Summary: The last half of the twentieth century has seen the emergence of literary theory
as a new discipline. As with any body of scholarship, various schools of
thought exist, and sometimes conflict, within it. I.R. Makaryk has compiled a
welcome guide to the field. Accessible and jargon-free, the Encyclopedia of
Contemporary Literary Theory provides lucid, concise explanations of myriad
approaches to literature that have arisen over the past ...show moreforty years.
Some 150 scholars from around the world have contributed their expertise to
this volume. Their work is organized into three parts. In Part I, forty
evaluative essays examine the historical and cultural context out of which new
schools of and approaches to literature arose. The essays also discuss the uses
and limitations of the various schools, and the key issues they address.
Part II focuses on individual theorists. It provides a more detailed picture of
the network of scholars not always easily pigeonholed into the categories of
Part I. This second section analyses the individual achievements, as well as the
influence, of specific scholars, and places them in a larger critical context.
Part III deals with the vocabulary of literary theory. It identifies significant,
complex terms, places them in context, and explains their origins and use.
Accessibility is a key feature of the work. By avoiding jargon, providing
mini-bibliographies, and cross-referencing throughout, Makaryk has provided an
indispensable tool for literary theorists and historians and for all scholars and
students of contemporary criticism and culture. ...show less
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