‘Contemporary Literature’ is among the most popular areas of literary study but it can be a difficult one to define. This book equips readers with the necessary tools to take an analytical and systematic approach to contemporary texts. The author provides answers to some of the critical questions in the field: What makes a literary text contemporary? Is it possible to have a canon of contemporary literature? How does a reader’s location affect their understanding? How do print, electronic, and audio-visual media impact upon contemporary literature? Which key concepts and themes are most prevalent?
How do we read stories? How do they engage our minds and create meaning? Are they a mental construct, a linguistic one or a cultural one? What is the difference between real stories and fictional ones? This book addresses such questions by describing the conceptual and linguistic underpinnings of narrative interpretation. Barbara Dancygier discusses literary texts as linguistic artifacts, describing the processes which drive the emergence of literary meaning. If a text means something to someone, she argues, there have to be linguistic phenomena that make it possible.
Since the 1980s, Roger D. Sell’s literary criticism has striven to take account of the (often conflicting) approaches available without compromising the human importance of the literary work: either in terms of its creation or its reception. Sell’s theory of literature draws strength from the interface between literary studies and linguistics and is grounded on the argument that literary making is a primary communicational act between human beings. Other critics have found Sell’s work inspirational.
Insofar as literary theory has addressed the issue of literature as a means of communication and the function of literary fiction, opinions have been sharply divided, indicating that the elementary foundations of literary theory and criticism still need clarifying. Many of the "classical" problems that literary theory has been grappling with from Aristotle to our time are still waiting for a satisfactory solution.
How is it that some texts achieve the status of literature? Partly, at least, because the relationship they allow between their writers and the people who respond to them is fundamentally egalitarian. This is the insight explored by members of the Åbo literary communication network, who in this new book develop fresh approaches to literary works of widely varied provenance. The authors examined have written in Ancient Greek, Táng Dynasty Chinese, Middle, Modern and Contemporary English, German, Romanian, Polish, Russian and Hebrew.
Often derided as an inferior form of literature, 'romance' as a literary mode or genre defies satisfactory definition, dividing critics, scholars and readers alike. This useful guidebook traces the myriad transformations of 'romance' from medieval courtly love to Mills and Boon, and claims that its elusive and complex nature serves as a touchstone for larger questions of literary and cultural theory.
Focusing on the intersection of literature and politics since the beginning of the 20th century, this book examines authors, historical figures, major literary and political works, national literatures, and literary movements to reveal the intrinsic links between literature and history.