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September 02, 2009

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Thank you for this excellent overview! I also like the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism which has short, encyclopedia-size entries on everyone you can think of. A bigger investment but well worth it if you're doing this sort of thing seriously or professionally. Fun!

Catherine, this is a wonderful overview of these books, thank you. As my second son is determined to read English (he's just embarking on A2s) I shall show him this post and see if he'd like to do any reading ahead of time. (Har har...)

Thanks Jenny - another useful volume.

Hello Alis - hope the list doesn't put your son off!

May I put in a word for Beginning Theory by Peter Barry? I find it remarkably clear and not at all dry. I'm a fan of Terry Eagleton myself, but the Barry is an excellent student guide or indeed introduction for the general reader who's interested in these things.

This is a great list! I only wish I'd come across it while in grad school (would have made the stumbling about in the midst of theory so much easier). Still, some good places to start on a refresher read through literary theory.

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