In Search of Authority – Third Edition
An Introductory Guide to Literary Theory
  • Publication Date: April 26, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551117676 / 1551117673
  • 278 pages; 6" x 9"
 

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In Search of Authority – Third Edition

An Introductory Guide to Literary Theory

  • Publication Date: April 26, 2007
  • ISBN: 9781551117676 / 1551117673
  • 278 pages; 6" x 9"

In Search of Authority is the most engaging introduction to literary theory available today.

This is the third edition of a book that has been widely used to introduce undergraduates to the field of literary theory. Its distinctive quality is the way in which it makes complex literary theories, such as structuralism, deconstruction, and post-modernism, accessible to students by relating these theories to students’ own enjoyment in reading literature. Each theory is illustrated by several applications of the theory to well-known literary works.

Based on a reader-response approach to literature, In Search of Authority begins with an up-to-date account of the status of literary theory in the 21st century, including a response to recent debates about the “post-theory” question. It concludes with a discussion of how an understanding of literary theory can lead to the empowerment of the individual reader, and of how the authority of the professor can be gradually transferred to the student.

This third edition has been revised and updated throughout. Each chapter ends with several questions to help students check their understanding of the key ideas in the chapter.

Comments

In Search of Authority is the best discussion I know for giving our students a theoretical framework in which to think. The study questions, new to this edition, go right to the heart of key issues.” — Jeffrey R. Smitten, Utah State University

“The appeal of this book, and its distinctiveness, lie in the genuinely reader-friendly nature of the author’s arguments and style.” — TLS

“Finally, a literary theory primer with a mind of its own, a language that’s accessible, and a voice that’s engaging!” — Fred Gardaphe, Columbia College, Chicago

“Bonnycastle’s fluid commentary and consistently generous understanding make this an excellent introduction to literary theory.” — Terry Goldie, York University

Introduction

Part One: Preparing to Encounter Literary Theory

CHAPTER 1
Why Study Literary Theory Now?

CHAPTER 2
Monologue and Dialogue in the Classroom

CHAPTER 3
Literature and the Ideology of Science

CHAPTER 4
Paradigms, Paradigm Change, and Interpretation

CHAPTER 5
Historical Criticism and New Criticism

Part Two: Literary Theory: Structuralism and After

CHAPTER 6
Structuralism (i): The Birth of a Paradigm

CHAPTER 7
Structuralism (ii): Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Relations

CHAPTER 8
Deconstruction

CHAPTER 9
Vico and the Four Stages of Mental Life

CHAPTER 10
Myths and Demystification

CHAPTER 11
Structuralism (iii): Narratology

CHAPTER 12
New Historicism

CHAPTER 13
Reader-Response Criticism

Part Three: Standpoint Groups

CHAPTER 14
Feminism, Gender Issues, and Literature

CHAPTER 15
Marxist Criticism

CHAPTER 16
Postcolonial Criticism and Multiculturalism

Part Four: Summing Up and Looking Forward

CHAPTER 17
Conclusion: Resituating Authority

EPILOGUE
Postmodernism: Problems and Solutions

INDEX

Educated at Queen’s University, Oxford University, and the University of Nancy, France, Stephen Bonnycastle is Professor of English at the Royal Military College of Canada. He was president of the Association for Bibliotherapy in Canada in 1995, and in 2005 won his university’s award for teaching excellence. In Search of Authority has been translated into Chinese.