Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction Chapter Abstracts for Teachers

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Chapter 1, What Is Theory?

• Philosopher Richard Rorty determined that certain works in the 19th century created a new genre within literature called theory.

• In these new theory works, suggestions and themes were presented that may or may not have been true.

• Theorists determined that literary theory was anything beyond a basic story.

• Theorists debated what topics could be included within theory and determined the answer to be any.

• French historian Michel Foucault created a "repressive hypothesis," questioning how language assigns roles in society.

• Theorists began to think on the implications behind language and ideas in literature.

• French philosopher Jacques Derrida analyzed the works of Rousseau.

• Derrida determined the logic of supplementarity and linked the written word to the spoken word.

• According to Culler, the rules of theory were then determined and left for theorists to analyze.

• Ultimately, theorists have determined that the concept of theory exists without opportunity...

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