LITERARY THEORY A Very Short Introduction
Section 2 Precisely what is Literature will not it Matter?
What is literature? You'd believe this would be a central query for literary theory, however in fact they have not seemed to matter quite definitely. Why should this kind of be? Right now there appear to be two main reasons. 1st, since theory itself intermingles ideas coming from philosophy, linguistics, history, personal theory, and psychoanalysis, why should theorists stress about whether the text messages they're reading are fictional or not really? For students and teachers of literature today there is a complete range of critical projects, matters to read and write about-such as 'images of women in the early 20th century'--where you may deal with both equally literary and nonliterary performs. You can research Virginia Woolf's novels or perhaps Freud's circumstance histories or both, as well as the distinction doesn't seem methodologically crucial. It can not that texts will be somehow equal: some texts are taken up be more potent, more powerful, more exemplary, more contestatory, even more central, for some reason or another. Yet both fictional and non-literary works may be studied collectively and in identical ways. Literariness outside literary works Second, the distinction has not seemed central because performs of theory have discovered what is most simply named the 'literariness' of non-literary phenomena. Qualities often considered to be literary come to be crucial to non-literary discourses and practices as well. For instance, discussion posts of -17-
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the size of historical understanding have taken being a model what is involved in understanding a story. Characteristically, historians usually do not produce explanations that are just like the predictive explanations of science: they cannot demonstrate that when By and Con occur, Z . will necessarily happen. Them, rather, is always to show how one thing triggered another, how a First Globe Warcame in order to out, not really why completely to happen. The model to get historical explanation is hence the logic of stories: the way a story shows just how something arrived at happen, attaching the initial situation, the development, plus the outcome in a manner that makes sense. The model to get historical intelligibility, in short, is usually literary story. We whom hear and read testimonies are good at telling if the plot is sensible, hangs jointly, or whether the story continues to be unfinished. If the same models of the particular sense and what is important as a tale characterize both literary and historical narratives, then differentiating between them do not need to seem an urgent theoretical matter. In the same way, theorists have found insist on the value in non-literary texts--whether Freud's accounts of his psychoanalytic cases or works of philosophical argument--of rhetorical products such as metaphor, which have been thought crucial to literature but have typically been regarded as purely ornamental in other sorts of discourses. In showing how rhetorical statistics shape thought in other discourses as well, advocates demonstrate a powerful literariness at the office in allegedly non-literary text messages, thus complicating the difference between the literary and the nonliterary. But the reality I illustrate this situation by speaking of the discovery with the 'literariness' of non-literary phenomena indicates which the notion of literature is constantly on the play a role and desires to be dealt with. What sort of issue? We find yourself back in the key problem, 'What is definitely literature? ', which will certainly not go away. But you may be wondering what sort of problem is it? If a 5-year-old is usually asking, really easy. 'Literature', you answer, 'is tales, poems, and plays. ' But if the -18-
questioner can be described as literary theorist, it's harder to know how to take the issue. It might be a question about the typical nature of this object, literature, which you both already know very well. What sort of object or activity is it? Exactly what does it perform? What purposes does it serve? Thus comprehended, 'What is usually literature? ' asks not for a classification but for an analysis, even an argument regarding why a single...