An anthology of exemplary readings by some of the twentieth century’s foremost literary critics, Close Reading
presents a wide range of responses to the question at the heart of literary criticism: how best to read a text to understand its meaning. The lively introduction and the selected essays provide an overview of close reading from New Criticism through poststructuralism, including works of feminist criticism, postcolonial theory, queer theory, new historicism, and more.
From a 1938 essay by John Crowe Ransom through the work of contemporary scholars, Close Reading highlights the interplay between critics—the ways they respond to and are influenced by others’ works. To facilitate comparisons of methodology, the collection includes discussions of the same primary texts by scholars using different critical approaches. The essays focus on Hamlet, “Lycidas,” “The Rape of the Lock,” Ulysses, Invisible Man, Beloved, Jane Austen, John Keats, and Wallace Stevens and reveal not only what the contributors are reading, but also how they are reading.
Frank Lentricchia and Andrew DuBois’s collection is an essential tool for teaching the history and practice of close reading.
Contributors. Houston A. Baker Jr., Roland Barthes, Homi Bhabha, R. P. Blackmur, Cleanth Brooks, Kenneth Burke, Paul de Man, Andrew DuBois, Stanley Fish, Catherine Gallagher, Sandra Gilbert, Stephen Greenblatt, Susan Gubar, Fredric Jameson, Murray Krieger, Frank Lentricchia, Franco Moretti, John Crowe Ransom, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Helen Vendler