This Thing Called Literature

Even (or perhaps especially) when people try to make declarations or stipulations about what is not literature, the question with which we began ('What is this thing called literature?') comes back to haunt.


Author: Andrew Bennett

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317698289

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 160

View: 218

What is this thing called literature? Why should we study it? And how? Relating literature to topics such as dreams, politics, life, death, the ordinary and the uncanny, this beautifully written book establishes a sense of why and how literature is an exciting and rewarding subject to study. Bennett and Royle delicately weave an essential love of literature into an account of what literary texts do, how they work and what sort of questions and ideas they provoke. The book’s three parts reflect the fundamental components of studying literature: reading, thinking and writing. The authors use helpful, familiar examples throughout, offering rich reflections on the question ‘What is literature?’ and on what they term ‘creative reading’. Bennett and Royle’s lucid and friendly style encourages a deep engagement with literary texts. This book is not only an essential guide to the study of literature, but an eloquent defence of the discipline.

This Thing We Call Literature

For Parks the current state of things comes down to this: book sales drive critical reception, not the other way around, and at the same time, many so-called literary successes are, in fact, not selling as well as one might think.


Author: Arthur Krystal

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780190272371


Page: 152

View: 373

"This Thing We Call Literature collects ten essays from the combative, cantakerous cultural critic Arthur Krystal. The essays in this compact volume, mostly coming from The New Yorker, Harper's, and The Chronicle of Higher Education--all share Krystal's conviction that literature and the humanities more broadly are going down the tubes"--

This Thing Called the World

relative, as Nelson Goodman, the bestknown proponent of the antirealist position, maintains. ... In other words, they help me resist the oneworld mimetic conception of the literary and to make a case for the novels featured in my ...


Author: Debjani Ganguly

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 9780822374244

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 312

View: 593

In This Thing Called the World Debjani Ganguly theorizes the contemporary global novel and the social and historical conditions that shaped it. Ganguly contends that global literature coalesced into its current form in 1989, an event marked by the convergence of three major trends: the consolidation of the information age, the arrival of a perpetual state of global war, and the expanding focus on humanitarianism. Ganguly analyzes a trove of novels from authors including Salman Rushdie, Don DeLillo, Michael Ondaatje, and Art Spiegelman, who address wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka, the Palestinian and Kashmiri crises, the Rwandan genocide, and post9/11 terrorism. These novels exist in a context in which suffering's presence in everyday life is mediated through digital images and where authors integrate visual forms into their storytelling. In showing how the evolution of the contemporary global novel is analogous to the European novel’s emergence in the eighteenth century, when society and the development of capitalism faced similar monumental ruptures, Ganguly provides both a theory of the contemporary moment and a reminder of the novel's power.

Suicide Century

Suicide Century investigates suicide as an increasingly 'normalised' but still deeply traumatic and profoundly baffling act in twentieth-century writing.


Author: Andrew Bennett

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781108418041

Category: Literary Criticism


View: 674

Suicide Century investigates suicide as an increasingly 'normalised' but still deeply traumatic and profoundly baffling act in twentieth-century writing.

Literature An Introduction to Theory and Analysis

1993), a nonessentialist concept of literature that contains the concept of “literariness” stemming from formalism and structuralism ... Bennett, Andrew and Nicholas Royle (2015) This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, ...


Author: Mads Rosendahl Thomsen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 9781474271981

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 400

View: 737

How does literature work? And what does it mean? How does it relate to the world: to politics, to history, to the environment? How do we analyse and interpret a literary text, paying attention to its specific poetic and fictitious qualities? This wide-ranging introduction helps students to explore these and many other essential questions in the study of literature, criticism and theory. In a series of introductory chapters, leading international scholars present the fundamental topics of literary studies through conceptual definitions as well as interpretative readings of works familiar from a range of world literary traditions. In an easy-to-navigate format, Literature: An Introduction to Theory and Analysis covers such topics as: ·Key definitions – from plot, character and style to genre, trope and author ·Literature's relationship to the surrounding world – ethics, politics, gender and nature ·Modes of literature and criticism – from books to performance, from creative to critical writing With annotated reading guides throughout and a glossary of major critical schools to help students when studying, revising and writing essays, this is an essential introduction and reference guide to the study of literature at all levels

Censorship and the Limits of the Literary

Consuming Literature: Best Sellers and the Commercialization of Literary Production in Contemporary China (Stanford, ... 28 Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle, This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (Abingdon, ...


