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Eagleton, Terry (1943–)

MICHAEL PAYNE


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

British critic, novelist, and playwright. Terry Eagleton is doubtless the most widely read Marxist critic now writing in English. He appears to have systematically and successfully defied the usual social and professional British class boundaries in a way that has contributed to his work. His many publications include a number of small pamphlet-size books – such as Criticism and Ideology (1976), Marxism and Literary Criticism (1976), The Function of Criticism (1984), and The Significance of Theory (1990) – which have all reached a wide audience. But he has also written several more detailed books for what is still a substantial readership. These include Walter Benjamin (1981), Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983), and Ideology of the Aesthetic (1990). In his inaugural lecture as Warton Professor, Eagleton (1993 , p. 19) repeated a note that he has sounded throughout all of his recent criticism: If … everything just goes on as it is, English studies can abandon an illusion that they have anything of significance to say to those outside the charmed circle of academia. And if this comes about, then it will represent a profound betrayal of their own finest traditions. For all the greatest moments of English criticism … have been points at which, in speaking of the literary work, criticism has found itself unavoidably speaking of more than it – found itself, indeed, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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