Literary Theory. An Introduction. SECOND EDITION. Terry Eagleton. St Catherine '5 College. Oxford. Blackwell. Publishing. Terry Eagleton "Introduction: What is Literature?" If there is such a thing as literary theory, then it would seem obvious that there is something called literature. Ideologies I. Title ISBN ISBN pbk US Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Eagleton, Terry, - Ideology.

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Terry Eagleton Pdf

PDF | On Jan 1, , Dámaso LÓPEZ GARCÍA and others published Literary Theory. An Introduction, de Terry Eagleton. 𝗣𝗗𝗙 | Terry Eagleton, the author of How to Read Literature, is a well-known British literary theorist, critic and public intellectual. He is a professor of English. I hope it will also prove useful to specialists in the field, not least because it argues against what I take to be a current orthodoxy. I do not believe that this.

Vincent Leitch et. New York: Norton, Graff argues educators cannot teach literary analysis without literary theory, and essentially students cannot effectively analyze literature without it. However, in order for educators to effectively implement theory into classrooms, Graff suggests academics need to organize and compartmentalize their departments. Graff looks at the field coverage model and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of implementing it. By letting professors teach independently, the field coverage model allows professors to avoid referring to their academic peers about what and how they are teaching. Furthermore, Graff argues departments may face issues implementing theory, including defining this theory. This in itself, Graff claims, is a problem because it assumes that departments solve the cultural conflicts posed by theory. However, these cultural conflicts may never be resolved. He concludes by stating it is necessary for students to learn about theory in order to analyze a text, while also acting as theorists themselves. How to do Theory.

Under the pressure of literary devices, ordinary language was intensified, condensed, twisted, telescoped, drawn out, turned on its head.

Literary Theory: an introduction / Terry Eagleton

It was language 'made strange'; and because of this estrangement, the everyday world was also suddenly made unfamiliar.

In the routines of everyday speech, our perceptions of and responses to reality become stale, blunted, or, as the Formalists would say, 'automatized'. Literature, by forcing us into a dramatic awareness of language, refreshes these habitual responses and renders objects more 'perceptible'.

By having to grapple with language in a more strenuous, self-conscious way than usual, the world which that language contains is vividly renewed. The poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins might provide a particularly graphic example of this.

Literary discourse 'estranges or alienates ordinary speech, but in doing so, paradoxically, brings us into a fuller, more intimatepossession of experience. Most of the time we breathe in air without being conscious of it: like language,it is the very medium in which we move. But if the air is suddenly thickened or infected we are forced toattend to our breathing with new vigilance, and the effect of this may be a heightened experience of ourbodily life, we read a scribbled note from a friend without paying much attention to its narrativestructure; but if a story breaks off and begins again, switches constantly from one narrative level toanother and delays its climax to keep us in suspense, we become freshly conscious of how it isconstructed at the same time as our engagement with it may be intensified.

The story, as the Formalistswould argue, uses impeding' or 'retarding' devices to hold our attention; and in literary language, thesedevices are laid bare'. It was this which moved Viktor Shlovsky to remark mischievously of LaurenceSterne's Tristram Shandy, a novel which impedes its own story-line so much that it hardly gets off heground, that it was 'the most typical novel in world literature'.

The Formalists, then, saw literary language as a set of deviations from a norm, a kind of linguistic violence: literature is a special' kind of language, in contrast to the 'ordinary' language vecommonly use.

But to spot a deviation implies being able to identify the norm from which it swerves. Though 'ordinary language' is a concept beloved of some Oxford philosophers, the ordinary language of Oxford philosophers has little in common with the ordinary language of Glaswegian dockers. The languageboth social groups use to write love letters usually differs from the way they talk to the local vicar. Theidea that there s a single 'normal' language, a common currency shared equally y all members of society,is an illusion.

Any actual language consists of a highly complex range of discourses, differentiatedaccording to class, region, gender, status and so on, which can by no means be neatly unified into asingle, homogeneous linguistic community.

One person's norm may be another's deviation: 'ginnel' for'alleyway' may be poetic in Brighton but ordinary language in Barnsley. Even the most 'prosaic' text of thefifteenth century may sound 'poetic' to us today because of its archaism. If we were to stumble across anisolated scrap of writing from some long-vanished civilization, we could not tell whether it was 'poetry' ornot merely by inspecting it, since we might have no access to that society's 'ordinary' discourses; and evenif further research were to reveal that it was 'deviatory', this would still not prove that it was poetry asnot all linguistic deviations are poetic.

Slang, for example. We would not be able to tell just by looking atit that it was not a piece of 'realist' literature, without much more information about the way it actuallyfunctioned as a piece of writing within the society in question. It is not that the Russian Formalists did not realize all this. They recognized that norms anddeviations shifted around from one social or historical context to another -that 'poetry.

The fact that a piece of language was'estranging' did not guarantee that it was always and everywhere so: it was estranging only against acertain normative linguistic background, and if this altered then the writing might cease to be perceptibleas literary.

(Download) How to Read a Poem pdf by Terry Eagleton - Google Fusion Tables

If everyone used phrases like 'unravished bride of quietness' in ordinary pub conversation, thiskind of language might cease to be poetic. For the Formalists, in other words, 'literariness' was a function of the differential relations between one sort of discourse and another; it was not an eternally givenproperty.

They were not out to define 'literature', but 'literariness' -special uses of language, which couldbe found in 'literary' texts but also in many places outside them. Anyone who believes that 'literature' canbe defined by such special uses of language has to face the fact that there is more metaphor inManchester than there is in Marvell. There is no 'literary' device -metonymy, synecdoche, litotes, chiasmusand so on -which is not quite intensively used in daily discourse.

