an indispensable book for any reader seeking a greater appreciation of their favorite novel, poem, or play. It offers a lively and straightforward guide to literary thinking. With a series of compact essays, the renowned literary critic John Sutherland--widely admired for his wit and clear reasoning--strips away the obscurity and pretension of literary study. His book offers concise definitions and clear examples of the fifty concepts that all book lovers should know.

It includes basic descriptive terms (ambiguity, epic), the core vocabulary of literary culture (genre, style), and devices employed by authors (irony, defamiliarization). More broadly, How Literature Works explores the animating concepts behind literary theory (textuality, sexual politics), traces the forces that impact literature's role in the real world (obscenity, plagiarism), and grapples with the future of reading (fanfic, e-book).

For any reader who wants to get the most out of the literature they read, Sutherland's short sharp book will both inform and delight.

The Acid House

The Writing of the Disaster

Fathers and Sons

Focus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

authentically biblical (the discards are “apocryphal”). Over time, “canonical” came to indicate those texts all devout Catholics should read. Those they should not read were listed in the Index Librorum Prohibitorum. “Canon” and “censorship” are always close cousins, dependent as they are on authority. What are the literary applications of the canonical idea? Are they useful? What is a literary canon? Around 30 years ago, the term “canon” was imported to cover that nucleus of literature that

plays, poems, gathered together under the loose description “works of literature.” timeline 1906–1913 Ferdinand de Saussure delivers lectures later published as A General Course in Linguistics 1940–45 Paul Ricoeur develops his theory of textuality and hermeneutics “Il n’y a rien hors du texte. (There is nothing outside the text.)” Jacques Derrida, From inside the text Of Grammatology Varieties Why, then, do critics prefer the alternative term, “literary text,” in preference to

plays, poems, gathered together under the loose description “works of literature.” timeline 1906–1913 Ferdinand de Saussure delivers lectures later published as A General Course in Linguistics 1940–45 Paul Ricoeur develops his theory of textuality and hermeneutics “Il n’y a rien hors du texte. (There is nothing outside the text.)” Jacques Derrida, From inside the text Of Grammatology Varieties Why, then, do critics prefer the alternative term, “literary text,” in preference to

D. H. Lawrence’s modernist manifesto essay, “Surgery for the Modern Novel: Or a Bomb.” He was thinking of the hygienic explosives of the Russian anarchists. “Literary Bolshevist!” Alfred Noyes (author of the poem “The Highwayman”) snarled at James Joyce (author of Ulysses). Society at large does not much like bomb-throwers, at least not when the cordite is still in the air. So too with modernism, in its early days. The modern versus the contemporary The poet Stephen Spender – a second-generation

they can think what they like. Intentionalism sank to its nadir as a critical technique with the rise of new criticism in the US and practical criticism in the UK, in the 1930s. These practices quickly became standard pedagogy in schools, colleges, and universities. These doctrines fiercely resisted the idea that authors could “dictate” how a work should be read. One detects an underlying political motive in their ferocity. The 1930s was the era of dictators and global totalitarianism – “follow

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