Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and other interdisciplinary themes which are of relevance to the way humans interpret meaning. In humanities in modern academia, the latter style of scholarship is an outgrowth of critical theory and is often called simply "theory." As a consequence, the word "theory" has become an umbrella term for a variety of scholarly approaches to reading texts. Many of these approaches are informed by various strands of Continental philosophy and sociology.
Famous quotes containing the words literary and/or theory:
“There are in me, in literary terms, two distinct characters: one who is taken with roaring, with lyricism, with soaring aloft, with all the sonorities of phrase and summits of thought; and the other who digs and scratches for truth all he can, who is as interested in the little facts as the big ones, who would like to make you feel materially the things he reproduces.”
—Gustave Flaubert (18211880)
“No one thinks anything silly is suitable when they are an adolescent. Such an enormous share of their own behavior is silly that they lose all proper perspective on silliness, like a baker who is nauseated by the sight of his own eclairs. This provides another good argument for the emerging theory that the best use of cryogenics is to freeze all human beings when they are between the ages of twelve and nineteen.”
—Anna Quindlen (20th century)