Book

Literary Criticism

Gary Day

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2008 | ISBN: 9780748615636
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652099 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748615636.001.0001
Literary Criticism

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Did you know that Aristotle thought the best tragedies were those which ended happily? Or that the first mention of the motor car in literature may have been in 1791, in James Boswell's Life of Johnson? Or that it was not unknown in the nineteenth century for book reviews to be 30,000 words long? These are just a few of the facts to be found in this history of literary criticism. From the Ancient Greek period to the present day, we learn about critics' lives, the times in which they lived, and how the same problems of interpretation and valuation persist through the ages. In this book, the author questions whether the ‘theory wars’ of recent years have lost sight of the actual literature, and makes surprising connections between criticism and a range of subjects, including the rise of money. This is an informative, intriguing, and often-provocative account of the history of literary criticism, put into context.

Keywords: Aristotle; tragedies; James Boswell; Life of Johnson; nineteenth century; book reviews; literary criticism; critics' lives; interpretation; theory wars

Book.  352 pages. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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Table of Contents

Greeks and Romans in Literary Criticism

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Medieval Criticism in Literary Criticism

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