Fall 1984 • Vol. VI No. 4 Book Reviews |

On Literary Theory

Literary Theory by Terry Eagleton. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1983. 217 pages. $29.50, cloth; $9.95, paper. Over the last two decades, literary theory has seen a considerable resurgence in the English-speaking world. After the dry academicism of the New Criticism and the increasingly hollow high seriousness of Leavis, Trilling, and their followers, there was a sudden burst of high-powered theorizing, the provenance of which was generally Paris, sometimes Germany, and only rarely England or America. Once again the continent seemed to demonstrate its critical superiority to the rather pedestrian practical criticism taught in British and American universities. Besides the new tendencies such as structuralism, poststructuralism, reader-response and speech-act theory, two older theoretical positions also enjoyed a revival — psychoanalysis and Marxism. This was particularly surprising since psychoanalytic practice and Marxist regimes were undergoing unprecedented

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