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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.

1. Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice (A Second Printing) (5th Edition) (2011)

Best Literary Criticism Books Reviewed & Rankedpresents the thirteen basic schools of twentieth-century literary theory and criticism in their historical and philosophical contexts.  Unlike other introductions to literary criticism, this book explores the philosophical assumptions of each school of criticism and provides a clear methodology for writing essays according to each school's beliefs and tenets….
Author(s): Charles E. Bressler

2. How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to 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. How to Read Literature Like a Professor helps us to discover those hidden truths by looking at literature with the eyes—and the literary codes-of the ultimate professional reader, the college professor.What…
Author(s): Thomas C Foster

3. 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. From Plato to ecocriticism, this helpful guide gives you everything you need to know to really understand literature–plus hundreds of references to novels, stories, poems, plays, and…
Author(s): Venturino PhD, Steven J.

4. 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. Horace’s is a vivid practitioner’s guide that promotes a style of poetic craftsmanship rooted in wisdom, ethical insight, and decorum. Longinus’s explores the nature of inspiration in poetry and prose. This volume is a work of great value and interest…
Author(s): Various, Penelope Murray, et al.

5. 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. Tackling disputes over the value and meaning of literature, and exploring theoretical and practical approaches, this unique illustrated guide will help readers of all levels to get more out of their reading….
Author(s): Owen Holland, Piero

6. 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. An introductory chapter provides an overview of some of the major issues within literary theory and criticism; further chapters survey theory and criticism in antiquity, the Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the nineteenth century. For twentieth- and twenty-first-century…
Author(s): Anne H. Stevens

7. 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. This brief, practical introduction to literary theory explores core theories in a unique chronological format and includes an anthology of relevant fiction, poetry, and nonfiction to help bring those theories to life. Remarkably readable and engaging, the text makes even complex concepts manageable for those beginning to think about literary theory, and example analyses for…
Author(s): Ann B. Dobie

8. 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’. Now in its fifth edition, Bennett and Royle’s classic textbook successfully illuminates complex ideas by engaging directly with literary works, so that a reading of Jane Eyre opens up ways of thinking about racial difference, for example, while Chaucer, Raymond Chandler…
Author(s): Andrew Bennett, Nicholas Royle

9. 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. Secondly, with the aim of presenting as broad an account of modern theory as possible, the reader expands backwards to to take in exemplary pieces by formative writers and thinkers of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries such as…
Author(s): Nigel Wood, David Lodge

10. 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. Culler, an extremely lucid commentator and much admired in the field of literary theory, uses easy-to-grasp examples as he outlines the ideas behind schools of criticism that can otherwise be quite daunting, such as deconstruction, semiotics, and postcolonial theory. He explains “theory” not by describing warring “schools” but by sketching key “moves” that theory has…
Author(s): Jonathan Culler

11. 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. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford’s commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, voluminous notes to…
Author(s): D. A. Russell, Michael Winterbottom

12. 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. European History: 1450 to 1648 covers the late Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Reformation, Martin Luther, the European wars of religion, the Thirty Years’ War, the Age of Exploration, the Scientific Revolution, and the…
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 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.

Affect Theory and Literary Critical Practice: A Feel for the Text

Author(s): Stephen Ahern
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2019, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2355259

Beyond Psychoanalytic Literary Criticism: Between Literature and Mind

Author(s): Benjamin H. Ogden
Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2222677

The Qur’an and Modern Arabic Literary Criticism: From Taha to Nasr

Author(s): Mohammad Salama, Jason Bahbak Mohaghegh, Lucian Stone
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2235286

Shaping the canons of ancient Greek historiography : imitation, classicism, and literary criticism

Author(s): Matijašić, Ivan
Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2248664

Cultural Memory, Memorials, and Reparative Writing

Author(s): Erica L. Johnson
Publisher: Springer International Publishing,Palgrave Pivot, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2309887

Ethics and Affects in the Fiction of Alice Munro

Author(s): Amelia DeFalco, Lorraine York
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 2 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2310728

Affect Theory, Genre, and the Example of Tragedy: Dreams We Learn

Author(s): Duncan A. Lucas
Publisher: Springer International Publishing;Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2018, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2311247

Reading Poetry, Writing Genre: English Poetry and Literary Criticism in Dialogue with Classical Scholarship

Author(s): Silvio Bär; Emily Hauser
Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic, Year: 2018, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 2378230

Affect Theory and Early Modern Texts: Politics, Ecologies, and Form

Author(s): Amanda Bailey, Mario DiGangi (eds.)
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan US, Year: 2017, Size: 3 Mb, Download: pdf
ID: 1701228

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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