Twentieth-Century Literary Theory

An Introductory Anthology

Edited by Vassilis Lambropoulos & David Neal Miller

Subjects: Literary Theory
Series: SUNY series, Intersections: Philosophy and Critical Theory
Paperback : 9780887062667, 544 pages, January 1987
Hardcover : 9780887062650, 544 pages, January 1987

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Table of contents


1. Theory

Orientation of Critical Theories
M. H. Abrams

Problems in the Study of Literature and Language
Jurij Tynjanov and Roman Jakobson

Structure, Sign, and Play in the Human Sciences
Jacques Derrida

2. Literature

Preliminary Problems
Yvor Winters

The Mode of Existence of the Literary Work
Rene Wellek

[Symbolic Action]
Kenneth Burke

3. Author

The Intentional Fallacy
W. K. Wimsatt Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley

Literature and Biography
Boris Tomashevsky

What Is an Author?
Michel Foucault

4. Tradition

Tradition and the Individual Talent
T. S. Eliot

On Literary Evolution
Jurij Tynjanov

The Dialectics of Poetic Tradition
Harold Bloom

5. Conventions

Philosophical Investigations, sec. 156-67, 197-203
Ludwig Wittgenstein

Raymond Williams

6. Style

Linguistics and Literary History
Leo Spitzer

The Heresy of Paraphrase
Cleanth Brooks

The Status of Style
Nelson Goodman

7. Narrative

Distance and Point-of-View: An Essay in Classification
Wayne C. Booth

Discourse Typology in Prose
Mixail Baxtin

Elements of a Narrative Grammar
A. J. Greimas

8. Interpretation

What Is a Text? Explanation and Understanding
Paul Ricoeur

Demonstration vs. Persuasion: Two Models of Critical Activity
Stanley Fish

Psychoanalysis and the Polis
Julia Kristeva

9. Reception

The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach
Wolfgang Iser

The Writer's Audience Is Always a Fiction
Walter J. Ong. , S. J.

Introduction (0. 1, 0. 2)
Umberto Eco

10. Evaluation

Taste and the Reproduction of Art
Benedetto Croce

Reasons and Judgments
Monroe C. Beardsley

Contingencies of Value
Barbara Herrnstein Smith

Appendix A: Supplemetary Readings
Appendix B: Chronology
Appendix C: Sources



The ten topics contained in Twentieth-Century Literary Theory reflect contemporary theoretical interests and guide the reader through fundamental questions, from the formation to the uses of theory, and from the construction to the interpretation of literature. The selected essays cover a wealth of scholarship from both the United States and Europe. They go beyond traditional categories by focusing on issues rather than writers or critical movements, thus providing a forum for the continuing discussion of what theory is and does.

Vassilis Lambropoulos is Assistant Professor of Modern Greek at The Ohio State University. David Neal Miller is Assistant Professor and Coordinator for Yiddish Studies at The Ohio State University.


"It's unquestionably the best anthology of literary theory currently available. It supersedes all its competitors: it's up to date, more inclusive than any previous collection, and contains ingenious and welcome surprises in the way of 'extra-literary' selections that enhance its value by intelligently broadening its scope. It should prove irresistible to anyone interested in modern literary theory. This anthology is au courant. " — Jack Davis