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Transcript of Literary Theories
Birth of Modern Theory
Gender and Sexuality Studies
Critical Race Theory
Textual theories are interested in the nature of text. These theories are heavily indebted to linguistics, and are usually interested in either the largest or smallest possible scope - entire genres, or single sentences, words, or even letters.
Materialist theories posit that texts and authors are subject to or even products of their social and economic conditions. These theories might investigate how texts either reject or endorse their underlying ideologies.
Psychological theories argue that literary texts, like dreams, express unconscious desires and fears. Thus, analyzing a literary text according these theories might expose paradoxical revelations or help explain seemingly unusual phenomena.
Identity theories insist that the personal and the political are not separate, but inextricable. These theories often base themselves on a combination of other theoretical frameworks, but take as their interest and object texts and identities that typically fall outside of the norm.
What is Literary Theory?
Basically,literary theory is a name we use to indicate an array of different approaches to look at literary texts.
Using different theories is a lot like using different lenses on a camera. Some lenses might give you greater detail, others a better overview.
Other lenses might show you things that are normally invisible - like
x-rays or night vision.
Where does it come from?
Basically, from universities. Although people have been reading, evaluating, and critiquing literature for millennia, the approaches we think of as literary theory are mostly invented in the last century.
Many of the approaches are highly specialized, complex, and often difficult to access
If it's so hard, why bother?
Because literary theory allows you to look at texts - and in some cases, even society or the world at large - in a completely different way.
Literary theory challenges the ways we are used to approaching texts. Learning about it can be an eye-opener, like Rowdy Roddy Piper's sunglasses in the sci-fi classic "They Live" (1988)