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Questions tagged [theory]

Questions related to literary theory, i.e. the body of frameworks, ideas and methods about how to interpret literature. This tag can be used for questions about literary terms and theories of literature, including the history of such concepts. For questions about existing interpretations and evaluations, use the [literary-criticism] tag.

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Forms of foregrounding: are recurrence / equivalence the same?

I'm struggling to grasp the difference between the literary devices of recurrence and equivalence. I'm preparing for an exam where we are asked to define these terms. In German, they are referred to ...
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What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

Does the term myopia have a special meaning in the context of literature? Myopia is in its most direct meaning a healthcare condition: relating to, or exhibiting myopia : NEARSIGHTED Myopia or ...
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Is Paul Fry correct in saying that modern hermeneutic approaches largely developed due to the Protestant Reformation?

In lecture 3 of his Introduction to the Theory of Literature Yale Open Course, Prof. Paul Fry makes the following claim: ... the notion of hermeneutics arises primarily in religion first, ...
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What is the difference between emotions and feelings in Eliot's essay Tradition and the Individual Talent?

In his most famous essay, "Traditional and the Individual Talent", T. S. Eliot appears to make a distinction between emotions and feelings. Read especially the following passage (emphasis mine): ...
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What is the history of the universe/canon/word-of-god approach to literature?

Over on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange, some participants apply the following theoretical approach to the interpretation of fiction: The role of fiction is to describe a fictional ‘...
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What's the meaning of 'English studies of empirical studies' to be antihumanist?

Prof. Brooks Landon, U. Iowa, Ph.D. U. Texas at Austin. Building Great Sentences: How to Write the Kinds of Sentences You Love to Read (Great Courses) (2013). pp. 245-246.       &...
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Is Hejinian saying that there is no one privileged way of reading any text?

You can read about the so called l=a=n=g=u=a=g=e poet's rejection of closure here (it's short). Is she saying that an open reading, which is what the text is about, theorizes on, does not privilege ...
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Is Roland Barthes' s/z structuralist or post-structuralist?

In S/Z (1970) the French literary theorist Roland Barthes analysed Balzac's story Sarassine. Is his method of analysis structuralist or post-structuralist?
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“Literary theory”: Genre or field?

I vaguely remember learning that "literary theory," according to some, is theory through which society and other artificial constructs are analyzed as though works of literature or art. I recall ...
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Why does Great Literary Classics change details in its abridged versions?

From the Wikipedia article on Great Illustrated Classics: The Great Illustrated Classics series of books offers easy-to-read adaptations of well known classics, featuring large print and ...
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What is the difference between emotions and feelings in Wordsworth's Preface to Lyrical Ballads?

In the Preface to the second edition of Lyrical Ballads (1800), Wordsworth famously wrote that all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: (...). He later adds (my emphasis): ...
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Academic who abandoned literary criticism and started writing novels?

A number of years ago, I read about an American academic who had been publishing about literary criticism and theory but then at some point (in the 1990s or the early 2000s) decided to move away from ...
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Method for comparing two works of literature

I study French literature and I want to carry out a research in comparative literature which compares two books written by soldiers of the World War(One of them by a French soldier and the other one ...
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How can readers ascertain that they have identified the author's intent?

We currently have several questions about auhorial-intent, for example, How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis? and How much weight should we give authors' declarations ...
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Why did New Historicims and Cultural Materialism develop such an intense interest in Shakespeare and his contemporaries?

In the 1980s and 1990s, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism were two related and very influential schools of literary theory. Below are a few influential titles: Radical Tragedy: Religion, ...
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Has Antonin Scalia's version of textualism influenced literary theory or hermeneutics?

The late U. S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia famously advocated a form of textualism, interpreting legal texts as reasonable readers at the time of the law's writing would've understood it. (...
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Anthology of literary theory that illustrates each theory by applying it to the same works

For people who are interested in literary theory, there are many introductions and many anthologies. What I am looking for is slightly different: an anthology of literary theory that illustrates each ...
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Was authorial intent ever taken seriously in academic literary theory?

What does the author mean? and What does the author want to say/convey/express/...? are questions we heard countless times during literature classes at school. In other words, it is a common didactic ...
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Is there such a thing as an unbiased text?

A few months ago, I participated in a debate, where the topic to be debated upon was "An unbiased text is a myth", which is to say that all texts have their share of bias. I was on the "against" side ...
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Romanticism in 20-21st century

Romanticism in a nutshell is about individual, emotions and imagination. An era that takes is situated in the 18-19th centuries. My question is why can't we label 20-21st century works that put the ...
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What exactly is canon?

I've seen the word canon used occasionally on this site. I've also seen it used quite extensively on Stack Exchange's science fiction and fantasy site. I'm pretty sure I know what the word means, ...
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Is it common to reveal suspense in epilogue?

According to the dictionary epilogue means a speech or piece of text that is added to the end of a play or book, often giving a short statement about what happens to the characters after the ...
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How can poetry be defined?

I've been trying to figure this out recently, but I can't. My logic it this: 1) A lot of people think that poetry must rhyme. But the list of poets who broke with that tradition when it suited them ...
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Why don't modern critics like archetypes?

According to The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (pg 24), archetypal criticism has had a falling out with modern critics: More recently, critics have been wary of the reductionism involved in ...
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How much weight should we give authors' declarations of their intent after the fact?

Very closely related: How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis? Related (as an example of what I'm talking about): Is there any textual evidence to support that ...
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What is the “Intentional Fallacy”?

The intentional fallacy is described in Wimsatt and Beardsley's essay "The Intentional Fallacy". What exactly is the intentional fallacy? Is the concept still used in academia?
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What section of literary theory does “pure” analysis fall into?

A lot of literary criticism takes into account historical contexts, and the relation of the text to different philosophical outlooks, stuff like Marxism, etc. I'm interested in analysis which is done ...
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What are the major differences between Russian Formalism and New Criticism?

Where literary criticism is concerned, what are the major differences between Russian Formalism and New Criticism?
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How much of a role does authorial intent play in modern academic literary analysis? [duplicate]

In this question, I asked about how meaning gets into a work if not intended by the author. In researching that question, I ran across mention of "authorial intent". In reading about it, I learned ...
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Are “choose your own adventure” books literature or games?

This question concerns "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. These are books that start out as a normal story, but then ask the reader to make a choice. (The book will say something to the effect of "...
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How much weight is given to authors' intentions in literary analysis?

When people analyze literature, one of the first things people seem to do is look for interviews or quotes from the author where the author describes the meaning they intended their text to have. My ...