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Literary Criticism

The Philosophy of Socrates

Socrates (470/469–399 bce), mentor of Plato and founder of moral philosophy, was the son of Sophroniscus (a statuary) and Phaenarete (a midwife). According to a late doxographical tradition, he followed for a time in his father’s footsteps – a claim… Read More ›

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The Philosophy of Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida (1930–2004), a leading figure in French post-structuralist philosophy, is renowned for having developed deconstruction. His prolific writings treat both philosophical and literary works, and do so in various ways, of which deconstruction is the most philosophically significant. The… Read More ›

Psychological Novels and Novelists

From the ancient belief in humors to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ psychoanalytic and pharmacological methodologies, diverse theories about the mind have affected the literary production of novelists. Categorization according to these theories is difficult, because authors tend to mix… Read More ›

Postcolonial Novels and Novelists

A discussion of postcolonial literature must first acknowledge the scope and complexity of the term “postcolonial.” Temporally, the term designates any national literature written after the nation gained independence from a colonizing power. According to this definition, all literature written… Read More ›

Feminist Novels and Novelists

Feminist long fiction features female characters whose quest for self-agency leads to conflict with a traditionally masculinist and patriarchal society. These novels have been harshly criticized and dismissed—and even ridiculed—for their nontraditional female characters. Feminist ideology in the Western world… Read More ›

Critical Theory

Critical Theory is, by and large, concerned with the critique of MODERNITY, MODERNIZATION, and the modern state. The first generation of critical theorists – Max Horkheimer, Theodor Adorno, Herbert Marcuse, Walter Benjamin, Erich Fromm – came together in the early… Read More ›

Queer Theory

Since the late 1980s, theories of Gender and Sexuality have redefined how we think about culture and society. They have raised new questions about the construction of the gendered and sexualized subject and put forward radical new ideas about PERFORMANCE… Read More ›

Chicano/a Studies

Ethnic and indigenous studies is grounded in the genealogy of dispossession, colonialism, and oppression. On these grounds, Chicano/a studies is particularly close in its concerns to what animates native and indigenous writers, for in both the concern for nationalism, cultural… Read More ›

Deconstruction Theory

Deconstruction emerged out of a tradition of French philosophical thought strongly influenced by the phenomenological projects of Edmund Husserl and Martin Heidegger. The main concern of phenomenology is consciousness and essence. For Husserl, consciousness entailed an intention towards the essence… Read More ›

Ethnic Studies

Ethnic Studies, the theoretical study of race and cultural pluralism, began in the US with the work of African American writers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. African American studies has revealed the theoretical richness of African American… Read More ›

Trauma Studies

Psychological trauma, its representation in language, and the role of memory in shaping individual and cultural identities are the central concerns that define the field of trauma studies. Psychoanalytic theories on trauma paired with additional theoretical frameworks such as poststructural,… Read More ›

Masculinity Studies

Halberstam’s Female Masculinity (1998) works as a starting point for the discussion of masculinity studies since this text considers the fundamentals of what constitutes masculinity and how the paradigm of female masculinity fits in. Halberstam begins with the assertion of… Read More ›

Disability Studies

Like feminist, critical race, and queer approaches to literature and culture, disability studies relates to a specific group: in this case, disabled people, who make up approximately 15 percent of the world population and are among the most poor and… Read More ›

Postmodern Gothic

The play of fear and laughter has been inscribed in Gothic texts since their inception, an ambivalence that disturbs critical categories that evaluate their seriousness or triviality. The uncertainty perpetuates Gothic anxieties at the level of narrative and generic form,… Read More ›

Vampire Narrative

The play between mythological and modern significance, between mystical and scientific visions of horror and unity, sexuality and sacred violence, is focused in the figure of the vampire. In Mary Braddon’s ‘Good Lady Ducayne’ (1896) the vampire theme signals the… Read More ›

Critical Race Theory

The critical race theory (CRT) movement is a collection of activists and scholars engaged in studying and transforming the relationship among race, racism, and power. The movement considers many of the same issues that conventional civil rights and ethnic studies… Read More ›

Popular Culture

Popular culture has become segmented into a myriad of forms, genres, audiences, tones, styles and purposes, so much so that it cannot meaningfully be talked about as a monolith. While some so-called ‘popular culture’ is produced en masse (and has… Read More ›

Queer Culture

The term ‘queer’ has often puzzled outsiders.Why call yourself that? This too has its story. For a long time ‘queer’was, of course, a derogatory term for male homosexuals. That began to change when it began to be widely used in… Read More ›

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