How Literature Works 50 Key Concepts

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-04-07
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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A minefield of ambiguous concepts, leaden prose, and circular definitions await anyone who wishes to tackle the terms used to describe literature. Indeed, words like hermeneutics, heteroglossia, and mimesis more often impede than enhance one's appreciation of a great literary work. Cutting through the cant, How Literature Works offers a reader-friendly, easy-to-navigate guide that will aid anyone--from the undergraduate to the general reader--who's seeking a greater appreciation of their favorite novel, poem, or play. With a series of pithy, jaunty essays, the renowned literary critic John Sutherland--widely admired for his wit and crystal-clear reasoning--strips away the obscurity and pretension associated with literature. His book offers concise definitions and clear examples of 50 terms and concepts that all book lovers should know. An indispensable reference tool, How Literature Works will be a boon to readers of all sorts, from fans of William Shakespeare and Philip Roth to readers of Jane Smiley and J.K. Rowling.

Author Biography

John Sutherland, who has been a book columnist for the Guardian and a chair of judges for the Man-Booker prize, is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 3
Some Basics
Mimesisp. 4
Ambiguityp. 8
Hermeneuticsp. 12
The Classicp. 16
Intentionalismp. 20
The Affective Fallacyp. 24
Narrative / Storyp. 28
Epicp. 32
Lyric / Prosodyp. 36
Gothicp. 40
The Translation Paradoxp. 44
Machinery: How it Works
Culturep. 48
Milieup. 52
Base / Superstructurep. 56
The Canonp. 60
Genrep. 64
Closurep. 68
Paradigm Shiftp. 72
Ownershipp. 76
Critical Authorityp. 80
Stylep. 84
Literature's Devices
Allegoryp. 88
Ironyp. 92
Imageryp. 96
Allusionp. 100
Defamiliarizationp. 104
Bricolagep. 108
Metafictionp. 112
Solidity of Specificationp. 116
New Ideas
Structuralismp. 120
Deconstructionp. 124
Textualityp. 128
Double Bindp. 132
Postmodernismp. 136
Heteroglossiap. 140
New Historicismp. 144
Postcolonialismp. 148
Semiologyp. 152
Reception Theoryp. 156
Sexual Politicsp. 160
Word Crimes
Plagiarismp. 164
Obscenityp. 168
Libelp. 172
Blasphemyp. 176
Permissivenessp. 180
Literary Liesp. 184
Ghost-Writersp. 188
Literary Futures
Fanficp. 192
The e-Bookp. 196
Literary Inundationp. 200
Glossaryp. 204
Indexp. 206
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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