This new edition of the classic guide offers a thorough and accessible introduction to contemporary critical theory. It provides in-depth coverage of the most common approaches to literary analysis today: feminism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, reader-response theory, new criticism, structuralism and semiotics, deconstruction, new historicism, cultural criticism, lesbian/gay/queer theory, African-American criticism, and postcolonial criticism. The chapters provide an extended explanation of each theory, using examples from everyday life, popular culture, and literary texts; a list of specific questions critics who use that theory ask about literary texts; an interpretation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's TheGreat Gatsby through the lens of each theory; a list of questions for further practice to guide readers in applying each theory to different literary works; and a bibliography of primary and secondary works for further reading. This book can be used as the only text in a course or as a precursor to the study of primary theoretical works. It motivates readers by showing them what critical theory can offer in terms of their practical understanding of literary texts and in terms of their personal understanding of themselves and the world in which they live. Both engaging and rigorous, it is a "how-to" book for undergraduate and graduate students new to critical theory and for college professors who want to broaden their repertoire of critical approaches to literature.
The book made my class a joy.
By A Customer - November 19, 1999
Lois Tyson's Critical Theory Today transformed the 200-level Intro to Literary Studies class that I teach at Aquinas College. Other texts have frustrated and silenced students, but Tyson's book has made my class come alive. Tyson assumes that her readers are intelligent and capable people who need information, examples, and guidance (whereas other texts assume that readers should be crushed and abandoned), and she gives them all that they need in friendly prose. The clear explanations and applications made my students lively and willing to try new ideas. They not only understood the methodologies but also could apply them. I didn't change my teaching style; the credit for the improvement in my class goes to Tyson's excellent text. Please read it.
Buy This One
By rctnyc - July 15, 2006
I teach an undergraduate course in critical theory. Tyson's is the single most useful introduction to that subject that I have encountered -- and I've looked at many, many introductions to theory. Tyson's book is clear and practical, setting forth the principles of each critical theory and then applying those principles in analyzing F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, "The Great Gatsby." If I could, I would not merely give this book five stars, but also "flag" it for teachers and students searching Amazon for the best introduction to literary theory: this is the one that you should buy.
Taking media seriously
By Dustin Eaton - October 3, 2001
Prof. Tyson's text is a worthy companion to Mcluhan, Chomsky and even Joseph Campbell. The idea that one can find a "skeleton key" for literature is certainly not a new one, but forging your own key has become deliciously less difficult now that Lois Tyson's book is available. Don't like The Great Gatsby, that's okay, apply lit. theory to any available piece of writing, music, art...anything. That's the beauty of the whole process of critical discernment. The question of "what makes good art?" is always relevant, and now a substantial answer may be esier to come by. I return to this book every time I encounter a new concept in psych., sociology, philosophy...it applies to everything. Literature is only the begining.
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