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Literary Criticism

Key Theories of Mikhail Bakhtin

Mikhail M. Bakhtin (1895–1975) is increasingly being recognized as one of the major literary theorists of the twentieth century. He is perhaps best known for his radical philosophy of language, as well as his theory of the novel, underpinned by… Read More ›

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Marxist Feminism

From a Marxist perspective, history is dominated by a struggle between social classes that will only end when a truly classless society has been achieved. Given the fact that throughout history women have been collectively denied important rights, it was… Read More ›

Translation and Gender

The interest of cultural studies in translation inevitably took translation studies away from purely linguistic analysis and brought it into contact with other disciplines. Yet this ‘process of disciplinary hybridization’ (Simon 1996: ix) has not always been straightforward. Sherry Simon,… Read More ›

World Systems Theory

A theory of the operation of the world economic, social and political system, formulated by Immanuel Wallerstein (1974a; 1974b). The chief assertion of this theory is that the capitalist system has been the world economic system since the sixteenth century… Read More ›

Corporeal Feminism

During the 1990s, a group of Australian feminists (e.g., Grosz 1994; Grosz and Probyn 1995; Gatens 1996; Kirby 1997) developed a branch of sexual difference theory known as ‘corporeal feminism.’ Drawing on Irigaray, this group has argued that feminist researchers… Read More ›

The Realism of Henry James

Though Henry James (1843–1916) was an American novelist, he saw the word “American” as embracing a certain cultural openness, or in his words, a “fusion and synthesis of the various National tendencies of the world.”1 The experience underlying James’ creative… Read More ›

Black Feminisms

The term ‘Black’ is radically unstable and is applied to various, related political positions. An attempt to trace the meanings that surround and inform this term involves an engagement with its geographical, cultural and political indeterminacies, with its reliance on… Read More ›

Romanticism in Germany

During the 1760s and 1770s, Germany witnessed the rise of the Sturm und Drang (“Storm and Stress”) movement in which writers and critics such as Johann Gottfried von Herder (1744–1803), Goethe, and Schiller experimented with new subjective modes of expression… Read More ›

Romanticism in England

In England, the ground for Romanticism was prepared in the latter half of the eighteenth century through the economic, political, and cultural transformations mentioned in the preceding chapters. The system of absolute government crumbled even earlier in Britain than elsewhere;… Read More ›

Postmodern British Poetry

If the era of ‘postmodernity’ is increasingly seen as ‘a socio-economic mode that has intensified and surpassed modernity itself’ then poetry produced under this new ‘socio-economic mode’ might rightly be dismissed as another form of ‘postmodern’ candyfloss neatly packaged for… Read More ›

Postmodern Paranoia

Paranoia, or the threat of total engulfment by somebody else’s system, is keenly felt by many of the dramatis personae of postmodernist fiction. It is tempting to speculate that this is an indirect mimetic representation of the climate of fear… Read More ›

Cyberculture, Cyberpunk, Technopoly and Cybercriticism

Cyberculture: cyberspace, technoculture, virtual communities, virtual realities, virtual identities, virtual space, cyborgs, cybernetics, cyberbodies, spectacles, simulations, simulacra and so forth. Cyberculture exists within the globally networked, computer-sustained, computer-accessed and/or computer-generated multidimensional virtual realities. Originally existing in the pages of science… Read More ›

The Literary Criticism of Matthew Arnold

Matthew Arnold (1822-1888), English poet, literary critic, and essayist, perceived reformative tendencies accompanying the burgeoning development of industrial society in nineteenth-century England that threatened the wavering hegemonic apparatus of secular and ecclesiastical order, and hindered the appreciation and expression of… Read More ›

Key Theories of Theodor Adorno

German philosopher, sociologist and musicologist who was a leading member (and eventually director) of the Frankfurt Institute for Social Research (the institutional basis of the Frankfurt School of German critical theory),  Theodor Adorno’s (1903-1969) work may be understood as an… Read More ›

The Sociology of Norbert Elias

German-born sociologist, who held academic posts in Germany, the United Kingdom, Ghana and the Netherlands, Norbert Elias‘s (1897-1990) approach to sociological inquiry is characterised by the use of highly detailed historical study, so that even theoretical questions are addressed in… Read More ›

Key Theories of Edward Said

American literary critic, postcolonial theorist and political commentator who was born in the Middle East. In 1963  Edward Said (1935- 2003) was made Parr Professor of English and Comparative Literature, at Columbia University, New York, where he has remained to… Read More ›

The Philosophy of Richard Rorty

Although trained within the so-called ‘analytic’ tradition, Richard Rorty (1931-2007) espouses an approach to philosophy that is generally referred to as ‘neo-pragmatist’. Rorty draws heavily on the works of C. S. Peirce, William James and John Dewey, and also displays an… Read More ›

Key Theories of Georg Lukacs

The Hungarian philosopher and literary critic Gyorgy (or Georg) Lukacs (1885-1971) had a major influence on the development of Western Marxism (that is to say, the largely Hegelian Marxism developed in Western Europe), while also being the most sophisticated literary… Read More ›

Key Theories of Jacques Derrida

Jacques Derrida (1930-2004) came to prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s with the publication of Of Grammatology (1967), Writing and Difference (1967) and Margins of Philosophy (1972). Derrida’s name is inextricably linked with the term ‘deconstruction‘. Largely because… Read More ›

The Sociology of Emile Durkheim

Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) French sociologist, regarded as one of the ‘founding fathers’ of sociology. His early work developed a theory of society as a transcendent reality that constrained individuals, and proposed the methodology necessary to study that reality. His work… Read More ›

The Sociology of Pierre Bourdieu

French cultural anthropologist and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu (1930-2002), whose work, characterised as it is by an equal commitment to empirical as well as theoretical research, has embraced the ethnography of Algerian peasant communities (Bourdieu 1979), the sociology of culture (1977b, 1990) and… Read More ›

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