Book Search:  

 

 
Google full text of our books:

bookjacket

Literature, Theory, and Common Sense
Antoine Compagnon
Translated by Carol Cosman

Hardcover | 2004 | $59.95 / £41.95 | ISBN: 9780691070421
232 pp. | 6 x 9 | SHOPPING CART

Reviews | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF] pdf-icon

Google full text of this book:
 

In the late twentieth century, the common sense approach to literature was deemed naïve. Roland Barthes proclaimed the death of the author, and Hillis Miller declared that all interpretation is theoretical. In many a literature department, graduate students spent far more time on Derrida and Foucault than on Shakespeare and Milton. Despite this, common sense approaches to literature--including the belief that literature represents reality and authorial intentions matter--have resisted theory with tenacity. As a result, argues Antoine Compagnon, theorists have gone to extremes, boxed themselves into paradoxes, and distanced others from their ideas. Eloquently assessing the accomplishments and failings of literary theory, Compagnon ultimately defends the methods and goals of a theoretical commitment tempered by the wisdom of common sense.

While it constitutes an engaging introduction to recent theoretical debates, the book is organized not by school of thought but around seven central questions: literariness, the author, the world, the reader, style, history, and value. What makes a work literature? Does fiction imitate reality? Is the reader present in the text? What constitutes style? Is the context in which a work is written important to its apprehension? Are literary values universal?

As he examines how theory has wrestled these themes, Compagnon establishes not a simple middle-ground but a state of productive tension between high theory and common sense. The result is a book that will be met with both controversy and sighs of relief.

Review:

"Like everything that Antoine Compagnon writes, [this book] is intelligent, oblique, ironic, surprising the reader with unexpected shifts and reversals. It may annoy both theorists and the advocates of common sense, but if they surrender to their annoyance, they will have missed the point."--Terence Cave, Times Literary Supplement

Endorsement:

"A strong and eloquent book that skillfully combines intellectual rigor and personal reflection. The debate between theory and common sense provides a kind of dramatic tension that makes for lively and pleasurable reading. In its balanced approach and in its breadth, this is one of the best books I know of for introducing students to literary theory."--Robert Morrissey, University of Chicago

Table of Contents

Series:

Subject Area:

Shopping Cart:

  • For hardcover/paperback orders:

    For hardcover/paperback orders in the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, and Australia

    Hardcover: $59.95 ISBN: 9780691070421

    For hardcover/paperback orders in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India, and Pakistan

    Hardcover: £41.95 ISBN: 9780691070421

    Add to shopping cart

    Prices subject to change without notice

    File created: 9/23/2014

Questions and comments to: webmaster@press.princeton.edu
Princeton University Press

New Book E-mails
New In Print
PUP Blog
Videos/Audios
Princeton APPS
Sample Chapters
Subjects
Series
Catalogs
Princeton Legacy Library
Textbooks
Media/Reviewers
Class Use
Rights/Permissions
Ordering
Recent Awards
Princeton Shorts
Freshman Reading
PUP Europe
About Us
Contact Us
Links
F.A.Q.
PUP Home


Bookmark and Share
Send me emails
about new books in:
Comparative Literature
More Choices
Email:
Country:
Name: