Fifty Key Literary Theorists
Richard J. Lane
This book emerges from a number of intense encounters, over nearly two decades, with what most academics now simply call ‘theory’, including my doctoral studies with Geoff Bennington, at The University of Sussex, which resulted in my D.Phil. thesis on Jacques Derrida (Functions of the Derrida Archive: Philosophical Receptions, 1997, published 2003); time spent at The British Library, London, researching my book on Jean Baudrillard for the Routledge Critical Thinkers Series, edited by Robert Eaglestone ( Jean Baudrillard, 2000); and my brief period directing the London Network Philosophy and Theory Research Seminar, that met (informally) at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London between 2000 and 2002. At the ICA meetings, two figures were explored most closely: Samuel Beckett and Walter Benjamin (Beckett and Philosophy, 2002 and Reading Walter Benjamin: Writing Through the Catastrophe, 2005). This slightly tangled web of interests and connections brought me to the position where I could say ‘yes’ to Routledge, when they suggested that I might like to tackle fifty key twentieth-century literary theorists. Of course, at that point the debates really began, concerning who the ‘fifty’ should actually be. Inevitably someone’s favourite and important theorist has been left out of this selection, but careful consideration was given to the overall range of critics and/or theorists included here. Some biographical information is given for each thinker, but the bulk of each entry deals with key concepts and ideas that have informed literary studies in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries
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