Terry Eagleton and Literature Theory

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Terry Eagleton and Literature Theory

Doing a polemical study of contemporary literary theory, Eagleton introduces us in this world explaining what is actually fiction. a. Imaginative writing One definition is that literature is imaginative writing, based on its fictionality and do not engage in the literal truth. However, Eagleton rejects this theory, since the literature also includes nonfiction genres such as essay and autobiography.

Distinguishing between fiction and fact, or truth and fantasy is considered too controversial to us led to a satisfactory demarcation. b. The particular use of language According to this definition, literature is a particular use of language, which changes the ordinary language and makes it stronger.

Fiction has its laws, structures and procedures that should be studied and not a means for transmitting ideas, nor a reflection of social reality. As such it was studying the Russian formalists, who analyzed the content rather than form, as the sum of the measures that the combined effect of deautomatization. But even this theory is not good since it is required for normal deautomatization linguistic background and understanding of a work as literature depends on the context.

c. Unpragmatical form of discourse Literary is what no practical function, does not serve any purpose. Fiction becomes autoreferential language because it refers to itself and is not an essential truth of what it says, but the way it is spoken. This definition is therefore not objective because it depends on how we read. It is also the practical problem of understanding the history and unpragmaticality is inherent in the species which are not literature. d. Good or treasured writing To any literary work should fall into the category of beauty as well as universally accepted and esteemed spellings.

The problem is that the penmanship is unclear, vague and biased concept. definition of beauty changes over different societies and historical periods. Therefore there is no literary work that would be valuable in itself because the value of temporary fix. Eagleton concludes that literature can never be objective because it is based on values that are rooted deep within us. It is more than what people understand by this term, is closely related to the social ideology and implies a political stance. 1st The development of English as an academic subject

In eighteenth century England is a literary term embracing all forms of writing valued by society and each work is evaluated with respect to the standards (the ideological scale). So many works of literature today, have remained outside these categories, and vice versa (I still doubt whether the novel to enter into this category). England then came out of the war and restoring social order gets a new literature of importance – including a number of ideological institutions whose purpose is the spread of refinement of conduct for the assimilation of the middle class.

Today’s notion of literature was found in the romantic period (19th century). It began by the limited literature on the imaginative writing. Embodiment of creativity, including poetry and literature becomes. During this period comes to the rise of modern aesthetics that inherit the concepts of symbols, aesthetic experience and aesthetic harmony and the unique nature of the artifact. It appears that the opinion of creative writing in itself, that his sense of uselessness.

In the 19th century comes to an ideological crisis, faith lost their role and replaces the English language and literature as a form of ideology that affects the feelings and experiences, and operates at all social levels, and its the truth, resist rational explanation and therefore absolute. The main figure of this period was Matthew Arnold who saw the need to cultivate a lower middle class, finding that her fiction transmit moral values and awaken national pride. English as a subject was introduced first at technical institutes and universities working and considered the case for men and women of lower class.

It is not considered particularly demanding with respect to dealing with sophisticated emotions. Eventually she began to have more masculine characteristics and served for the awakening of national identity (suitable for his victory over Germany in the 1st World War). Fighters for the English were not peer-amateurs who worked the first chair at Oxford and Camebridge, but they came from the social class of merchants and craftsmen. The most significant was F. R. Leavis. His followers opposed to the old ideology and emphasized the importance of critical analysis and rigorous attention to reading.

1932nd Scrutiny launched a magazine, which is characterized by belief in the importance of the moral dimensions of the pivotal role of the English language and literature throughout the life of English society, and have thereby created a movement that the English turned into a serious discipline. Favored the elitism, which is pretty pointless and unjustified, because not all who are not well acquainted with literature call on Les Miserables and wildlife. Being a student of English in Camebridge late 20’s and 30’s meant to lead the most important and meaningful life.

Leavses followers believed in the fundamental Englishness of English language, which is moving the emphasis of the class within the culture and turned into folklore. American New Criticism blooms from 30’s to 50’s and includes the works of Eliot, Richards, and Leavis Empson. According to them, poetry is one possible solution loss of sensory richness, and the intentions of the author is not relevant for the interpretation of the text. Empson recognizes that the meaning of the text undetectable and can not be reduced to the final interpretation. 2nd Phenomenology, hermeneutics, reception theory.

