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John McLeod

Interrogating the text Writing about her experience of the study of English literature in India, Meenakshi Mukherjee has defended postcolonialism as an emancipatory concept on the grounds that ‘it makes us interrogate many aspects of the study of literature that we were made to take for granted, enabling us … to re-interpret some of the old canonical texts from Europe from the perspective of our specific historical and geographical location’ ( Interrogating Postcolonialism: Theory, Text and Context , eds Harish Trivedi and Meenakshi Mukherjee, Indian

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
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Series: Beginnings
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Terms used to describe artistic practices have different meanings from their common usage, but 'realism' as an aesthetic idea cannot be too far removed from the way we would talk about something 'real'. This book explores the artistry and aesthetics of realist literature, along with the assumptions of realist literature. It examines the different ways in which theorists, critics and philosophers conceptualise 'realism'. The book argues that a 'realist' sensibility is the ground on which other modes of literature often exist. It considers verisimilitude that is associated with the complexity of realism, describing the use of realism in two ways: capital 'R' and small 'r'. A set of realist novels is used to explore preliminary definition of realism. The STOP and THINK section lists some points to consider when thinking about realist works. The book looks at the characteristics of the Realist novel. It deals with the objections raised in discussions of Realism, from the Realist period and twentieth- and twenty-first century criticisms. The book provides information on the novel genre, language that characterises Realism, and selection of novel material. It looks at crucial elements such as stage design, and a technical feature often overlooked, the aside, something which seems non-realistic, and which might offer another view on Realism. The book talks about some writers who straddled both periods from the 1880s and 1890s onwards, until the 1920s/1930s, gradually moved away from Realism to modernism. Literary realism, and Aristotle's and Plato's works in relation to realism are also discussed.

John McLeod

Introduction The purpose of this chapter is to approach a flexible but solid definition of the word ‘postcolonialism’. In order to think about the range and variety of the term, we need to place it in two primary contexts. The first regards the historical experiences of decolonisation that have occurred chiefly in the twentieth century. The second concerns relevant intellectual developments in the latter part of the twentieth century, especially the shift from the study of ‘Commonwealth literature’ to ‘postcolonialism’. After looking at each, we will be in a

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
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Peter Barry

, religion, law, and so on. The essential Marxist view is that the latter things are not ‘innocent’, but are ‘determined’ (or shaped) by the nature of the economic base. This belief about culture, known as economic determinism , is a central part of traditional Marxist thinking. Marxist literary criticism: general Marx and Engels themselves did not put forward any comprehensive theory of literature. Their views seem relaxed and undogmatic: good art always has a degree of freedom from prevailing economic circumstances, even if these economic facts are its ‘ultimate

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Peter Barry

relevant essays (though it does not use the term ‘postcolonialism’) is ‘Race’, Writing and Difference (1986), reprinted from two issues of the journal Critical Inquiry and edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr, one of the best-known American figures in this field. One significant effect of postcolonial criticism is to further undermine the universalist claims once made on behalf of literature by liberal humanist critics. If we claim that great literature has a timeless and universal significance we thereby demote or disregard cultural, social, regional, and national

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Peter Barry

, of course, and students had to be Anglican communicants and attend the college chapel. The teachers were ordained ministers, who had to be unmarried, so that they could live in the college. The subjects available were the classics (ancient Greek and Latin literature), divinity (which was taken by those seeking ordination) and mathematics. Anyone who was Catholic, Jewish, Methodist, or atheist was barred from entry, and hence, in effect, barred from the professions and the Civil Service. As far as higher education was concerned, then, you could say that right up to

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
John McLeod

other? New maps (f)or old? The limits of geography William Walsh divided his 1973 book Commonwealth Literature into six chapters, each dealing with a separate area: India, Africa, the West Indies, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. According to some, postcolonial studies today apparently has moved beyond this selective mapping – very much an ‘area studies’ model of the field’s remit – and has rejected many of the critical assumptions with which critics of Commonwealth literature worked, creating instead a wide-ranging critical vocabulary of its own which draws

in Beginning postcolonialism (second edition)
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Peter Barry

landmark ‘Sexual Dissidence’ MA course. A special issue of the journal Textual Practice (Vol. 30, No. 6, 2016) was devoted to Sinfield's work. Both the Centre and the MA are now (2017) strongly multidisciplinary, crossing into media studies, cultural studies, and sociology, as is the whole field of queer studies. Also in 1990, Greg Woods was appointed lecturer at Nottingham Trent University, teaching courses that included ‘Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Cultures’, ‘Post-War Gay Literature’, and ‘Queering the Modern’. In 1998 he became Professor of Contemporary Lesbian

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
Peter Barry

Introduction Psychoanalytic criticism is a form of literary criticism which uses some of the techniques of psychoanalysis in the interpretation of literature. Psychoanalysis itself is a form of therapy which aims to cure mental disorders ‘by investigating the interaction of conscious and unconscious elements in the mind’ (as the Concise Oxford Dictionary puts it). The classic method of doing this is to get the patient to talk freely, in such a way that the repressed fears and conflicts which are causing the problems are brought into the conscious mind and

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)
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Peter Barry

Ecocriticism or green studies? ‘Simply defined, ecocriticism is the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment’ (Cheryll Glotfelty). But should we call it ‘ecocriticism’ or ‘green studies’? Both terms are used to denote a critical approach which began in the USA in the late 1980s, and in the UK in the early 1990s, and it is worth briefly setting out its institutional history to date. In the USA the acknowledged founder is Cheryll Glotfelty, co-editor with Harold Fromm of a key collection of helpful and definitive essays entitled

in Beginning theory (fourth edition)