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Literary Theory

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ISBN-10: 0199691347

ISBN-13: 9780199691340

Edition: 2nd 2011

Authors: Jonathan Culler

List price: $11.95
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Book details

List price: $11.95
Edition: 2nd
Copyright year: 2011
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 8/11/2011
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 144
Size: 4.50" wide x 7.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.748
Language: English

Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Cornell University, Culler has played an important role in the dissemination of structuralist and poststructuralist theory in the U.S. academy. His Structuralist Poetics (1975) was one of the first books to survey the new continental theory, and it included a bibliography with all the English translations of that work then available. As the title suggests, Culler's book concentrates on structuralist literary analysis, explicating in particular what various continental critics had to say about the "deep structures" or codes governing literary production as a mode of discourse with an apparent radical diversity of texts and "surface structures." He also covers some of the background to structuralist literary theory. Interestingly, Culler also develops in this book a theory of reading that is not quite structuralist, although it does make use of a structuralist vocabulary and some structuralist ideas. The Pursuit of Signs (1981) is, the second in his trilogy of introductions to this theory. It offers explanations of poststructuralist theory, which is as much a response to as a development of structuralist theory, whose premises it frequently rejects. Just one year later, Culler published a supplement to this volume, On Deconstruction (1982), devoted not only to the work of Derrida but also to the work of American deconstructionists, who were sometimes elaborating deconstruction in more obviously political directions; for example, by generating feminist deconstructive analyses. Culler has continued to interpret Continental theory and theorists for U.S. audiences in his more recent publications. A prolific author, he has also published books about nineteenth-century French literature and culture, the field in which he did his graduate work, and books or essays on a range of other topics which he addresses from the perspective of poststructuralist theory, including puns, tourism, and trash.

What is theory?
What is literature and does it matter?
Literature and cultural studies
Language, meaning, and interpretation
Rhetoric, poetics, and poetry
Narrative
Performative language
Identity, identification, and the subject
Ethics and aesthetics
Appendix: Theoretical schools and movements
References
Further Reading
Index