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Voltaire A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nicholas Cronk
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199688354
Size: 55.93 MB
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Voltaire (1694-1778), best remembered as the author of Candide, is one of the central actors -- arguably the defining personality -- of the European Enlightenment. In this Very Short Introduction, Nicholas Cronk explores Voltaire's remarkable career and demonstrates how his thinking is pivotal to our notion and understanding of the Enlightenment. In a fresh and modern examination of his writings, Cronk examines the nature of Voltaire's literary celebrity, demonstrating the extent to which his work was reactive and practical, and therefore made sense within the broader context of the debates to which he responded. The most famous living author in Europe in the 18th century, Cronk emphasizes Voltaire's skills of "performance" as a writer and his continued relevance today. He concludes by looking not only at Voltaire's impact in literature and philosophy, but also his influence on French political values and modern French politics. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Comparative Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author: Ben Hutchinson
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0192533983
Size: 77.28 MB
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Comparative Literature is both the past and the future of literary studies. Its history is intimately linked to the political upheavals of modernity: from colonial empire-building in the nineteenth century, via the Jewish diaspora of the twentieth century, to the postcolonial culture wars of the twenty-first century, attempts at 'comparison' have defined the international agenda of literature. But what is comparative literature? Ambitious readers looking to stretch themselves are usually intrigued by the concept, but uncertain of its implications. And rightly so, in many ways: even the professionals cannot agree on a single term, calling it comparative in English, compared in French, and comparing in German. The very term itself, when approached comparatively, opens up a Pandora's box of cultural differences. Yet this, in a nutshell, is the whole point of comparative literature. To look at literature comparatively is to realize just how much can be learned by looking over the horizon of one's own culture; it is to discover not only more about other literatures, but also about one's own; and it is to participate in the great utopian dream of understanding the way nations and languages interact. In an age that is paradoxically defined by migration and border crossing on the one hand, and by a retreat into monolingualism and monoculturalism on the other, the cross-cultural agenda of comparative literature has become increasingly central to the future of the Humanities. We are all, in fact, comparatists, constantly making connections across languages, cultures, and genres as we read. The question is whether we realise it. This Very Short Introduction tells the story of Comparative Literature as an agent of international relations, from the point of view both of scholarship and of cultural history more generally. Outlining the complex history and competing theories of comparative literature, Ben Hutchinson offers an accessible means of entry into a notoriously slippery subject, and shows how comparative literature can be like a Rorschach test, where people see in it what they want to see. Ultimately, Hutchinson places comparative literature at the very heart of literary criticism, for as George Steiner once noted, 'to read is to compare'. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

German Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author: Nicholas Boyle
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191578630
Size: 52.11 MB
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German writers, from Luther and Goethe to Heine, Brecht, and Günter Grass, have had a profound influence on the modern world. This Very Short Introduction presents an engrossing tour of the course of German literature from the late Middle Ages to the present, focussing especially on the last 250 years. Emphasizing the economic and religious context of many masterpieces of German literature, it highlights how they can be interpreted as responses to social and political changes within an often violent and tragic history. The result is a new and clear perspective which illuminates the power of German literature and the German intellectual tradition, and its impact on the wider cultural world. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Fairy Tale A Very Short Introduction

Author: Marina Warner
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0191060186
Size: 21.22 MB
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From wicked queens, beautiful princesses, elves, monsters, and goblins, to giants, glass slippers, poisoned apples, magic keys, and mirrors, the characters and images of fairy tales have cast a spell over readers and audiences, both adults and children, for centuries. These fantastic stories have travelled across cultural borders, and been passed on from generation to generation, ever-changing, renewed with each re-telling. Few forms of literature have greater power to enchant us and rekindle our imagination than a fairy tale. But what is a fairy tale? Where do they come from and what do they mean? What do they try and communicate to us about morality, sexuality, and society? The range of fairy tales stretches across great distances and time; their history is entangled with folklore and myth, and their inspiration draws on ideas about nature and the supernatural, imagination and fantasy, psychoanalysis, and feminism. In this Very Short Introduction, Marina Warner digs into a rich hoard of fairy tales in all their brilliant and fantastical variations, in order to define a genre and evaluate a literary form that keeps shifting through time and history. Drawing on a glittering array of examples, from classics such as Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, and The Sleeping Beauty, the Grimm Brothers' Hansel and Gretel, and Hans Andersen's The Little Mermaid, to modern-day realizations including Walt Disney's Snow White, Warner forms a persuasive case for fairy tale as a crucial repository of human understanding and culture. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

English Literature A Very Short Introduction

Author: Jonathan Bate
Publisher: OUP Oxford
ISBN: 0191614297
Size: 37.33 MB
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Sweeping across two millennia and every literary genre, acclaimed scholar and biographer Jonathan Bate provides a dazzling introduction to English Literature. The focus is wide, shifting from the birth of the novel and the brilliance of English comedy to the deep Englishness of landscape poetry and the ethnic diversity of Britain's Nobel literature laureates. It goes on to provide a more in-depth analysis, with close readings from an extraordinary scene in King Lear to a war poem by Carol Ann Duffy, and a series of striking examples of how literary texts change as they are transmitted from writer to reader. The narrative embraces not only the major literary movements such as Romanticism and Modernism, together with the most influential authors including Chaucer, Donne, Johnson, Wordsworth, Austen, Dickens and Woolf, but also little-known stories such as the identity of the first English woman poet to be honoured with a collected edition of her works. Written with the flair and passion for which Jonathan Bate has become renowned, this book is the perfect Very Short Introduction for all readers and students of the incomparable literary heritage of these islands. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Medieval Literature

Author: Elaine Treharne
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199668493
Size: 27.12 MB
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This Very Short Introduction provides a compelling account of the emergence of the earliest literature in Britain and Ireland, including English, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Anglo-Latin and Anglo-Norman. Introducing the reader to some of the greatest poetry, prose and drama ever written, Elaine Treharne discusses the historical and intellectual background to these works, and considers the physical production of the manuscripts and the earliest beginnings of print culture. Covering both well-known texts, such as Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales and the Mabinogion, as well as texts that are much less familiar, such as sermons, saints' lives, lyrics and histories, Treharne discusses major themes such as sin and salvation, kingship and authority, myth and the monstrous, and provides a full, but brief, account of one of the major periods in literary history. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.