File spoon-archives/phillitcrit.archive/phillitcrit_2000/phillitcrit.0010, message 34

Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2000 18:57:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: PLC: RE: critical theory

On Tue, 24 Oct 2000, Michael Harrawood wrote:

> I wonder if anybody has a favorite they would like to recommend.

Have you taken a look at Hazard Adams's _Critical Theory Since Plato_?  It
has good distribution of readings, and the students need only buy one book
for one term.

As for favorites:
Kenneth Burke is usually on every syllabus I teach in critical theory,
particularly some of the salient essays in _Language as Symbolic Action_.

Howard has said accurately that too few Marxists figure in American
critical theory, and among them, I think Raymond Williams is
indispensable...something from _Keywords_, the chapter on "base and
superstructure" from _Marxism and Literature_, or maybe a chapter from
_The Country and the City_. 

Edward Said:  something from _The Text, the world, and the critic_.  He
has other texts which are more focused on individual exposition; depending
on the kind of course you are teaching, particularly to introductory
students, his study, _The Question of Palestine_ or _Covering Islam_ might
fill the bill.

Donna Haraway:  "Cyborgs"

Walter Benjamin:  "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction."
--central  C20 text.

Gaston Bachelard:  a chapter out of _The Poetics of Space_ (I think the
Adams anthology includes one).

R. P. Blackmur:  "The Enabling Act of Criticism."

Elaine Showalter:  selection from _A Literature of their Own_ or
Elizabeth Hardwick:  selection from _Seduction and Betrayal_

Eliseo Vivas:  "The Objective Correlative of T.S. Eliot" (one might link
this essay to Eliot's "Hamlet and His Problems")

...there are dozens of other good ones, but this is my Halloween list

Unsolicited advice:  mix together essays in critical theory with essays in
practical criticism where the students can see the critical principles at
work in the act of constructing a reading. 

Good luck.

David Langston

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