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An Introduction to Criticism: Literature - Film - Culture

February 2012, ©2011, Wiley-Blackwell
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An accessible and thorough introduction to literary theory and contemporary critical practice, this book is an essential resource for beginning students of literary criticism.
  • Covers traditional approaches such as formalism and structuralism, as well as more recent developments in criticism such as evolutionary theory, cognitive studies, ethical criticism, and ecocriticism
  • Offers explanations of key works and major ideas in literary criticism and suggests key elements to look for  in a literary text
  • Also applies critical approaches to various examples from film studies
  • Helps students to build a critical framework and write analytically
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Preface: An Introduction to Critical Analysis xi

1 Formalism 1

Major Texts 1

Major Ideas 1

Major Terms 3

Summary and Discussion 5

Examples of Formalist Critical Analysis 7

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 18

2 Structuralism 19

Major Texts 19

Major Ideas 19

Major Terms 22

Summary and Discussion 23

Examples of Structuralist Analysis 25

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 31

3 Historical Criticism 32

Major Texts 32

Major Ideas 32

Major Terms 33

Summary and Discussion 35

Examples of Historical Analysis 37

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 42

4 Psychoanalysis and Psychology 43

Major Texts 43

Major Ideas 43

Major Terms 45

Summary and Discussion 48

Examples of Psychological Analysis 52

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 58

5 Marxism and Political Criticism 59

Major Texts 59

Major Ideas 59

Major Terms 63

Summary and Discussion 64

Examples of Marxist Analysis 71

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 74

6 Post-Structuralism and Deconstruction 75

Major Texts 75

Major Ideas 75

Major Terms 78

Summary and Discussion 80

Examples of Deconstructive Analysis 83

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 86

7 Gender Criticism 87

Major Works 87

Major Ideas 87

Major Terms 89

Summary and Discussion 91

Examples of Gender Analysis 98

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 108

8 Ethnic, Post-Colonial, and Transnational Criticism 109

Major Texts 109

Major Ideas 109

Major Terms 110

Summary and Discussion 111

Examples of Post-Colonial and Ethnic Analysis 118

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 122

9 Scientific Criticism 124

Major Texts 124

Major Ideas 124

Major Terms 126

Summary and Discussion 127

Examples of Scientific Criticism 130

Things to Look for in Literary and Cultural Texts 137

10 Film Studies 138

Major Works 138

Major Ideas 138

Major Terms 139

Summary and Discussion 142

Examples of Film Analysis 147

Things to Look for in Film Texts 150

11 Cultural Studies 151

Major Texts 151

Major Ideas 151

Major Terms 153

Summary and Discussion 153

Examples of Cultural Analysis 157

Things to Look for in Cultural Texts 160

Summary: Theory for Beginners 161

1 Culture is nature 161

2 Words make things 162

3 We know what we know 164

4 Learn Arabic 165

5 Reality is a fabrication 165

6 Not all stories are true 167

7 Power is belief 169

8 You are not who you think you are 170

9 You have to learn to be yourself 172

10 Capitalism is bad for you 172

11 Effects are sometimes causes 174

12 Identity is difference – and is therefore contingent 175

13 We all live in the past 177

14 The world is all there is 178

15 Nature is culture 178

Index 181

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Michael Ryan teaches American Literature and Film Studies at Temple University, USA. He is the author of numerous publications, including Literary Theory: An Anthology, second edition (co-edited with Julie Rivkin, Wiley-Blackwell, 2004), Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction, second edition (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007), Cultural Studies: An Anthology (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), and Cultural Studies: A Practical Introduction (Wiley-Blackwell, 2010).

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  • An accessible and thorough introduction to literary theory and contemporary critical practice
  • Covers traditional approaches such as formalism and structuralism, as well as more recent developments in criticism such as evolutionary theory, cognitive studies, ethical criticism, and ecocriticism
  • Offers explanations of key works and major ideas in literary criticism and suggests key elements to look for  in a literary text
  • Also applies critical approaches to various examples from film studies
  • Helps students to build a critical framework and write analytically
  • Each chapter contains a reading selection from a contemporary critic practicing that approach
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“But these are only minor criticisms of what will be an extraordinarily helpful and reassuring book for many students.”  (Times Higher Education, 28 February 2013)

"A marvelous new book with which to introduce students to the informed, intelligent and insightful criticism of films, literature, and culture. In easy-going and engaging prose, Ryan shows his readers why cultural criticism practiced well is still amongst the most important things we can - and must - do. Students will love following him as he moves from Adorno to Hawthorne to Fanny Burney to Negri - an original critical ride."
Imre Szeman, University of Alberta

“This is a smart and clearly written book that covers the whole field of criticism very well.”
Robert Scholes, Brown University

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Purchase Options
Paperback   
An Introduction to Criticism: Literature - Film - Culture
ISBN : 978-1-4051-8282-9
206 pages
February 2012
$38.95   BUY

Wiley E-Text   
An Introduction to Criticism: Literature - Film - Culture
ISBN : 978-1-118-29552-6
224 pages
January 2013
$96.95   BUY

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