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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17
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1answer
838 views

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 ...
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7k views

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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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 ...
9
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3answers
184 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
808 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
185 views

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 ‘...
9
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1answer
447 views

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 "...
8
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1answer
371 views

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 ...
7
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3answers
1k views

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 ...
7
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1answer
790 views

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 ...
6
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1answer
991 views

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 ...
6
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2answers
552 views

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, ...
6
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1answer
146 views

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 ...
6
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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 ...
6
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1answer
5k views

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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1answer
126 views

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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What evidence is there for the “recession of accent” theory?

In the late 19th and early 20th century, there was a theory that certain oddities in the rhythms of Shakespeare and other early modern English poets could best be explained by recession of accent. ...
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Where did Derrida say that he deliberately made his works difficult?

In a comment below the question How does Derrida's Signifying obfuscate his writing?, DJohnson wrote, Just for the record Derrida has been quoted as stating that he deliberately made his ...
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86 views

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, ...
3
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1answer
64 views

How is psychoanalysis relevant to the study of literature?

I've recently seen the term "psychoanalysis" used a few times here on Literature Stack Exchange. Looking it up, I learned that it seems to be more a branch of psychology or philosophy than ...
3
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1answer
56 views

What do literary critics mean when they say a text is overdetermined?

In literary criticism one can sometimes read statements such as the following: "Helena’s love therefore is overdetermined to a degree unusual even in Shakespeare" (Michael Delahoyde quoting ...
3
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1answer
186 views

What are the ways academics have defined literature over the years?

One of the things that we've learned through this site's scope discussions is that literature has a very subjective definition. I'm curious how academics define and have defined literature. Is there ...
3
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1answer
149 views

What is the difference between spatial and temporal paratext?

According to Gérard Genette, the paratext is what is beyond a text, e.g.: the cover, the title, the interviews about a novel... Paratext can be devided into two categories: spatial and temporal. The ...
3
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1answer
64 views

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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1answer
137 views

“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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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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1answer
62 views

What does this line about Foucault's job being to “historicize discourse and textualize history” mean?

I found a line in my book which says something like this: Michael Foucault's main job is to historicize discourse and textualize history. The context of this quote is the following (from a course ...
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49 views

How did the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory influence literary theory?

The Frankfurt School is a school of social theory and philosophy associated with the University of Frankfurt's Institute for Social Research (German: Institut für Sozialforschung, IfS). It is known ...
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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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513 views

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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153 views

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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496 views

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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49 views

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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1answer
29 views

Did Harold Bloom ever criticise New Historicism for reducing literature to a footnote of history?

New Historicism is a form of literary theory that focuses on the relation between literature and history (and which is more complex than I wish to explain here). It was developed by scholars such as ...
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1answer
30 views

What is the difference between horizon of expectation and expectation?

I'm studying reader-response theory and wonder what is the difference between horizon of expectation and a simple expectation. In my understanding, the horizon of expectation is just expectation. It ...
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Where did Derrida say that Jonathan Culler's On Deconstruction is a good introduction to his work?

The works of the French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930 – 2004) had a significant impact on literary theory, leading to the development of a method of analysis known as deconstruction. (Derrida said ...
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11 views

Meaning of vision du monde in Lucien Goldmann's genetic structuralism

In the 1960s the French philosopher, sociologist and literary theorist Lucien Goldmann developed a theory known as "genetic criticism" (e.g. in Sciences humaines et philosophie. Suivi de ...
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0answers
48 views

How can enjambment be used to enhance rhythm in a poem?

I was wondering how enjambment can be used to improve the rhythm in poetry. I have seen some innovative uses of it by e.e. cummings, such as by breaking a word and writing the ending on the next line....
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2answers
166 views
+100

What is literature?

Since this site is called Literature Stack Exchange, one of the most basic questions we could ask here is how scholars of literature define literature. We have an older question on the ways academics ...
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1answer
178 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
54 views

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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2answers
135 views

What does it mean to say “the future of the English language is grand but as far as its literature is concerned it seems bleak”?

An English professor commented that "the future of the English language is grand but as far as its literature is concerned it seems bleak". How can this sentence be interpreted? What exactly is the ...
0
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1answer
118 views

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 ...
0
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1answer
110 views

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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153 views

What are Cultural Marxism and Critical Theory and how are they related to literary criticism?

Cultural Marxism is a theory claiming that there exists an unholy alliance of abortionists, feminists, globalists, homosexuals, intellectuals and socialists who have translated the far left’s old ...
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2answers
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Meaning of homology in Lucien Goldmann's genetic structuralism

In the 1960s the French philosopher, sociologist and literary theorist Lucien Goldmann developed a theory known as "genetic criticism" (e.g. in Sciences humaines et philosophie. Suivi de ...