- Series: Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Alpha (March 5, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1615642412
- ISBN-13: 978-1615642410
- Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.7 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,507 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Complete Idiot's Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (Complete Idiot's Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) Paperback – March 5, 2013
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"A very readable and--would you believe it--extremely enjoyable introduction to literary theory. This book presents complex thoughts in easily graspable and quite memorable sentences. Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who loves to juggle with concepts and ideas." - Monika Fludernik, PhD, University of Freiburg.
"Never more serious than when cracking a joke, Steven J. Venturino banishes dullness and gets to the point of literary theory, which has always been to spark the delight of understanding." - Haun Saussy, PhD, University of Chicago.
About the Author
Steven J. Venturino, an award-winning educator and an internationally recognized literary theorist, teaches courses in literature, theory, and film at Loyola University Chicago and the Newberry Library.
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He covers traditional criticism, New Criticism, Formalism, New Historicism, Marxist views, Structuralism, Post-Structuralism, Freudian theories, Ethnic and Gender Criticism, Reader-Response Criticism, Romantic views, Feminist Criticism, Disability Criticism, Deconstruction, Postcolonial Criticism, and much more. With each of the areas he explains, with both wit and sensitivity, how and why each "school" developed, key people involved in developing and elaborating the area, its primary or fundamental points of view, examples of the appropriate analysis from poetry, novels and often films, and the field's relationships to other schools or views. With each of the chapters he made clear for me a number of the more problematic or slightly obtuse aspects of the theory that I had struggled with or puzzled over after reading other works discussing the same topic.
One minor (?) aspect that I found particularly helpful was his regular reference to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (and the film made from the novel). In most of the chapters, in addition to commenting on other works, he uses that chapter's topic to take another look at the book or film to bring out how that critical view would understand and analyze aspects of the work. Following one work consistently through the various schools of thought really highlighted for me the multiplicity of views that can be brought to bear in thinking about any work of literature or film. Nicely done.
I would recommend this book to anyone taking courses (or planning to take courses) in literature, cultural studies, film studies, and related areas. Additionally, any reader or film fan who wishes to explore more ways of looking at and thinking about what they see or read will find this guide extremely useful and, to repeat myself, entertaining to read. Mr. Venturino's humor always adds to, and never distracts from, the substance of what he is explaining.
So I got this book.
Thank god I did!
The book is super easy to read and understand. The author is occasionally funny. But the best part was that Venturino relates each movement and theory to what happened before and after. So, for example, Romanticism in literature did not just pop up all of the sudden, it was a response to Plato's writings. While Plato wanted art and poetry to be as close to their real-life originals as possible, Romanticism placed a high value on creativity and imagination, things that might not have to do anything with the original.
In short, if you are looking for a quick description of what major thinkers, critics, and writers said, this book is great. If you need to know something in depth, this is not the right reading for you.