Author Archives

Literariness is an open access collection of notes inviting everyone to explore the unfathomable English Language, Literature, and Theory. Feel free to discover and share knowledge.
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  • Structuralist Marxism

    Karl Marx’s mature writing from A Contribution to the Criticism of Political Economy (1859) through the first edition of Capital (1867) offers to analyze social and economic relations as systems and structures that follow scientific laws. In Marx’s vocabulary, a… Read More ›

  • Materialist Feminisms

    Although feminists and socialists have engaged in continuous conversations since the nineteenth century, those crosscurrents within literary theory that might be designated “materialist feminisms” have their origins in the late 1960s with various attempts to synthesize feminist politics with Marxist… Read More ›

  • Poststructuralist Feminisms

    “The question of gender is a question of language.” This statement is Barbara Johnson’s (World 37), and her succinct formulation of the relationship between gender and language does much to characterize the approach of a group of feminists who draw… Read More ›

  • Anglo-American Feminisms

    Women’s experience as encountered in female fictional characters, the reactions of women readers, and the careers, techniques, and topics of women writers was the focus of the most accessible feminist criticism in the United States and Britain by the mid-1970s…. Read More ›

  • Literary Criticism of T. S. Eliot

    Thomas Steams Eliot (1888-1965) has described his criticism as a “by-product” of his “private poetry-workshop” and as “a prolongation of the thinking that went into the formation of my own verse” (On Poetry 117). These devaluations minimize his status as… Read More ›

  • Discourse Theory

    Discourse theorists take discourse, rather than language, as their domain in part because of difficulties with the latter term. The standard definition of “language” in linguistics (a set of units and the rules for combining them to make well-formed sentences)… Read More ›

  • Discourse Analysis

    For many years, discourse analysis was less an explicit “theory” than a practical and empirical approach for supporting field work on relatively little-recorded languages and cultures (see, e.g., Grimes, Longacre, Malinowski, Pike). One domain of early work that attracted notice… Read More ›

  • Cultural Studies in the United States

    Cultural studies emerged as a distinctive academic discipline in the English-speaking world between the 1960s and the 1990s as part of the broad shift in universities to new kinds of interdisciplinary analysis. Parallel to contemporaneous developments in ethnic studies and… Read More ›

  • Cultural Studies in the United Kingdom

    While the field of literary studies from its inception took as its exclusive object of interest the literary canon, cultural studies has generally been concerned with what is left over, popular or mass culture—newspapers, magazines, radio, film, television, popular song,… Read More ›

  • Postcolonial (Cultural) Studies

    Postcolonial (cultural) studies (PCS) constitutes a major intervention in the widespread revisionist project that has impacted academia since the 1960s—together with such other counterdiscourses that are gaining academic and disciplinary recognition as cultural studies, women’s studies, Chicano studies, African-American studies,… Read More ›

  • Indian Literary Theory and Criticism

    The Western tradition of literary theory and criticism essentially derives from the Greeks, and there is a sense in which Plato, Aristotle, and Longinus mark out positions and debates that are still being played out today. At a moment when… Read More ›

  • Historical Criticism

    Historical theory and criticism embraces not only the theory and practice of literary historiographical representation but also other types of criticism that, often without acknowledgment, presuppose a historical ground or adopt historical methods in an ad hoc fashion. Very frequently,… Read More ›

  • Drama Theory

    Aristotle‘s Poetics, the first major text of Western drama theory, defined the terms of much subsequent discussion. Unlike such classical Eastern theoretical works on drama as the Sanskrit Natyasastra or Zeami Motokiyo’s writings on Noh, it makes only minor passing… Read More ›

  • Chicago Critics

    In 1937, John Crowe Ransom claimed that if the fledgling movement “for the erection of intelligent standards of criticism” were to succeed, “the credit would probably belong to Professor Ronald S. Crane, of the University of Chicago, more than to… Read More ›

  • Bloomsbury Group

    Desmond MacCarthy’s claim that there “is little in common between the work of Lytton Strachey, Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell, David Garnett, Roger Fry, Maynard Keynes, Leonard Woolf, Vanessa Bell, Duncan Grant, E. M. Forster” (Memories 172) is a useful starting… Read More ›

  • Analysis of Thomas De Quincey’s On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth

    Thomas De Quincey’s essay On the Knocking at the Gate in Macbeth is one of the best known of his critical works-it appears in most anthologies of criticism and nineteenth-century prose, and is hailed it as “the finest romantic criticism.”… Read More ›

  • Analysis of Edward Said‘s Orientalism

    Edward Said‘s publication of Orientalism (1978) made such an impact on thinking about colonial discourse that for two decades it has continued to be the site of controversy, adulation and criticism. Said‘s intervention is designed to illustrate the manner in… Read More ›

  • Behaviourism

    The ideas of behaviourism have their roots in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. John B. Watson, an American working in the realm of the new psychology, is widely accepted as one of the earliest proponents of behaviourism. He… Read More ›

  • Functional/Systemic Grammar

    A functional grammar is one which seeks to derive syntactic structures from the functions which language is said to perform. All syntactic analyses take some account of functional categories. Terms such as subject and object, for example, are of this… Read More ›

  • Cognitive, Constructivist Learning

    Constructivist Theories The area of constructivism, in the field of learning, comes under the broad heading of cognitive science. Cognitive science is an expansive area. It has its roots in the first half of the twentieth century at a time… Read More ›