Literary Theory. An Introduction. SECOND EDITION. Terry Eagleton. St Catherine '5 College. Oxford. Blackwell. Publishing. Terry Eagleton "Introduction: What is Literature?" If there is such a thing as literary theory, then it would seem obvious that there is something called literature. Ideologies I. Title ISBN ISBN pbk US Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Eagleton, Terry, - Ideology.

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PDF | On Jan 1, , Dámaso LÓPEZ GARCÍA and others published Literary Theory. An Introduction, de Terry Eagleton. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | Terry Eagleton, the author of How to Read Literature, is a well-known British literary theorist, critic and public intellectual. He is a professor of English. I hope it will also prove useful to specialists in the field, not least because it argues against what I take to be a current orthodoxy. I do not believe that this.

The depthless, styleless, dehistoricized, decathected surfaces of postmodernist culture are not meant to signify an alienation, for the very concept of alienation must secretly posit a dream of authenticity which postmodernism finds quite unintelligible. It is impossible to discern in such forms, as it is in the artefacts of modernism proper, a wry, anguished or derisive awareness of the normative traditional humanism they deface.

Postmodernism is thus a grisly parody of socialist utopia, having abolished all alienation at a stroke. By raising alienation to the second power, alienating us even from our own alienation, it persuades us to recognize that utopia not as some remote telos but, amazingly, as nothing less than the present itself, replete as it is in its own brute positivity and scarred through with not the slightest trace of lack.

Reification, once it has extended its empire across the whole of social reality, effaces the very criteria by which it can be recognized for what it is and so triumphantly abolishes itself, returning everything to normality. The traditional metaphysical mystery was a question of depths, absences, foundations, abysmal explorations; the mystery of some modernist art is just the mind-bending truth that things are what they are, intriguingly self-identical, utterly shorn of cause, motive or ratification; postmodernism preserves this self-identity, but erases its modernist scandalousness.

3. Literary Theory: An Introduction, Terry Eagleton - english literature

The dilemma of David Hume is surpassed by a simple conflation: fact is value. Utopia cannot belong to the future because the future, in the shape of technology, is already here, exactly synchronous with the present.

William Morris, in dreaming that art might dissolve into social life, turns out, it would seem, to have been a true prophet of late capitalism: by anticipating such a desire, bringing it about with premature haste, late capitalism deftly inverts its own logic and proclaims that if the artefact is a commodity, the commodity can always be an artefact.

The eschaton, it would appear, is already here under our very noses, but so pervasive and immediate as to be invisible to those whose eyes are still turned stubbornly away to the past or the future. The aesthetics of postmodernism is a dark parody of such anti-representationalism: if art no longer reflects it is not because it seeks to change the world rather than mimic it, but because there is in truth nothing there to be reflected, no reality which is not itself already image, spectacle, simulacrum, gratuitous fiction.

The English Novel

If the unreality of the artistic image mirrors the unreality of its society as a whole, then this is to say that it mirrors nothing real and so does not really mirror at all. Vincent Leitch et. New York: Norton, Graff argues educators cannot teach literary analysis without literary theory, and essentially students cannot effectively analyze literature without it.

However, in order for educators to effectively implement theory into classrooms, Graff suggests academics need to organize and compartmentalize their departments.

Graff looks at the field coverage model and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of implementing it. By letting professors teach independently, the field coverage model allows professors to avoid referring to their academic peers about what and how they are teaching.

Furthermore, Graff argues departments may face issues implementing theory, including defining this theory. This in itself, Graff claims, is a problem because it assumes that departments solve the cultural conflicts posed by theory.

However, these cultural conflicts may never be resolved.

He concludes by stating it is necessary for students to learn about theory in order to analyze a text, while also acting as theorists themselves. How to do Theory. Malden, MA: Blackwell, Subjects: literary theory; aesthetics; hard-core theory; soft theory; humanistic theories; modern theories; art; theory and method; strata model; question-and-answer-logic; schema and correction; Summary of Eagleton Eagleton, Terry.

Literary Theory: An Introduction. Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota, He claims that because people typically define and categorize literature through their value-judgments—which are based in social ideologies and constructs—no one definition of literature will be the same.

By offering up various definitions, analyzing and finally critiquing them, Eagleton concludes there is no objective definition of literature.

Terry Eagleton

The first definition Eagleton introduces to readers asserts literature to be fiction or imaginary writing, but before he even begins to define literature as fiction, Eagleton refutes this as a flawed claim.

Eagleton argues that as long as the public considers factual works as literature, the claim that literature is fiction cannot hold.

Eagleton even cites certain books in the Bible—specifically Genesis, written purportedly as a historical, factual document—as being today read as both fact and fiction. Eagleton shows the flaws of this definition of literature to not only refute the claim that literature is fiction, but also to find the distinction between factual and fictional writing. What one may read as factual, another may read as fictional, and Eagleton claims that just because one may read a work as factual does not mean it should not be categorized as literature.

After exposing the holes in the particular definition of literature as fiction, Eagleton moves to his second definition: literature as defined by Russian Formalism.

It is with this definition that Eagleton links literature to Russian Formalism. Instead of the content of the work influencing the definition of literature, the language and structure of a text defines literature. There are several different ways the Formalists saw how the language, the structure, and the form shape a text, and in turn how the language, structure, and form of a text determines if the text will be defined as literature or not.

First, Eagleton states that, to the Formalists, a text was only as good as its literary devices.

In this way, how the literary devices the Formalists identified used in a text makes that text literature. Eagleton states that the Formalists would not claim the type of language people use in everyday language should be considered literature because it does not go against the norm;, it is not estranging.

An example of this literary language that challenges readers is illustrated in the poetry by Gerard Manley Hopkins. However, in order to differentiate between the two different types of language, the Formalists had to define what every day, normal, language consisted of.

Literary Theory: an introduction / Terry Eagleton

What is to be said about language that is estranging for some, but not others? Eagleton concludes that any kind of writing can be considered estranging.

Given this particular definition, Eagleton states the way a text is written holds more priority than what the text actually says. This definition of literature, though, Eagleton explains, deprives readers of the topics written about.

Eagleton claims this definition is weak because it leaves too much room for interpretation. When one reads a text, she brings her background to the text. And because anyone can—and inevitably will- bring their own interpretation to a text, any text could be seen as non-pragmatic.How in such conditions can you produce worthwhile art in the first place?

From Sydney to San Diego. When it comes to consumers who. It was this perverse insistence which won for the Formalists their derogatory name from their antagonists; and though they did not deny that art had a relation to social reality -indeed some of them were closely associated with the Bolsheviks -they provocatively claimed that this relation was not the critic's business.

Of course there has to be something specific to a particular body of ideas.