This third edition of Modern Criticism and Theory represents a major expansion on its previous incarnations with some twenty five new pieces or essays included. This expansion has two principal purposes. Firstly, in keeping with the collection’s aim to reflect contemporary preoccupations, the reader has expanded forward to include such newly emergent considerations as ecocriticism and post-theory.
Secondly, with the aim of presenting as broad an account of modern theory as possible, the reader expands backwards to to take in exemplary pieces by formative writers and thinkers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as Marx, Freud and Virginia Woolf.. This radical expansion of content is prefaced by a wide-ranging introduction, which provides a rationale for the collection and demonstrates how connections can be made between competing theories and critical schools.
The purpose of the collection remains that of introducing the reader to the guiding concepts of contemporary literary and cultural debate. It does so by presenting substantial extracts from seminal thinkers and surrounding them with the contextual materials necessary to a full understanding. Each selection has a headnote, which gives biographical details of the author and provides suggestions for further reading, and footnotes that help explain difficult references. The collection is ordered both historically and thematically and readers are encouraged to draw for themselves connections between essays and theories.
Modern Criticism and Theory has long been regarded as a necessary collection. Now revised for the twenty first century it goes further and provides students and the general reader with a wide-ranging survey of the complex landscape of modern theory and a critical assessment of the way we think – and live – in the world today.