literary and cultural theory

literary and cultural theory

the analytical study of literature and related works of art (e.g. plays, films, televised drama).

Two approaches to the study of literature can be distinguished:

  1. the analytical study of literature considered part of élite culture, e.g. in Britain, the school of critics associated with F. R. Leavis, which emphasized the importance of teaching and upholding the canon of English literature;
  2. later, more radical approaches, which emphasize links with social theory, including sociology, and seek to break down the distinction between élite and MASS CULTURE, while critically appraising both.

An exceptionally clear student guide to the considerable complexity of this second strand of literary and cultural theory, which draws inspiration especially from POST-STRUCTURALISM, is provided by A. Easthope and K. McGowan (1992). Compare CULTURAL STUDIES; see also POPULAR CULTURE.

Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
References in periodicals archive ?
of Colorado at Denver) provides students of literature, film, and cultural studies definitions of key theoretical terms and concepts in literary theory, along with descriptions of major movements and figures in literary and cultural theory and an annotated bibliography.
In fact, teacher training curricula should integrate literary and cultural theory with linguistics and thus bring together what continues to be mutually dependent, as Peter Schofer reminds us: "Ironically, although a considerable amount of recent literary theory owes its success to linguistics and to linguistic models, only rarely have the models been translated into new approaches for teaching literature" (6).
Taken as a whole (and with some traditional exceptions), the essays honorably represent the ongoing effort to bring Hispanic studies abreast of the most current trends in literary and cultural theory. I should also note that both the "Works Cited" and the "Index" cover all the essays - something of a rarity in essay collections and a welcome asset to busy scholars.