Sunteți pe pagina 1din 2

Literary Theories

A very basic way of thinking about literary theory is that these ideas act as different lenses critics use
to view and talk about art, literature, and even culture. These different lenses allow critics to consider
works of art based on certain assumptions within that school of theory. The different lenses also
allow critics to focus on particular aspects of a work they consider important.


A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture,
fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction
to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. For this reason,
postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups,
cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the
postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being
through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies
on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's
own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

Postmodernists believe that truth is relative and truth is up to each individual to determine
for himself. Most believe nationalism builds walls, makes enemies, and destroys Mother
Earth," while capitalism creates a have and have not society, and religion causes moral
friction and division among people.

Postmodernism is difficult to define, because to define it would violate the postmodernist's

premise that no definite terms, boundaries, or absolute truths exist. In this article, the term
postmodernism will remain vague, since those who claim to be postmodernists have
varying beliefs and opinions on issues.
Modernism vs Postmodernism
Modernism Postmodernism
romanticism/symbolism paraphysics/Dadaism
form (conjunctive, closed) antiform (disjunctive, open)
purpose play
design chance
hierarchy anarchy
mastery/logos exhaustion/silence
art object/finished work/logos process/performance/antithesis
centering absence

Gender theory

Essentially this theory proposed looking at masculinity and femininity as sets of mutually created
characteristics shaping the lives of men and women. It replaced or challenged ideas of
masculinity and femininity and of men and women as operating in history according to fixed
biological determinants. In other words, removing these categories from the realm of biology, it
made a history possible. For some, the idea of "gender history" was but another term for women's
history, but for others gender theory transformed the ways in which they approached writing and
teaching about both men and women. To some extent it may be hypothesized that the major
change brought about by gender theory was that it complicated the study of men, making them as
well as women gendered historical subjects.

Gender studies and queer theory explore issues of sexuality, power, and marginalized
populations (woman as other) in literature and culture. Much of the work in gender studies and
queer theory, while influenced by feminist criticism, emerges from post-structural interest in
fragmented, de-centered knowledge building (Nietzsche, Derrida, Foucault), language (the
breakdown of sign-signifier), and psychoanalysis (Lacan).