Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory: A Critical Guide

Synopsis

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory offers the student and general reader a comprehensive, critically informed overview of the development of literary and cultural studies from the nineteenth century to the present day. Beginning with Coleridge and Arnold, examining the contribution of cultural commentators and novelists, and considering the institutionalisation of literary criticism in the universities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the book addresses in detailed, accessible and rigorous essays the rise and significance of literary and cultural studies. Nearly thirty essays contribute to an understanding of the practice of literary studies presenting the reader with a perceptive series of critical interventions which, themselves, engage in the very locations from which criticism and theory have emerged. A further reading list accompanies each chapter. Key Features
• Breadth of coverage from Coleridge through Virginia Woolf to Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton; and from the 'Cambridge School' to Post-structuralism and Postcolonial theory.
• Focus on the history of modern criticism.
• Accessibly written.
• Theoretical debates are set in full historical, cultural and philosophical contexts.

Excerpt

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory offers the reader a comprehensive, critically informed overview of the development of literary and cultural studies from the nineteenth century to the present day. Beginning with Coleridge and Arnold, examining the contributions of cultural commentators, aestheticians and novelists, and considering the institutionalisation of literary criticism in the universities of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the book addresses in detailed, accessible and rigorous essays the significance of poetics, literary and cultural studies. Over twenty essays contribute to an understanding of the practice of literary studies, providing a perceptive and often provocative series of critical interventions, which, themselves, engage in the very locations from which criticism and theory have emerged. Roughly, though fairly evenly, divided between studies of the work of particular critics, whose texts have produced sea changes in critical attitude and practice, and analysis of the development and institutionalization of literary and cultural studies throughout the twentieth century and at the beginning of the twenty-first, the critics included here focus on, even as they challenge the assumptions behind, the growth and expansion of critical trends and methodologies. The present volume follows therefore a narrative of cultural change and transformation, even as it determines and foregrounds particular contours in that narrative.

Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory also opens up the continuous quest for, and affirmation of, multiple cultural voices and identities, often incommensurate with one another, within the study of literature and culture at institutions of higher education. It is a narrative that on the one hand traces the movements, schools of thought and institutional allegiances that have unfolded, often though not exclusively along ideological lines. On the other hand, it considers the ways in which close reading and formal analysis of works of literature have given way historically to more politicized and theorized accounts, only to see certain signs of a return to depoliticized formalism. Involved in this is an implicit investigation, from essay to essay and across the collection of the contest for critical position and articulation of that position through successive generations of literary scholars.

While emphasizing the practice and theory of literary and cultural criticism in many of its historically specific guises, the present volume also provides extensive critical coverage of related cultural issues in the articles, and the contextual discourses that inform those issues. Clearly the focus is on the institutional practice of criticism, and, with that, an implicit narrative develops concerning acts of institutionalization. Another way to understand this is that there takes place repeatedly instances of accommodation, domestication . . .

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