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A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to the Present

ISBN: 978-0-631-23200-1
848 pages
October 2005, Wiley-Blackwell
A History of Literary Criticism and Theory: From Plato to the Present (0631232001) cover image
This comprehensive guide to the history of literary criticism from antiquity to the present day provides an authoritative overview of the major movements, figures, and texts of literary criticism, as well as surveying their cultural, historical, and philosophical contexts.

  • Supplies the cultural, historical and philosophical background to the literary criticism of each era
  • Enables students to see the development of literary criticism in context
  • Organised chronologically, from classical literary criticism through to deconstruction
  • Considers a wide range of thinkers and events from the French Revolution to Freud’s views on civilization
  • Can be used alongside any anthology of literary criticism or as a coherent stand-alone introduction
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Acknowledgements.

Abbreviations of Frequently Cited Works.

Introduction.

Part I: Ancient Greek Criticism.

1. Plato (428-ca. 347 BC).

2. Aristotle (348-322 BC).

Part II: The Traditions of Rhetoric.

3. Greek Rhetoric (Protagoras, Gorgias, Antihon, Lysias, Isocrates, Plato, Aristotle).

4. The Hellenistic Period and Roman Rhetoric. (Rhetorica, Cicero, Quintilian).

Part III: Greek and Latin Criticism During the Roman Empire.

5. Horace (65-8 BC).

6. Longinus (First Century AD).

7. Neo-Platonism. (Plotinus, Macrobius, Boethius).

Part IV: The Medieval Era.

8. The Early Middle Ages (St. Augustine).

9. The Later Middle Ages (Hugh of St. Victor, John of Salisbury, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey de Hugh of St. Victor, John of Salisbury, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey de Vinsauf, IBN Rushd (Averroe), St. Thomas Aquinas).

10. Transitions: Medieval Humanism (Giovanni Boccaccio, Christine de Pisan).

Part V: The Early Modern Period to the Enlightment.

11. The Early Modern Period (Giambattista Giraldi, Lodovico Castelvetro, Giacopo Mazzoni, Torquato Tasso, Joachim Du Bellay, Pierre de Ronsard, Sir Philip Sidney, Torquato Tasso, Joachim Du Bellay, Pierre de Ronsard, Sir Philip Sidney, George Gascoigne, George Puttenham).

12. Neoclassical Literary Criticism (Pierre Corneille, Nicolas Boileau, John Dryden, Aleancer Pope, Aphra Behn, Samuel Johnson).

13. The Enlightenment (John Locke, Joseph Addison, Giambattista Vico, David Hume, Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft).

Part VI: The Earlier Nineteenth Century and Romanticism.

14. The Kantian System and Kant's Aesthetics.

15. G. W. F. Hegel (1770-1831).

16. Romanticism (I): Germany and France (Friedrich von Schiller, Friedrich Schleiermacher, Germaine de Stael).

17. Romanticism (II): England and America (William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edgar Allan Poe).

Part VII: The Later Nineteenth Century.

18. Realism and Naturalism (George Eliot, Emile Zola, William Dean Howells, Henry James).

19. Symbolism and Aestheticism (Charles Baudelaire, Walter Pater, Oscar Wilde).

20. The Heterological Thinkers (Arthur Schopenhauer, Friedrich Nietzsche, Henri Bergson, Matthew Arnold).

21. Marxism (Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, Gyorgy Lukacs, Terry Eaglelton).

Part VIII: The Twentieth Century.

22. Psychoanalytic Criticism (Freud and Lacan).

23. Formalisms (Victor Shklovsky, Boris Eichenbaum, Mikhail Bakhtin, Roman Jakobson, John Crowe Ransom, William K. Wimsatt, Monroe C. Beardsley, T. S. Eliot).

24. Structuralism (Ferdinand de Saussure, Roland Barthes).

25. Deconstruction (Jacques Derrida).

26. Feminist Criticism (Virginai Woolf, Simone de Beauvoir, Elaine Showalter, Michele Barrett, Julia Kristeva, Helene Cixous).

27. Reader-Response and Reception Theory (Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Hans Robert Jauss, Wolfgang Iser, Stanley Fish).

28. Postcolonial Criticism (Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Homi Bhabha, Henry Loui Gate, Jr.).

29. New Historicism (Stephen Greenblatt, Michel Foucault).

Epilogue.

Selective Bibliography.

Index
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M.A.R. Habib is Associate Professor of English at Rutgers University. He received his D.Phil. in English from Oxford University, and is the author of five books, including Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History (Blackwell, 2007).
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  • An informed guide to the history of literary criticism from antiquity to the present day
  • Supplies the cultural, historical and philosophical background to the literary criticism of each era
  • Enables students to see the development of literary criticism in context
  • Organised chronologically, from classical literary criticism through to deconstruction
  • Considers a wide range of thinkers and events from the French Revolution to Freud’s views on civilization
  • Can be used alongside any anthology of literary criticism or as a coherent stand-alone introduction

See More
Winner of a 2006 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title Award

“[A] magnificently comprehensive history of literary criticism. Authoritative, formidable, generous and compassionate … Habib's achievements are many, but two stand out. The first is the putting of theory into historical perspective and the second is to make connections between criticism and philosophy.”
Times Higher Education Supplement

"This is a book to be read cover to cover, and those who undertake that happy task will be better informed. They will understand the twin pillars of Western civilization, Hellenism and the Judaic Christian ethic. They will understand the intersections of philosophy, literature, and religion. They will understand Plato, Aristotle, the Age of Enlightenment, Romanticism, and the three great thinkers who forever shifted thought at the beginning of the 20th century: Marx, Freud, and Darwin. Dividing the discussion into eight chronological sections, from ancient Greece to the 20th century, Habib (English, Rutgers Univ.) discusses each period in detail, exploring major critical figures and their works in a way that illuminates, rather than exhausts, the issues they are concerned with. His explorations entice one to read more, and that is the best kind of criticism. Summing Up: Essential. All readers; all levels."
CHOICE

"Philosophically sophisticated and full of fascinating connections and distinctions ...a monumental achievement."
Ron Bush, University of Oxford

“Rafey Habib's History of Literary Criticism, with its substantial grounding in classical texts and its excellent coverage of contemporary criticism and theory, is certain to be as highly regarded as Wimsatt and Brooks' Literary Criticism: A Short History. Habib's lucidity and wit will also make his book highly teachable.”
Michael Payne, Bucknell University

"This huge undertaking offers a comprehensive, expository and lucid account - including close readings of selected formative texts - of the history of literary criticism and theory from the earliest western classics to influential contemporary movements, while also embedding these in their broader social, cultural and philosophical contexts. A major resource - as narrative or as compendium - for students at all levels."
Peter Widdowson, University of Gloucestershire

"Beginning with Plato and Aristotle, Habib traces how the study of literature evolved in the West. His strength lies in his short segments, which allow readers to absorb the major thoughts of the critics and movements without being overwhelmed. While the book runs nearly 900 pages, it is easy to maneuver. All told, Habib delivers an accessible yet scholarly survey of literary criticism."
Ron Ratliff, Kansas State University

A History of Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present by M. A. R. Habib is a useful introduction and quick reference … The attention to each writer and their major works is significant and detailed, with major historical interpretive shifts noted.”
Studies in English Literature 1500 - 1900

“Best single-volume introduction to Western literary theory … .With its admirably clear explanation of concepts and terminology, [it] admirably fulfils the promise of its title.”
Literary Research Guide"Habib's survey of literary theory and criticism is serious, ambitious, informative and intellectually challenging." Bryn Mawr Classical Review

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