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Mary Klages. Illustrations by Frank Reynoso

Forword by Bill Brown


Have you heard the terms structuralism
and deconstruction and postmodernism
but aren’t really sure what they mean?
Have you taken a whole course on literary
criticism but are still feeling lost? Here’s the
book you need to sort it all out—and enjoy
doing so!
In Literary Theory For Beginners, Professor
Mary Klages takes you into her classroom,
cuts through the jargon, explains the ABCs
(and the DEFs as well) in terms you can get
your head around. Her wit, her unique skills
as a teacher, and the delightful illustrations
of Frank Reynoso help us understand why
literature matters, how it affects us, and
how it reflects history, culture, and diversity.
Here are ways of thinking about literature,
not just reading it—methods of study and
frameworks of interpretation from classical
humanism all the way up to psychoanalysis,
gender and queer theory, race,
postcolonialism, and, yes, postmodernism
So sit back, relax, and learn!
“Told with an impressive wealth of
knowledge, pedagogical skill, and wit, this
story about literary theory is as enjoyable as
it is informative. Mary Klages has a gift for
explaining difficult concepts with accessible
examples from everyday life. The result is a
book that is not only eminently readable but
also great fun to think with.”
—Rey Chow, Duke University

Literary Theory For Beginners

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