Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism  book cover
1st Edition

Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism

ISBN 9781138561977
Published October 7, 2018 by Routledge
254 Pages

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Book Description

Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism is a completely fresh and innovative approach to teaching and learning literary theory: using short passages of theory to make sense of literary and cultural texts. It focuses on the key concepts that help readers understand literature and cultural events in new and provocative ways. Covering a wide variety of iconic and contemporary theorists, the book offers a broad chronological and global overview, including thirty passages from theorists such as Viktor Shklovsky, Roland Barthes, Judith Butler, Diana Fuss, Jean Baudrillard, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Michel Foucault, Monique Wittig, and Eve Sedgwick.

Built on the premise that scholars use theory pragmatically, Using Key Passages to Understand Literature, Theory and Criticism identifies problems, puzzles, and questions readers may encounter when they read a story, watch a film, or look at artwork. It explains, in detail, thirty concepts that help readers make sense of these works and invites students to apply the concepts to a range of writing and research projects. The textbook concludes by helping students read theory with an eye on finding productive passages and writing their own “theory chapter,” signaling a shift from student as critic to student as theorist.

Used as a main text in introductory theory courses or as a supplement to any literature, film, theater, or art course, this book helps students read closely and think critically.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments; Introduction: Joining the Community  1. Becoming a Subject  2. Scripting Identity  3. Doing Not Describing  4. Enjoying the Carnivalesque  5. Reading as Writing  6. Simulating the Real  7. Creating a Space Between  8. Performing Gender  9. Locating Trauma  10. Intersecting Identities  11. Locating Alterity  12. Poaching Texts  13. Cultivating Rhizomes  14. Reconciling Double Consciousness  15. Shocking Readers  16. Joining Power and Knowledge  17. Revealing the Uncanny  18. Questioning Human/Nonhuman Boundaries  19. Historicizing and Contextualizing  20. Signifying Through Time  21. Thinking Ecologically  22. Recognizing Conceptual Metaphors  23. Representing Disability  24. Losing and Recovering Our Sovereignty  25. Resisting the Dominant Culture  26. Adapting and Appropriating  27. Describing Homosocial Relationships  28. Defamiliarizing the Familiar  29. Questioning Gender Binaries  30. Building on Another’s Work: Identifying Key Concepts; Index

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Barry Laga is Professor of English and Department Head of Languages, Literature, and Mass Communication at Colorado Mesa University, USA. He teaches literary theory, American literature, film, and composition, and publishes on American literature, film, and cultural studies. He was a Fulbright Scholar at Universiteit Antwerpen, Belgium, and Universität Leipzig, Germany.