Husserl to his philosophical method gives the name of phenomenology, which is the science of phenomena, which examines the subject until you get to it to be unchangeable. Phenomenological reduction to exclude everything that is not an inherent awareness because we can not be sure of the existence of things independent of us. Puts man at the center and at the start (it is important to me I experience things). Phenomenology is influenced by the Russian formalists. As Husserl puts in parentheses real thing, so poetry is really off the subject and focuses on the way to his observations.

The biggest impact was on the phenomenology of the Geneva school that seeks to reading that does not affect anything outside the text itself. Phenomenology of passively accepting the text as a mere copy of its essence. That type of criticism is idealistic and organicisticly. Language of literary works is only the expression of its inner meaning. Therefore, his work is often called existentialist. He is human being, that being in the world – people are just because we are connected to others and the material world.

Human knowledge is based and moves within preontological understanding of the battle – preunderstanding (before you start to think, but we have collected a number of assumptions in practice). Language is a dimension in which human life takes place, and art is estrangement. Literary interpretation is what we have to allow that to happen, we must stand to open the text – that he tested us. Hirsch said that there may be several different valid interpretations, but all must move within the typical expectations and probabilities. Work a writer gives meaning, purpose and readers.

Meaning precedes language, it is fixed and the thing is awareness, not words, belongs to the sole author. For Gadamer the meaning of a literary work does not exhaust the intentions of the author and it is not fixed and unchangeable, but socially conditioned. In writing it is impossible to fathom, because each interpretation works from the past is the dialogue of past and present, in which the work get the meaning which the author did not count. Hermeneutics argues that literary works form an organic whole and sees history as a dialogue of the past, present and future.

The theory of reception is the newest form of hermeneutics that was developed in Germany. It examines the role of the reader to the literature, which is new (so far is the history of modern literary theory was concerned with the author and text). Ingarden says that the work exists only when a number of schemes or general guidelines that the reader has to make concrete. The reader brings to the work of the a priori way of understanding, beliefs and expectations of the context within which assesses the various features of the work, which can be changed by entering new information.

Iser, a member of the school reception aesthetics, says that the need for reading knowledge of literary techniques and conventions to which the work speak, understand the code works. The most effective is the work that the reader be a new critical awareness of the established codes. Reading strategies we change the text and the text changes us. The point of reading is the awakening consciousness of readers about yourself and critical vision of his own personality. Anyone who has a strong ideological commitment, there will be a good reader, because it will not be open transformative impact of the work.

Contrasting Isere, Barthes modern text seeks the destruction of the repressive system of thought – Modern text undermine the reader’s cultural identity. Sartre says that every literary text is built on understanding the potential audience, or a certain kind of reader is already included in the act of writing. Fish accepts the assumption that there is an objective work of fiction, but that is a real writer, the reader works is the sum of all past and future thinking. Reading is not revealing the meaning, but knowledge of how the text works on us.

Eagleton says that meaning is not set, but that the reader has an active role in discovering meaning. There is no purely literary response to the work, all reactions are deeply embedded in the reader as a historical and social being. 3rd Structuralism and semiotics Frye believes that literature operates according to certain objective laws that critics should be formulated in order to become more systematic. He distinguishes four categories of narrative – comical, romantic, tragic and ironic. tragedy and comedy is divided into highly mimetic, lower mimetic the ironic mode.

Removes the value judgments (because they are subjective) and context (as a literary work made up of other literary works), According to Fry the literature deals with the reorganization of the only relationship within himself (and does not apply to the outside world), and should not be regarded as a product of individual writers (she comes from a collective entity). Frye was called structuralist in a broader sense, because it occurred at a time when developing a classic European structuralism. Structuralists are concerned with structures and examination of the laws of their action.

They believe that certain elements of any system have meaning only in its relation to other elements of the system ignores the actual content of the story and focuses exclusively on the form. In connection with the structuralist method are 3 more important things -Not measured, but analysis -Rejects the obvious meaning and seeks to extract deep structure -Content of the narrative is also its structure, the narrative is a story about herself De Saussure believes that language is a system of signs that should be studied synchronically (as a system within a certain period of time).

