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Literary History


Aristotle. Poetics. Translated by Malcolm Heath. London and New York: Penguin, 1996. A friendly, accessible rendering that reads well.

Auerbach, Erich. Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature. Translated by Willard R. Trask. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1953. Analytical classic demonstrating how great works of literature stand in relation to their times.

Blake, N. F. An Introduction to the Language of Literature. New York: St. Martin's, 1990. Aims to define what sets "literature" apart.

The Cambridge History of Literary Criticism. 9 vols. Cambridge, U.K., and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1989–2001. Authoritative reference series.

Derrida, Jacques. Writing and Difference. Translated by Alan Bass. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978. Key text of deconstructionism.

Lodge, David, ed. Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. London and New York: Longman, 1988. Both this book and the one below contain useful introductions and selections of source material.

——. Twentieth Century Literary Criticism: A Reader. London and New York: Longman, 1972.

Norris, Christopher. The Truth about Postmodernism. Oxford and Cambridge, Mass.: Blackwell, 1993. A counteroffensive to the "heresies" of postmodern culture.

Saussure, Ferdinand de. Course in General Linguistics. Edited by Charles Bally and Albert Reidlinger. Translated by Wade Baskin. New York: Philosophical Library, 1959. Foundation stone of linguistics.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Linear expansivity to Macrocosm and microcosmLiterary History - The Religious Imperative, Enlightenment And Romanticism, From Masterpiece To Text, Guilt And Contrition, Contemporary Dilemma