How to Read Literature by Terry Eagleton

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This is Eagleton at his most charming and an excellent guide for literature students early in their education or those seeking a refresher course.
-Publishers Weekly

Synopsis

What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment, and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host of others. How to Read Literature is the book of choice for students new to the study of literature and for all other readers interested in deepening their understanding and enriching their reading experience.

In a series of brilliant analyses, Eagleton shows how to read with due attention to tone, rhythm, texture, syntax, allusion, ambiguity, and other formal aspects of literary works. He also examines broader questions of character, plot, narrative, the creative imagination, the meaning of fictionality, and the tension between what works of literature say and what they show. Unfailingly authoritative and cheerfully opinionated, the author provides useful commentaries on classicism, Romanticism, modernism, and postmodernism along with spellbinding insights into a huge range of authors, from Shakespeare and J. K. Rowling to Jane Austen and Samuel Beckett.

 

About Terry Eagleton

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Terry Eagleton was born in Manchester, England. The author of more than forty books, including the seminal Literary Theory: An Introduction, he has taught at Oxford, Cambridge, and the University of Manchester. He resides in Dublin, Ireland, with his wife and children.
 
Published May 21, 2013 by Yale University Press. 227 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for How to Read Literature
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Steven Poole on Jul 26 2013

A literary-criticism virgin would be well served by this book's account of what good criticism is not, and perhaps inspired by many of its tartly illuminating aperçus on canonical dead authors. It would be a shame, though, if readers felt subsequently encouraged to judge writing according to its perceived qualities of "honesty" and "spontaneity".

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Publishers Weekly

Good
on May 13 2013

This is Eagleton at his most charming and an excellent guide for literature students early in their education or those seeking a refresher course.

Read Full Review of How to Read Literature | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Kirkus

Good
on Apr 08 2013

A genial guide to exactly what the title promises, for readers who aren’t particularly experienced or critical.

Read Full Review of How to Read Literature | See more reviews from Kirkus

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