Each character is composed of signifier and signified, whose connections are arbitrary. Interpreting the functional diversity that is the result of a character from other characters. De Saussure says that the objective should be to study the structure of characters – the language (langue), rather than actual speech (parole). His opinion on the language was also influenced by the Russian formalists in terms of observing the structure of literary texts. According to Jakobson, each communication includes 6 elements – the sender, recipient, message, code, media and context.

It also elaborates De Saussures unlike metaphors (the sign is replaced with other characters) and metonymy (the sign associated with the second character). General structuralism is an attempt to apply this theory to linguistic objects and activities outside the immediate area of language. Prague linguistic school of transition from formalism to structuralism, which is more or less merged with the word semiotics. Semiotics is a systematic study of signs and coincides with the structuralism. Its creator is Pierce.

He distinguishes three types of signs-icons (a character that resembles what is), index (symbol associated with that which is on the sign) and symbols (a symbol is arbitrarily associated with its references). Lotman, a leading Soviet semiotics, looks at the text as a layered system whose meaning exists only within the context and meaning that manages a number of similarities and contradictions. Literary texts are drawn from a series of (lexical, metric, graphic, phonological … ) and their beauty comes from their constant collisions and tensions.

Literary work is the creation of violations and expectations, and its meaning depends on the reader’s horizon of expectations. Structuralism is a revolution in the study of narrative prose created a new literary science – narratology. Narratology begins with Levi-Strauss’ analysis of myth as a series of variations on a few basic themes. I’m a myth is a kind of language that can be broken down into smaller units (mitem), which receive their meaning only by combining the true meaning of the rules which constitute the foundations of this combination. Narratology extend this model to other types of storytelling.

Propp as all fairy tales down in 7 areas of activity and 31 permanent element or function, and each tale is a combination of these areas of activity. Gremais abstracts Propps actant scheme by introducing the notion that the structural unit. They were 6-subject, object, sender, receiver, helper and opponent Genett in different narrative processing (sequence of events in the text), the story (the actual sequence of events) and narrative (the very act of storytelling). He distinguishes five central categories of narrative analysis – red, duration, frequency, manner and voice.

Structuralism has pointed to the fact that the literary work of a construct like any other product knowledge, and that the mechanisms of language can be analyzed and classified as in other sciences. What we put into the meaning of words depends on the linguistic community in which we live. The traditional criticism of the work amounted to a window in the writer’s soul, and structuralism, it has turned into a window to the universal consciousness. It is an ideal reader for structuralists is the one that has all the codes needed to fully understand the work.

The shift from structuralism made Benveniste, a shift from language to discourse, because discourse includes those who speak and those who write. Bahtin, one of the leading critics of De Saussure, draws attention to the language of abstract systems to concretely express the individual in a particular social context that it changes shape and meaning. Language is a process of dialogue in it, we can only conceive of it as something necessarily addressed to others. Austin believes that the language does not serve merely to describe reality, but it is sometimes performativ, that is directed to carry out actions.

4. Poststrukturalizam Poststructuralism separates signifier and signified. The sign must not have present meaning, nor has it ever clean is a complete meaning. The meaning is never identical to itself because the characters must be repeatable. It must be reproducible, because it can always play in a different context that it changes the meaning. Thus the written text can be used as the author had intended Derrida every system of thought which depends on the impregnable called metaphysical, and thinks that metaphysics is deeply embedded in us that can not be destroyed without re-renewals – Deconstruction.

The system operates on the principle of binary oppositions. Deconstruction demonstrates how these contrary undermine each other in the process of textual meanings. Derrida attempts to show how literary discourse point of dissemination (overflow and spray intended) obvious. Barthes goes from structuralism to poststructuralism. His theme is language and character as a historical and social understanding. Healthy sign for him is one that when the communication of meaning draws attention to their arbitrariness, as opposed to natural character.

