Literature in the Modern World: Critical Essays and Documents

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Dennis Walder, Open University
Oxford University Press, 1990 - Criticism - 386 pages
Literature in the Modern World offers a unique combination of English, European, feminist and `new writing', or `Commonwealth', perspectives on literary studies from the 1920s to the 1980s. It is designed to enable students to gain an understanding of the main theoretical issues involved in the study of modern literary texts. The texts upon which the critical essays here focus are - chiefly, but not exclusively, in English. The book includes the view of leading critics and theoristssuch as Marilyn Butler, Frank Kermode, Helene Cixous, and Edward Said, as well as the originating voices of Wole Soyinka, Toni Morrison, Seamus Heaney, and Virginia Woolf, and focuses on major critical topics including genre, interpretation, history and criticism, gender, race, and the notion of `Englishness'. This approach derives from a perceived change in what constitutes `English literature' in a period of British imperial decline and takes account of the rise of a radical, questioning critical and literary practice at home and abroad. The more abstract and abstruse contemporary critics are eschewed in favour of extracts of sufficient length, force, and clarity to offer relative newcomers the opportunity of engaging with a wide range of current issues. The book covers the Open University course A319.

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Questioning the Canon
4 Sandra M Gilbert and Susan Gubar Women Poets

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About the author (1990)

Dennis Walder, Senior Lecturer in Literature, Open University.

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