Summary and Evaluation of Terry Eagleton’s “What is Literature?”

Nevertheless, the Formalists still presumed that 'making strange' was the essence of the literary. It was just that they relativized this use of language, saw it as a matter of contrast between one type of speech and another.

It is as though postmodernism represents the cynical belated revenge wreaked by bourgeois culture upon its revolutionary antagonists, whose utopian desire for a fusion of art and social praxis is seized, distorted and jeeringly turned back upon them as dystopian reality.

I say it is as though postmodernism effects such a parody, because Jameson is surely right to claim that in reality it is blankly innocent of any such devious satirical impulse, and is entirely devoid of the kind of historical memory which might make such a disfiguring self-conscious.

To place a pile of bricks in the Tate Gallery once might be considered ironic; to repeat the gesture endlessly is sheer carelessness of any such ironic intention, as its shock value is inexorably drained away to leave nothing beyond brute fact.

The depthless, styleless, dehistoricized, decathected surfaces of postmodernist culture are not meant to signify an alienation, for the very concept of alienation must secretly posit a dream of authenticity which postmodernism finds quite unintelligible. It is impossible to discern in such forms, as it is in the artefacts of modernism proper, a wry, anguished or derisive awareness of the normative traditional humanism they deface.

Postmodernism is thus a grisly parody of socialist utopia, having abolished all alienation at a stroke. By raising alienation to the second power, alienating us even from our own alienation, it persuades us to recognize that utopia not as some remote telos but, amazingly, as nothing less than the present itself, replete as it is in its own brute positivity and scarred through with not the slightest trace of lack.

Reification, once it has extended its empire across the whole of social reality, effaces the very criteria by which it can be recognized for what it is and so triumphantly abolishes itself, returning everything to normality.

Though 'ordinary language' is a concept beloved of some Oxford philosophers, the ordinary language of Oxford philosophers has little in common with the ordinary language of Glaswegian dockers. The languageboth social groups use to write love letters usually differs from the way they talk to the local vicar.

Theidea that there s a single 'normal' language, a common currency shared equally y all members of society,is an illusion. Any actual language consists of a highly complex range of discourses, differentiatedaccording to class, region, gender, status and so on, which can by no means be neatly unified into asingle, homogeneous linguistic community.

One person's norm may be another's deviation: Even the most 'prosaic' text of thefifteenth century may sound 'poetic' to us today because of its archaism. If we were to stumble across anisolated scrap of writing from some long-vanished civilization, we could not tell whether it was 'poetry' ornot merely by inspecting it, since we might have no access to that society's 'ordinary' discourses; and evenif further research were to reveal that it was 'deviatory', this would still not prove that it was poetry asnot all linguistic deviations are poetic.

Slang, for example.

We would not be able to tell just by looking atit that it was not a piece of 'realist' literature, without much more information about the way it actuallyfunctioned as a piece of writing within the society in question. It is not that the Russian Formalists did not realize all this. They recognized that norms anddeviations shifted around from one social or historical context to another -that 'poetry. The fact that a piece of language was'estranging' did not guarantee that it was always and everywhere so: If everyone used phrases like 'unravished bride of quietness' in ordinary pub conversation, thiskind of language might cease to be poetic.

For the Formalists, in other words, 'literariness' was a function of the differential relations between one sort of discourse and another; it was not an eternally givenproperty.

They were not out to define 'literature', but 'literariness' -special uses of language, which couldbe found in 'literary' texts but also in many places outside them. There is no 'literary' device -metonymy, synecdoche, litotes, chiasmusand so on -which is not quite intensively used in daily discourse.

Capitalism, Modernism and Postmodernism

Nevertheless, the Formalists still presumed that 'making strange' was the essence of the literary. It was just that they relativized this use of language, saw it as a matter of contrast between one type of speech and another. But what if I were to hear someone at the next pub table remark 'This is awfullysquiggly handwriting! As a matter of fact, it is 'literary'language because it comes from Knut Hamsun's novel Hunger.

But how do I know that it is literary? Itdoesn't, after all, focus any particular attention on itself as a verbal performance.

One answer to thequestion of how I know that this is literary is that it comes from Knit Hamsun's novel Hunger. It is part of atext which I read as 'fictional', which announces itself as a 'novel', which may be put on universityliterature syllabuses and so on. The context tells me that it is literary; but the language itself has noinherent proper- ties or qualities which might distinguish it from other kinds of discourse, and someonemight well say this in a pub without being admired for their literary dexterity.

To think of literature as theFormalists do is really to think of all literature as poetry. Significantly, when the Formalists came toconsider prose writing, they often simply extended to it the kinds of technique they had used withpoetry.

But literature is usually judged o contain much besides poetry -to include, for example, realist ornaturalistic writing which is not linguistically self-conscious or self-exhibiting in any striking way. Peoplesometimes call writing 'fine' precisely because it doesn't draw undue attention to itself: And what about jokes, football chants and slogans, newspaperheadlines, advertisements, which are often verbally flamboyant but not generally classified as literature?

Another problem with the 'estrangement' case is that there is no kind of writing which cannot,given sufficient ingenuity, be read as estranging. Consider a prosaic, quite unambiguous statement likethe one sometimes seen in the London underground system: Many apparently straightforward notices contain such ambiguities: But evenleaving such troubling ambiguities aside, it is surely obvious that the underground notice could be read asliterature.

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