Author: Nicole Moore

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781628920109

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 306

Though literature and censorship have been conceived as long-time adversaries, this collection seeks to understand the degree to which they have been dialectical terms, each producing the other, coeval and mutually constitutive. On the one hand, literary censorship has been posited as not only inescapable but definitive, even foundational to speech itself. One the other, especially after the opening of the USSR's spekstrahn, those enormous collections of literature forbidden under the Soviets, the push to redefine censorship expansively has encountered cogent criticism. Scholars describing the centralised control of East German print publication, for example, have wanted to insist on the difference of pre-publication state censorship from more mundane forms of speech regulation in democracies. Work on South African apartheid censorship and book banning in colonial countries also demonstrates censorship's formative role in the institutional structures of literature beyond the metropole. Censorship and the Limits of the Literary examines these and other developments across twelve countries, from the Enlightenment to the present day, offering case studies from the French revolution to Internet China. Is literature ever without censorship? Does censorship need the literary? In a globalizing era for culture, does censorship represent the final, failed version of national control?

Coming of Age

Yet, I chose this thing called literature as a vocation and a desire and those 'foreigners' from 'Western' were to play an important role in validating my ambitions. Why literature?


Author: Kamau, Kiarie

Publisher: East African Educational Publishers

ISBN: 9789966561848

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 318

View: 234

The sixteen chapters in this book form a Festschrift in honour of Henry Chakava, the distinguished Kenyan publisher. With a Forward by Tanzanian publisher Walter Bgoya , his long-time collaborator in furthering the causes of independent African publishing, the topics cover the full range of issues in which he has been central over more than forty years. His notable achievements include the first local buy-out of a British multinational publishing house, being one of the founders of African Books Collective and the African Publishers' Network, and participation in international counsels such as the Bellagio Publishing Network. Amongst the contributors are prominent Kenyan authors Ngugi wa Thiong'o, Simon Gikandi and Micere Githae Mugo; Kenyan colleagues from the book trade world; close collaborators in Uganda and Nigeria, and some international colleagues. The greatest range of the contributors are from within Africa. There are subject specific chapters on such issues as training, copyright, publishing in the digital age, and an overview of publishing at Codesria including the vexed issue of marginalisation of African language publishing.

Acts of Literature

They bear within themselves, or we could also say in their literary act they put to work, a question, the same one, but each time ... But given the paradoxical structure of this thing called literature, its beginning is its end.


Author: Jacques Derrida

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781135965242

Category: Philosophy

Page: 472

View: 485

First published in 1992. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.

Derrida s Secret

As we saw with society in the previous chapter of this book, this thing called literature cannot really stand up to persistent scrutiny (to use a word that will surely resonate with those familiar with the history of English Literature ...


Author: Charles Barbour

Publisher: Edinburgh University Press

ISBN: 9781474425025

Category: Philosophy

Page: 304

View: 503

The Snowden Affair, Wikileaks, the 'lone wolf' terrorist, Clinton's private email account - the secret is arguably the central element of our contemporary political experience. Now, Charles Barbour looks at the basic ontological question 'what is a secret?' Organised as a reflection on Jacques Derrida's later writings on secrecy, four chapters each look at a separate problematic: society and the oath, literature and testimony, philosophy and deception, and time and death. Barbour shows that secrecy is not a negation of our relations with others, but a necessary condition of those relations. We can only reveal ourselves to one another (and, indeed, to anything other) insofar as we conceal as well.

The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability

Our work offers an opening into the literary imagination, into who has access to canons and readings and who is seen to be part of the citizenship of this thing called literature, with its own histories of class and gender differences ...


Author: Clare Barker

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781107087828

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 320

View: 401

This Companion analyzes the representation of disability in literatures in English, including American and postcolonial writing, across all major time periods and through a variety of critical approaches. Through the alternative ideas of mind and embodiment generated by physiological and psychological impairments, an understanding of disability narrative changes the way we read literature. With contributions from major figures in literary disability studies, The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability covers a wide range of impairments, including cognitive difference, neurobehavioral conditions, and mental and chronic illnesses. This book shows how disability demands innovation in literary form and aesthetics, challenges the notion of a human 'norm' in the writing of character, and redraws the ways in which writing makes meaning of the broad spectrum of humanity. It will be a key resource for students and teachers of disability and literary studies.

After Derrida

I would say, if this is possible, was directed toward literature, toward that writing that is called literary.”4 In an interview conducted in 1989, he stated, no doubt with a smile, that literature is “the most interesting thing in the ...


Author: Jean-Michel Rabaté

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 9781108650083

Category: Literary Criticism


View: 827

This collection of essays explores the main concepts and methods of reading launched by French philosopher Jacques Derrida who died in 2004. Derrida exerted a huge influence on literary critics in the 1980s, but later there was a backlash against his theories. Today, one witnesses a general return to his way of reading literature, the rationale of which is detailed and explained in the essays. The authors, both well-known and younger specialists, give many precise examples of how Derrida, who always remained at the cusp between literature and philosophy, posed fundamental questions and thus changed the field of literary criticism, especially with regard to poetry. The contributors also highlight the way Derrida made spectacular interventions in feminism, psychoanalytic studies, animal studies, digital humanities and post-colonial studies.


