Literary Theory: the Basics, 2nd edition by Hans Bertens

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By Hans Bertens

With a brand new advent and entirely up to date tips to additional interpreting, this second version of Hans Bertens’ bestselling publication is a must have consultant to the area of literary idea. Exploring a wide variety of subject matters from Marxist and feminist feedback to post-modernism and new historicism it comprises new insurance of: the newest advancements in post-colonial and cultural thought literature and sexuality the newest faculties of suggestion, together with eco-criticism and post-humanism the way forward for literary conception and feedback. Literary conception: the fundamentals is an important buy for somebody who desires to be aware of what literary idea is and the place it is going.

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Literature as a whole renews itself through the development of, for instance, new genres, while genres in their turn defamiliarize (and thereby change) themselves through, for example, parody – a defamiliarizing strategy because it invariably focuses on peculiarities – and through the incorporation of new materials and techniques taken from other genres or from popular culture. Acts of defamiliarization will only have a temporary effect: even the most innovative devices will with the passage of time lose their capacity to catch our attention.

We can also see now that the required standard is heavily gendered. ) Eliot’s ‘wit’, the ‘irony’ of Richards and the New Critics, and the ‘maturity’ of Leavis all serve to underline a shared masculinist perspective. This is not to say that they have no place for female writers – in its first instalment Leavis’s ‘great tradition’ of English novelists includes two male and two female writers. But in a period in which selfdiscipline (the self-discipline of the poet who refuses to personalize the poem), wit, a controlling irony, and related qualities are all seen as typically male, whereas overt emotions and a refusal to intellectualize experience are seen as typically female, the female writers elected for inclusion in the literary pantheon were admitted because they met a male standard.

The arbitrariness of course only applies to the fundamental relationship between words and what they refer to. In actual practice, those relationships have become a matter of convention. If we want to refer to an object, a table for instance, we automatically use the word that everybody uses. When Dr Seuss in 1950 first used the word ‘nerd’ in If I Ran the Zoo, the relationship between ‘nerd’ and what it referred to was arbitrary. As a matter of fact, if he had not provided illustrations with his story we would have had a hard time figuring out what to make of ‘nerd’.

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