Introduction to Literature,
Criticism & Theory

3rd edition

By Andrew Bennett & Nicholas Royle
October 2004
Pearson / Longman
Distributed by Trans-Atlantic Publications
ISBN: 9780582822955
344 pages, 6 x 9 1/8"
$52.50 Paper Original

An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory offers a new way of thinking about literature and what is involved in reading critically.

Literary theory is a core subject in the study of literature.But theory - especially when it takes the form of 'isms' - can often be intimidating or boring for students. Bennett & Royle have avoided simply giving potted summaries of 'isms' and instead present brief essays on a range of key critical concepts all of which have more or less familiar names. These concepts are put into practice through readings of particular literary texts.


1 The beginning
2 Readers and reading
3 The author
4 The text and the world
5 The uncanny
6 Monuments
7 Narrative
8 Character
9 Voice
10 Figures and tropes
11 Creative writing
12 Laughter
13 The tragic
14 History
15 Me
16 Ghosts
17 Moving pictures
18 Sexual difference
19 God
20 Ideology
21 Desire
22 Queer
23 Suspense
24 Racial difference
25 The colony
26 Mutant 
27 The performative
28 Secrets
29 The postmodern
30 Pleasure
31 War
32 The end
Select bibliography of other introductory texts and reference works
Literary works discussed
Bibliography of critical and theoretical works



The authors have wide experience of teaching literature and literary theory at universities in Britain, Finland and Denmark.

Andrew Bennett is currently Professor of English at the University of Bristol. He has also authored: 'Romantic Poets and the Culture of Posterity' (CUP) and 'Katherine Mansfield' (Northcote House, 2003).

Nicholas Royle is currently Professor of English at the University of Sussex. He is the author of: 'The Uncanny: An Introduction' (MUP) and 'Jacques Derrida' in the Routledge Critical Thinkers Series.


'I don't know of any book that could, or does, compete with this one. It is irreplaceable'

Richard Rand, University of Alabama

‘…this excellent book is very well-written and an outstanding introduction to literary studies. One of the most stimulating introductions available'

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