Great book April 20, 2011
Bressler's book helped me immensely to sort out the confusing mass that is theory. He lists a dozen or so major movements, such as formalism, reader-response criticism, structuralism, and post-structuralism, and also includes "additional" chapters on individual theorists such as Barthes, Levi-Strauss, etc. Actually, after reading more about literary theory, I'm no longer scared of it. So, if you're like me, a "newbie" to literary theory, you'd do well to start with this textbook.
Literary Criticism : An Introduction to Theory and Practice:
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Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, 5/e presents the thirteen basic schools of twentieth-century literary theory and criticism in their historical and philosophical contexts. Unlike other introductions to literary criticism, this textbook explores the philosophical assumptions of each school of criticism, provides a clear methodology for writing essays according to each school's beliefs and tenets, and features accessible professional essays.
This introduction to literary theory and criticism -- its historical development and the variety of theoretical positions or schools of criticism -- is designed to help students make conscious, informed, and intelligent choices concerning their own methods of literary interpretation.