New to this edition
Readership: General readers who are curious about literary theory, but often deterred by complex theoretical writing; students about to embark on a degree course in English or any other modern language.
Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Cornell University
Jonathan Culler taught at Cambridge University and Oxford University before moving to Cornell, where he is Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature. His Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics, and the Study of Literature, won MLA's Lowell Prize and established his reputation as analyst and expositor of critical theory. He has published short introductions to Ferdinand de Saussure and to Roland Barthes, but he is known especially for On Deconstruction and Literary Theory: A
Very Short Introduction, which has been translated into some 20 languages. He has been President of the American Comparative Literature Association and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2001 and to the American Philosophical Society in 2006.
Review(s) from previous edition"It is impossible to imagine a clearer treatment of the subject, or one that is, within the given limits of length, more comprehensive. Culler has always been remarkable for his expository skills, and here he has found exactly the right method and tone for his purposes. - Sir Frank Kermode
"A must read for all literature students." - Bookwise
1: What is theory?
2: What is literature and does it matter?
3: Literature and cultural studies
4: Language, meaning, and interpretation
5: Rhetoric, poetics, and poetry
7: Performative language
8: Identity, identification, and the subject
9: Ethics and aesthetics
Appendix: Theoretical schools and movements