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Is Shakespeare any Good?: And Other Questions on How to Evaluate Literature

ISBN: 978-1-118-21997-3
344 pages
November 2015, Wiley-Blackwell
Is Shakespeare any Good?: And Other Questions on How to Evaluate Literature (111821997X) cover image

Description

Is Shakespeare any Good? reveals why certain literary works and authors are treated as superior to others, and questions the literary establishment’s criteria for creating an imperium of “great” writers.

  • Enables readers to articulate and formulate their own arguments about the quality of literature – including works that convention forbids us to dislike
  • Dismantles the claims of academic criticism – particularly Theory – to tell us anything useful about why we like or appreciate literature
  • Challenges and shatters many longstanding beliefs about literature and its evaluation
  • Poses serious questions about the value of literature, and studying literature, and presents these in a lively and entertainingly provocative manner
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 A Brief Essay on Taste 5

2 The Dreadful Legacy of Modernism 44

3 Is Shakespeare Any Good? 90

4 Mad Theories 131

5 Defining Literature: The Bête Noir of Academia 166

6 Evaluation 193

7 Popular Literature 243

8 Is Literature Any Good For Us? 272

References 321

Index 326

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Author Information

Richard Bradford is Research Professor of English at the University of Ulster. He is the author of two dozen books, including specialised academic monographs and six literary biographies including Literary Rivals, (2014), The Novel Now (2007) and First Boredom, Then Fear: The Life of Philip Larkin (2006)
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Reviews

'Richard Bradford has produced a pugnacious and carefully constructed critique of modern attitudes to the vexed question of how we should set about evaluating literary texts. Its insistence on the desirability of that much maligned abstract 'taste' is thoroughly to be applauded.'—D. J. Taylor, Author of Orwell: The Life, winner of the Whitbread Biography Prize.
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