For Barthes the most interesting texts for criticism are those who can read, but those who lead us in writing, to transfer to other discourses. All literary texts are woven out of other literary texts – all literature is intertextual. In literature his language, not the author. The transition to post-structuralism represents a shift from the concept works as a closed unit with a specific meaning to the notion that this is the endless play of signifiers which can never attach to the end of the crux. The works of applied 4 codes -narrative, hermeneutical, in culture, semical and symbolic.

For post-structuralism has no clear boundaries between criticism and creation – both ways are set out in writing as such. 5th Psychoanalysis According to Freud, human history is managed needs to work, which forces us to suppress the desire for pleasure and satisfaction. People are forced to suppress the principle of pleasure by applying the principles of reality, or comes to mental disorders (neuroses). This leads to the paradox – we become what we are yet strong suppression elements that are so made.

Freud in the process of growing three different stages – oral (associated with the desire of entering items in the body), anal (anus erogenous zone, pleasure in eliminating waste) and Phallically (a child’s libido is focused on the genitals). The mechanism that shapes the child in the person’s edip complex. Earliest relationship of mother and child becomes the triad, where same-sex parent in your child’s eyes become rivals in the battle for the love of the parents of the same sex. A boy from a desire for her mother discourages fathers threat of castration, and the girl, Freud did not present a reason to discourage her father.

Overcoming the Oedipus complex, the child becomes the subject of gender and desire for the parent pushes the unconscious, the area of the desire for pleasure. The symbolic fulfillment of the dreams of our desires (in which the desire to transform the symbols, where the meaning of condensing and dislocating), voice omissions, failures in memory, errors in reading, displacement case. The essence of healing by Freud in the transfer, ascription to their own wishes and feelings of others. Freud’s theory of space divergence and attacks because many of the problematic.

For example, a complaint that psychoanalysis forces the individual to the submission to an arbitrary definition of normal, that Freud is pansexual. … Lacan psychoanalytic theorist who reinterpreted Freud in the light of structuralism and poststructuralism. A child in the earliest period, the imaginary phase, can not differentiate yourself from the outside world, subject from object. The next phase is a mirror and it starts the process of building its own center of being. Father in Lacan is the law, primarily the prohibition of incest.

The child must understand that identity is formed as a result of diversity. accepting it, switches to the symbolic order, given the structure of social and gender roles and relations. The subject at the end of this process is split between the conscious and unconscious. Lacan believes that the unconscious is structured like language, it is just a constant movement and action of signifiers which are often marked with mysterious to us because they are repressed. For Lacan’s entire speech language blunders, we can never want to say exactly what we say and never say exactly what we want to say.

Althusser asks how to be human subjects comply with the ruling ideology of society in which they live. This is because in the eyes of society the individual is not impersonal structure, but the entity that addresses him, he admits it and makes it clear that he appreciates and thus makes it free. Holland approached literary work as something that the reader gains a mutual fantasy game and knowing the defense of these fantasies. Bloom preformulated history of literature in light of the Oedipus complex. Kristeva opposes semiotic symbolic order.

Political criticism The history of modern literary theory, Eagleton was the only part of the political and ideological history, which is closely linked. There is pure theory. No literature irrespective of the manner in which it is treated within specific forms of social and institutional life. Literary criticism should not be criticized because it is politicized, but because it is disguised or not such, and we under the guise of the universal sale doctrine, which serve the interests of consolidating certain groups of people in a particular historical moment.

Literary theory has no unity or identity. The illusion is that it will be different from other sciences if you focus on one subject. Eagleton says that literature was understood as meaning that filling an entire area of operations, which Foucault calls discursive practices, and that all that area should become a subject of critical research. The oldest form of literary criticism is rhetoric, which is examining the way in which language is made to achieve a certain effect on the reader. The rhetoric was a creative and critical activity, including rhetorical art and science of it.

Eagleton returned to literary criticism on the abandoned tracks, rhetoric, because it deals with a wide range of discursive practices in society, a special interest paid to the interpretation of such practices as forms of power and skill performance. The existence non political performance is an illusion, which contributes even more effective use of literature for political purposes. All forms of discourse and semantic character of practices produce certain effects, influence the shaping of our conscious and unconscious thinking and is closely associated with supporting or changing the existing power system.


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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 5 September 2016

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