An essential guide to understanding literary theory and criticism in the European tradition
What is Literature? A Critical Anthology explores the most fundamental question in literary studies. 'What is literature?' is the name of a problem that emerges with the idea of literature in European modernity. This volume offers a cross-section of modern literary theory and reflects on the history of thinking about literature as a specific form. What is Literature? reveals how ideas of the literary draw on the foundations of Western thought in ancient Greece and Rome, charting the emergence of modern literature in the eighteenth century, and including selections from the present state of the art.
The anthology includes the work of leading writers and critics of the last two thousand years including Plato, Henry James, Virginia Woolf, Edward Said, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Jacques Rancière, and many others. The book is an insightful examination of the nature of literature, its meanings and values, functions and forms, provocations and mysteries.
What is Literature? brings together in one volume influential and intriguing essays that show our enduring fascination with the idea of literature. This important guide:
- Contains a broad selection of the most significant texts on the topic of literature
- Includes leading writers from ancient times to the most recent thinkers on literature and criticism
- Encourages readers to reflect on the varied meanings of 'literature'
What is Literature? A Critical Anthology is a unique collection of texts that will appeal to every student and scholar of literature and literary criticism in the European tradition.
MARK ROBSON is the Chair of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Dundee, Scotland, where he also teaches philosophy and visual culture. He founded and is the Director of the Centre for Critical and Creative Cultures at Dundee, and is author and editor of several books including Theatre & Death, The Sense of Early Modern Writing and (with James Loxley) Shakespeare, Jonson, and the Claims of the Performative.