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Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory

A Critical Guide

Edited by Julian Wolfreys

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Modern British and Irish Criticism and Theory offers the student and general reader a comprehensive, critically informed overview of the development of literary and cultural studies from the nineteenth century to the present day.

Beginning with Coleridge and Arnold, examining the contribution of cultural commentators and novelists, and considering the institutionalisation of literary criticism in the universities of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, the book addresses in detailed, accessible and rigorous essays the rise and significance of literary and cultural studies. Nearly thirty essays contribute to an understanding of the practice of literary studies presenting the reader with a perceptive series of critical interventions which, themselves, engage in the very locations from which criticism and theory have emerged.

A further reading list accompanies each chapter.

Key Features:
  • Breadth of coverage from Coleridge through Virginia Woolf to Raymond Williams and Terry Eagleton; and from the 'Cambridge School' to Post-structuralism and Postcolonial theory.
  • Focus on the history of modern criticism.
  • Accessibly written.
  • Theoretical debates are set in full historical, cultural and philosophical contexts.


1. Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Matthew Arnold, Ortwin de Graef
2. John Ruskin and Walter Pater: Aesthetics and the State, Jonathan Loesberg
3. Oscar Wilde: Aesthetics and Criticism, Megan Becker-Leckrone
4. The Cambridge School: Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, I. A. Richards and William Empson, Jeremy Tambling
5. James Joyce: Theories of Literature, Jean Michel Rabaté
6. Virginia Woolf: Aesthetics, Jane Goldman
7. T. S. Eliot, K. M. Newton
8. After the "Cambridge School": F. R. Leavis, Jeremy Tambling
9. J. L. Austin and Speech-Act Theory, William Flesch
10. Richard Hoggart, Raymond Williams and the Emergence of Cultural Studies, David Alderson
11. Raymond Williams, Andrew Milner
12. Stuart Hall, John Brannigan
13. Terry Eagleton, Moyra Haslett
14. Screen, Antony Easthope
15. Structuralism and the Structuralist Controversy, Niall Lucy
16. The Spread of Literary Theory in Britain, Peter Barry
17. Feminism and Poststructuralism, Ashley Tauchert
18. Cultural Studies, Ian Baucom
19. Cultural Materialism, John Brannigan
20. Postcolonial Studies, Gail Ching-Liang Low
21. Gay/Queer and Lesbian Studies, Criticism and Theory, John M. Clum
22. Ernesto Laclau, Chantal Mouffe, and Post-Marxism, Paul Bowman
23. Psychoanalysis in Literary and Cultural Studies, Leigh Wilson
24. Feminism, Materialism and the Debate on Postmodernism in British Universities, Gillian Howie
25. British Poststructuralism since 1968, Martin McQuillan
26. Developments in Literary Theory since 1995, Peter Barry

About the Author

Julian Wolfeys is Professor of English Literature at the University of Portsmouth, where he is also Director of the Centre for Studies in LIterature. He is author and editor of more than 40 books on nineteenth- and twentieth-century English literature and literary theory. Most recently he has published Dickens’s London and The Derrida Wordbook, both with Edinburgh University Press. He recently published his first novel, Silent Music.