Having said that , even if a phenomenon called " literature ” appeared historically in Europe , at such and such a date , this does not mean that one can identify the literary object in a rigorous way . It doesn't mean that there is an ...


Author: Jonathan D. Culler

Publisher: Taylor & Francis

ISBN: 041524708X

Category: Criticism

Page: 424

View: 470

It could be argued that deconstruction has to a considerable extent been formed by critical accounts of it. This collection reprints a cross section of these important works, charting the ways in which deconstruction is conceptualized and demonstrating the impact it has had on a wide range of traditions. The essential pieces in this set include writings by Jacques Derrida, Jonathan Culler, Paul de Man, Barbara Johnson, and a wide range of key thinkers in areas as diverse as psychoanalysis, law, gender studies, and architecture. The major themes covered include: * Vol. 1: Part I: "What is Deconstruction?"Part II: "Philosophy"* Vol. 2: Part III: "Literary Criticism"Part IV: "Feminism and Queer Theory"* Vol. 3: Part V: "Psychoanalysis"Part VI: "Religion/Theology"Part VII: "Architecture"* Vol. 4: Part VIII: "Politics"Part IX: "Ethics"

What is This Thing Called Language

The other literary hopefuls were poets with one children's author thrown in for good measure. The programme had me listed as sixth. There were eight of us, and about thirty people in the audience. The public reading took place at the ...




ISBN: 9781137059307



View: 972

Sex Trafficking in Postcolonial Literature

In his editorial column for the January 2012 issue of PMLA, suitably named “This Thing Called Literature . . . What Work Does It Do?”, Simon Gikandi observes: “I am often reminded of the transformative power of literature when I teach ...


Author: Laura Barberán Reinares

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317667933

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 178

View: 910

At present, the bulk of the existing research on sex trafficking originates in the social sciences. Sex Trafficking in Postcolonial Literature adds an original perspective on this issue by examining representations of sex trafficking in postcolonial literature. This book is a sustained interdisciplinary study bridging postcolonial literature, in English and Spanish, and sex trafficking, as analyzed through literary theory, anthropology, sociology, history, trauma theory, journalism, and globalization studies. It encompasses postcolonial theory and literature’s aesthetic analysis of sex trafficking together with research from social sciences, psychology, anthropology, and economics with the intention of offering a comprehensive analysis of the topic beyond the type of Orientalist discourse so prevalent in the media. This is an important and innovative resource for scholars in literature, postcolonial studies, gender studies, human rights and global justice.

Beckett Derrida and the Event of Literature

Indeed , in a recent text , Demeure , Derrida says : " the name and the thing called ' literature ' remain for me , to this day , endless enigmas . . . nothing to this day remains as new and as incomprehensible to me , at once very near ...


Author: Asja Szafraniec

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804754578

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 246

View: 285

The late Jacques Derrida’s notion of literature is explored in this new study. Starting with Derrida’s self-professed inability to comment on the work of Samuel Beckett, whom Derrida nevertheless considered one of the most interesting and exemplary writers of our time, Asja Szafraniec argues that the shared feature of literary works as Derrida understands them is a double, juridical-economical gesture, and that one aspect of this notion (the juridical) is more hospitable to Beckett’s oeuvre than the other. She then discusses other contemporary philosophical approaches to Beckett, including those of Gilles Deleuze, Stanley Cavell, and Alain Badiou. The book offers an innovative analysis of Derrida’s approach to literature, as well as an overview of current philosophical approaches to contemporary literature, and a number of innovative readings of Beckett’s work.

Philosophical Aesthetics and Samuel Beckett

Once Derrida called literature a strange institution ' whose definition is a paradoxical task , given that the very nature of the ... 133 Yet , Derrida goes on to write , ' given the paradoxical structure of this thing called literature ...


Author: Andrea Oppo

Publisher: Peter Lang

ISBN: 3039118242

Category: Philosophy

Page: 268

View: 138

This book examines the role of Samuel Beckett in contemporary philosophical aesthetics, primarily through analysis of both his own essays and the various interpretations that philosophers (especially Adorno, Blanchot, Deleuze, and Badiou) have given to his works. The study centres around the fundamental question of the relationship between art and truth, where art, as a negative truth, comes to its complete exhaustion (as Deleuze terms it) by means of a series of 'endgames' that progressively involve philosophy, writing, language and every individual and minimal form of expression. The major thesis of the book is that, at the heart of Beckett's philosophical project, this 'aesthetics of truth' turns out to be nothing other than the real subject itself, within a contradictory and tragic relationship that ties the Self/Voice to the Object/Body. Yet a number of questions remain open. 'What' or 'who' lies behind this process? What is left of the endgame of art and subjectivity? Finally, what sustains and renders possible Beckett's paradoxical axiom of the 'impossibility to express' alongside the 'obligation to express'? By means of a thorough overview of the most recent criticism of Beckett, this book will try to answer these questions.

