Poststructuralism: A Very Short Introduction

Poststructuralism changes the way we understand the relations between human beings their culture and the world Following a brief account of the historical relationship between structuralism and poststructuralism this Very Short Introduction traces the key arguments that have led poststructuralists to challenge traditional theories of language and culture While the author discusses such well known figures as Barthes Foucault Derrida and Lacan she also draws pertinent examples from literature art film and popular culture unfolding the poststructuralist account of what it means to be a human being br About the Series Combining authority with wit accessibility and style Very Short Introductions offer an introduction to some of life s most interesting topics Written by experts for the newcomer they demonstrate the finest contemporary thinking about the central problems and issues in hundreds of key topics from philosophy to Freud quantum theory to Islam br

Critical Practice

What is poststructuralist theory and what difference does it make to literary criticism Where do we find the meaning of the text in the author s head in the reader s Or do we instead em make em meaning in the practice of reading itself If so what part do our own values play in the process of interpretation And what is the role of the text Catherine Belsey considers these and other questions concerning the relations between human beings and language readers and texts writing and cultural politics Assuming no prior knowledge of poststructuralism em Critical Practice em guides the reader confidently through the maze of contemporary theory It simply and lucidly explains the views of key figures such as Louis Althusser Roland Barthes Jacques Lacan and Jacques Derrida and shows their theories at work in readings of familiar literary texts br em Critical Practice em argues that theory matters because it makes a difference to what we do when we read opening up new possibilities for literary and cultural analysis Poststructuralism in conjunction with psychoanalysis and deconstruction makes radical change to the way we read both a priority and a possibility br With a new chapter updated guidance on further reading and revisions throughout this second edition of em Critical Practice em is the ideal guide to the present and future of literary studies

The Feminist Reader: Essays In Gender And The Politics Of Literary Theory

This anthology provides a wide ranging survey of contemporary feminist critical theory and practice including readings from today s leading theorists It examines the implications of the patriarchal nature of the literary canon and the relative exclusion of women from literary history

Why Shakespeare?

In this exciting new introduction to Shakespeare Catherine Belsey takes traditional tales as a starting point to argue against the cultural materialists who claim Shakespeare s iconic status is no more than an accident of history Each chapter shows how one of Shakespeare s best known plays retells with a difference stories familiar both then and now Belsey goes on to put forward new readings teasing out the enigmas that constitute these texts and the interpretations they have inspired

A Future for Criticism

i A Future for Criticism i considers why fiction gives so much pleasure and the neglect of this issue in contemporary criticism br Offers a brief lively and accessible account of a new direction for critical practice from one of Britain s most prominent literary theorists and critics Proposes a new path for future criticism more open to reflecting on the pleasures of fiction Written in a clear jargon free style and illustrated throughout with numerous examples

The Subject of Tragedy: Identity and Difference in Renaissance Drama

The Subject of Tragedy takes the drama of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries as the starting point for the analysis of the differential identities of man and woman br br Arguing that fiction is not outside the meanings in circulation in a society but is one of the locations of these meanings Catherine Belsey charts in a range of fictional and non fictional texts the production in the Renaissance of a meaning for subjectivity which is identifiable modern The subject of liberal humanism self determining free origin of language choice and action is the product of a specific epoch Constructed at once in the theatre and on the stage of history modern man solitary aggressive and sexist brought with him woman the opposite but indispensable sex who defies him by her difference The two have subsequently been held in place in the family and the state by reiterated meanings of which they are an effect rather than an origin The liberal humanist subject was constructed in conflict and in contradiction with conflicting and contradictory consequences br br The Subject of Tragedy identifies the past as a site of change and as the ground in consequence of the politics of change

Desire: Love Stories in Western Culture

In the light of poststructuralist theory and with reference to the work of Lacan and Derrida in particular Catherine Belsey argues that fiction including poetry drama and film is paradoxically the most serious location of writing about desire in Western cultura Beginning with the celebration of true love in contemporary popular romance and the reluctant scepticism of postmodern novels she goes on to explore past representation of passion by Chretien de Troyes Malory Spenser Donne Keats Edgar Allan Poe Tennyson and Bram Stoker Belsey also discusses the role of desire in the utopian writings of Plato More and William Morris as well as its treatment by a range of speculative feminists from Charlotte perkins Gilman to Marge Piercy

Criticism: Ideas in Profile

b Ideas in Profile Small Introductions to Big Topics b br br At the heart of criticism lies one question What do you think of it Every time we comment on an artefact whether a poem a play a painting a novel or a piano concerto we are acting as critics making our own judgements and interpretations Among the most fundamental of human intellectual activities criticism offers a starting point for many of our journeys towards understanding br br Focusing particularly on stories plays and poems i Criticism i traces the central concepts and controversies in criticism from Plato to Derrida and from Romanticism to the death of the author In the process it reflects on criticism itself the possibilities and options that confront casual readers as well as reviewers members of reading groups students and teachers of English How far do we make conscious choices about how and what we read or view What do we conventionally look for in fiction And what might we look for if we went beyond the conventional br

Catherine Belsey in Conversation

What is literature after Theory What is the nature and purpose of literary and cultural criticism Is cultural studies the alternative to literary studies Are poststructuralism and feminism alive and well In an age of deconstruction and difference how valid is aesthetics as a paradigm for literary and cultural studies Does the category of Truth truth Reality reality or History history have a place in st century critical practice What is the role of pleasure in the profession of literary and cultural studies These are some of the questions addressed by Catherine Belsey in the interview with David Jonathan Bayot This discussion candid and provocative is a helpful introduction to the ideas of a most significant voice in literary and cultural criticism today

Romeo and Juliet: Language and Writing

Everyone knows the story of the star crossed lovers but close attention to the language of the play can deepen and darken the legend As icons of passion Romeo and Juliet reveal the recklessness as well as the idealism of desire in a violent world Catherine Belsey shows how you can tease out the play s subtle meanings and goes on to discuss key adaptations including the classic Baz Lurhmann film