- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Format: Paperback | 232 pages
- Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 23mm | 748g
- Publication date: 1 June 2014
- Publication City/Country: New Haven
- ISBN 10: 0300205309
- ISBN 13: 9780300205305
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 53,133
What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience. In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and Jane Austen to Samuel Beckett and J. K. Rowling.
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Terry Eagleton is Distinguished Professor of Literature, University of Lancaster, UK, and Excellence in English Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Notre Dame. One of the most influential literary critics in the English-speaking world, he is the author of more than 40 books on literary theory, postmodernism, politics, ideology, and religion, among them his best-selling Literary Theory: An Introduction. He lives in Northern Ireland, UK.
"'Part of the fun of the book is the way in which Eagleton prompts, provokes and at times infuriates. How to read How to Read Literature? As an ideal introductory guide to critical analysis, and a thoroughly enjoyable reminder of Eagleton's own skill and subtlety as a reader.' (Felicity James, Times Higher Education Supplement) 'This book is seriously good fun. Teachers should pounce on it with glee, especially if they have tried for weary years to tell students, daunted by having to comment on great literary works, that poems and novels are not alarming, for they are composed only of words. Of course students themselves may not read the book, students being what they are, but those entrusted with their education should rejoice.' (Sue Gaisford, The Tablet) 'Eagleton is alive to the complexity of literature and to a commonsense clarity... In a cheering way, Eagleton believes in literary value and thinks an inability to recognise it would be as absurd as someone who is into single-malt whisky not being willing to admit a great one when he tasted it... This is as brilliant as an absolutely sensible book about literature could be. Anyone intrigued by the subject, as well as quite a few who have long been bemused by it, will read it with intense pleasure.' (Peter Craven, The Sydney Morning Herald)"