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Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & Ranked

While there are many courses and tutorials online, learning from a book is still one of the best ways to greatly improve your skills. Below I have selected top Literary Criticism books.

How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Reading Between the Lines, Revised Edition (2014)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedA thoroughly revised and updated edition of Thomas C. Foster’s classic guide—a lively and entertaining introduction to literature and literary basics, including symbols, themes and contexts, that shows you how to make your everyday reading experience more rewarding and enjoyable.While many books can be enjoyed for their basic stories, there are often deeper literary meanings interwoven in these texts.
Author(s): Thomas C Foster

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism (Complete Idiot’s Guides (Lifestyle Paperback)) (2013)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedUsed in colleges and college-prep courses in the US, AS/A2 prep in the UK, and by interested readers and writers everywhere. Authoritative, genuinely helpful, and just funny enough. You’ll see.Literary interpretation can be a complex topic. This lively and entertaining guide takes the intimidation out of it, offering readers a scholarly yet easy-to-follow examination of literary theory’s central arguments, key figures, and fascinating history.
Author(s): Venturino PhD, Steven J.

Classical Literary Criticism (Penguin Classics) (2001)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedThis anthology brings together core classical texts for understanding literature. The selections from Plato illustrate the poetic philosopher’s surprising exclusion of poets from his ideal republic. In his response, , Aristotle draws on the works of the great Greek playwrights to defend the value of the art.
Author(s): Various, Penelope Murray, et al.

Introducing Literary Criticism: A Graphic Guide (Introducing Graphic Guides) (2016)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedFrom Plato to Virginia Woolf, Structuralism to Practical Criticism, Introducing Literary Criticism charts the history and development of literary criticism into a rich and complex discipline.
Author(s): Owen Holland, Piero

Literary Theory and Criticism: An Introduction (2015)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedLiterary Theory and Criticism: An Introduction provides an accessible overview of major figures and movements in literary theory and criticism from antiquity to the twenty-first century. It is designed for students at the undergraduate level or for others needing a broad synthesis of the long history of literary theory.
Author(s): Anne H. Stevens

Theory into Practice: An Introduction to Literary Criticism (2014)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedBeginning with more accessible critical approaches and gradually introducing more challenging critical perspectives, THEORY INTO PRACTICE provides extensive step-by-step guidance for writing literary analyses.
Author(s): Ann B. Dobie

An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory (2016)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedLively, original and highly readable, An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory is the essential guide to literary studies. Starting at ‘The Beginning’ and concluding with ‘The End’, chapters range from the familiar, such as ‘Character’, ‘Narrative’ and ‘The Author’, to the more unusual, such as ‘Secrets’, ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Ghosts’.
Author(s): Andrew Bennett, Nicholas Royle

Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader (2008)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedThis third edition of Modern Criticism and Theory represents a major expansion on its previous incarnations with some twenty five new pieces or essays included. This expansion has two principal purposes. Firstly, in keeping with the collection’s aim to reflect contemporary preoccupations, the reader has expanded forward to include such newly emergent considerations as ecocriticism and post-theory.
Author(s): Nigel Wood, David Lodge

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction (2011)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedWhat is literary theory? Is there a relationship between literature and culture? These are some of questions addressed by Jonathan Culler in this new edition of his highly popular Very Short Introduction.
Author(s): Jonathan Culler

Classical Literary Criticism (Oxford World’s Classics) (2008)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedThis volume provides, in translation, the principal texts of literary criticism, including Aristotle’s Poetics, Horace’s Art of Poetry, Longinus’ on Sublimity, Tacitus’ Dialogues, and extracts from Plato and Plutarch.About the Series: For over 100 years Oxford World’s Classics has made available the broadest spectrum of literature from around the globe.
Author(s): D. A. Russell, Michael Winterbottom

European History: 1450 to 1648 Essentials (Essentials Study Guides) (1990)

 Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & RankedREA’s Essentials provide quick and easy access to critical information in a variety of different fields, ranging from the most basic to the most advanced. As its name implies, these concise, comprehensive study guides summarize the essentials of the field covered. Essentials are helpful when preparing for exams, doing homework and will remain a lasting reference source for students, teachers, and professionals.
Author(s): Allen Horstman, European History Study Guides

Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & Ranked

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Library Genesis and download some literary criticism books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Professing Criticism : Essays on the Organization of Literary Study

Author(s): John Guillory
ID: 3661296, Publisher: University of Chicago Press, Year: 2023, Size: 648 Kb, Format: epub

Erich Auerbach and the Secular World: Literary Criticism, Historiography, Post-Colonial Theory and Beyond

Author(s): Jon Nixon
ID: 3249773, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2022, Size: 6 Mb, Format: pdf

The Zimbabwean Maverick: Dambudzo Marechera and Utopian Thinking

Author(s): Shun Man Emily Chow-Quesada
ID: 3374483, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2022, Size: 3 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not absolute. Some books are really best-sellers according to The Wall Street Journal, others are drafted by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Drop a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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