An Introduction to Literature Criticism and Theory

His books include This Thing Called Literature (2015, coauthored with Nicholas Royle), William Wordsworth in Context(2015), Ignorance: Literature and Agnoiology (2009) and The Author (2005). Nicholas Royle is Professor of English at the ...


Author: Andrew Bennett

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781317313113

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 425

View: 121

Lively, original and highly readable, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory is the essential guide to literary studies. Starting at ‘The Beginning’ and concluding with ‘The End’, chapters range from the familiar, such as ‘Character’, ‘Narrative’ and ‘The Author’, to the more unusual, such as ‘Secrets’, ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Ghosts’. Now in its fifth edition, Bennett and Royle’s classic textbook successfully illuminates complex ideas by engaging directly with literary works, so that a reading of Jane Eyre opens up ways of thinking about racial difference, for example, while Chaucer, Raymond Chandler and Monty Python are all invoked in a discussion of literature and laughter. The fifth edition has been revised throughout and includes four new chapters – ‘Feelings’, ‘Wounds’, ‘Body’ and ‘Love’ – to incorporate exciting recent developments in literary studies. In addition to further reading sections at the end of each chapter, the book contains a comprehensive bibliography and a glossary of key literary terms. A breath of fresh air in a field that can often seem dry and dauntingly theoretical, this book will open the reader’s eyes to the exhilarating possibilities of reading and studying literature.

Modern Chinese Literary Thought

ple : this thing called literary theory is the topic , and everyone has his say , but to get all sides to agree on the conclusion is impossible . Confucius actually did not have very penetrating thoughts and shouldn't be pulled into the ...


Author: Kirk A. Denton

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 0804725594

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 554

View: 535

This volume presents a broad range of writings on modern Chinese literature. Of the fifty-five essays included, forty-seven are translated here for the first time, including two essays by Lu Xun. In addition, the editor has provided an extensive general introduction and shorter introductions to the five parts of the book, historical background, a synthesis of current scholarship on modern views of Chinese literature, and an original thesis on the complex formation of Chinese literary modernity. The collection reflects both the mainstream Marxist interpretation of the literary values of modern China and the marginalized views proscribed, at one time or another, by the leftist canon. It offers a full spectrum of modern Chinese perceptions of fundamental literary issues.

Philosophy Literature and Understanding

(Brill, 2015), Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle's This Thing Called Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing (Routledge, 2015), Karen Swallow Prior's On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books (Baker Publishing, 2018), ...


Author: Jukka Mikkonen

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

ISBN: 9781350163980

Category: Philosophy

Page: 190

View: 711

Challenging existing methodological conceptions of the analytic approach to aesthetics, Jukka Mikkonen brings together philosophy, literary studies and cognitive psychology to offer a new theory on the cognitive value of reading fiction. Philosophy, Literature and Understanding defends the epistemic significance of narratives, arguing that it should be explained in terms of understanding rather than knowledge. Mikkonen formulates understanding as a cognitive process, which he connects to narrative imagining in order to assert that narrative is a central tool for communicating understanding. Demonstrating the effects that literary works have on their readers, he examines academic critical analysis, responses of the reading public and nonfictional writings that include autobiographical testimony to their writer's influences and attitudes to life. In doing so, he provides empirical evidence of the cognitive benefits of literature and of how readers demonstrate the growth of their understanding. By drawing on the written testimony of the reader, this book is an important intervention into debates on the value of literature that incorporates understanding in new and imaginative ways.

Trauma and Transformation in African Literature

“Realism, Romance, and the Problem of African Literary History.” Modern Language Quarterly 73.3 (September): 309–328. ———. 2012b. “This Thing Called Literature ... What Work Does It Do?” PMLA 127.1 (January): 9–21. ———. 2013.


Author: J. Roger Kurtz

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 9781315467511

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 539

This book fills a gap in the field of contemporary trauma studies by interrogating the relevance of trauma for African literatures. Kurtz argues that a thoughtful application of trauma theory in relation to African literatures is in fact a productive exercise, and furthermore that the benefits of this exercise include not only what it can do for African literature, but also what it can do for trauma studies. He makes the case for understanding trauma healing within the larger project of peacebuilding, with an emphasis on the transformative potential of what he terms the African moral imagination as embodied in the creative work of its writers. He offers readings of selected works by Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Chimamanda Adichie, and Nuruddin Farah as case studies for how African literature can influence our understanding of trauma and trauma healing. This will be a valuable volume for those with interests in current trends and developments in trauma studies, African literary studies, postcolonial studies, and memory studies.