In this guide to cultural criticism, Arthur Asa Berger presents complex concepts in jargon-free language, making the book an ideal introductory text. It covers the key theorists, concepts, and subject areas, from literary, sociological and psychoanalytical theories of semiotics and Marxism. Berger brings cultural criticism to life by making these theories relevant to see students' lives. Illustrating his explanations with excerpts from classic works, Berger gives readers a sense of the style of important thinkers and helps place them in context. There is an extensive bibliography which will be an invaluable resource for those who wish to explore the topics in greater depth.
Chapter 2: Literary Theory and Cultural Criticism
Literary Theory and Cultural Criticism
In this chapter I deal with literary theory, which is one of the most important disciplines or areas of interest relative to cultural studies. My focus is on some of the more important concepts used by literary theorists—concepts that can be applied most immediately to literature but also to culture in general.
Literary theory is very important because it provides a basis for analyzing works. Though some literary theorists go to extremes (or sometimes have their ideas pushed to extremes), privileging the reader over the text and arguing that works of literature (and subliterature) do not exist until they are called into existence by readers and audiences, or suggesting that works are little more than collections of ...