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Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory 3rd Edition


Beginning theory has been helping students navigate through the thickets of literary and cultural theory for well over a decade now. This new and expanded third edition continues to offer students and readers the best one-volume introduction to the field. The bewildering variety of approaches, theorists and technical language is lucidly and expertly unravelled. Unlike many books which assume certain positions about the critics and the theories they represent, Peter Barry allows readers to develop their own ideas once first principles and concepts have been grasped. The book has been updated and includes two new chapters, one of which (Literary theory – a history in ten events) innovatively surveys the course of theory, while the other (Theory after ‘Theory’) maps the arrival of new ‘isms’ since the second edition appeared in 2002. Liberal humanism – Structuralism – Post-structuralism and deconstruction – Postmodernism – Psychoanalytic criticism – Feminist criticism – Lesbian/gay criticism – Marxist criticism – New historicism and cultural materialism – Postcolonial criticism – Stylistics – Narratology – Ecocriticism – Presentism/Transversal poetics/ New aestheticism/Historical formalism/Cognitive poetics.

About the Author

Peter Barry is Professor of English at the University of Aberystwyth



In this edition by two distinguished scholars, an introduction discusses the significance of this formative and brilliant play. Detailed commentary is provided on meanings of difficult words, lines, references, and the like. The edition is designed for classroom use in both schools and colleges as well as for the more general reader in search of the best of Renaissance drama.