Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory
by Peter Barry
2009 (3rd revised edition)
352 pages
Manchester University Press
ISBN: 0719079276
£8.69 on amazon.co.uk

I have read several introductory books into critical theory and contemporary philosophy; I would say that this book is by far the best.

It turns an otherwise impenetrable subject for the layman into an easy, pleasant read.

It provides a balance between theory and practise, thus explicating how theoretical frameworks are practically implemented.

It covers the following critical approaches:
-Liberal humanism;
-Post-structuralism and deconstruction;
-Psychoanalytic criticism;
-Feminist criticism;
-Lesbian/gay criticism;
-Marxist criticism;
-New historicism and cultural materialism;
-Postcolonial criticism;

All in all, an invaluable introduction into the thinking of the last decades, that you could subsequently use in your reading of 'narratives' or 'discourses' that suround us. I have found it especially helpful in thinking critically about films.

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