The Question of Literature: The Place of the Literary in Contemporary Theory

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Elizabeth Beaumont Bissell
Manchester University Press, 2002 - Literary Criticism - 236 pages
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The question of literature brings together essays by a number of distinguished theorists and academics on the changing cultural significance of literature as such. As literary theory has grown more influential, interdisciplinary and sophisticated, it has come to concern itself with a much greater range of issues and objects than those traditionally considered literary. Literary theory now addresses philosophy, history, psychology, politics, the media, and potentially every other aspect of our culture - but as a result the nature of its relation to literature itself has become less clear.

The question of literature seeks to recontextualise literature within the diversity of postmodern theory, showing how theory has changed our understanding of literature and its questions, and affirming the ways in which literature remains valuable and transformative for present day culture. It relates literature importantly to the institution of the university, but also to ethical judgements and values, new media and computer technology, and the nature of representative democracy. In the scope of its discussion The question of literature constitutes a major intervention in current literary-theoretical debates, and will be of great interest not only to academics and students in literary, social, and cultural studies but to anyone concerned with these debates or with the future of literature as such.

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Introduction Elizabeth Beaumont Bissell
difference as definition Charles Altieri
literature invention and performance Derek Attridge
Sartre Camus and the questions of literature David Carroll
Literary force institutional values Timothy Clark
The literary as activity in postmodernity Marianne DeKoven
The question concerning literature Thomas Docherty
Literature as regime meditations on an emergence John Frow
Fiction and the experience of the other Peggy Kamuf
towards a poetics of hypertext fiction Adrian Page
literature under construction Bruce Robbins
Literature repeat nothing Robert Smith

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About the author (2002)

Elizabeth Beaumont Bissell has researched modernist literature and literary theory at Exeter and Hertford Colleges, Oxford, and at Princeton University

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