Peter Widdowson

Literature,the latest volume in the highly successfulNew Critical Idiomseries, is at once a compact mine of information about the development and more recent discrediting of the concept of 'literature,' and a reflection on the contemporary nature, place and function of what the literary might mean for us today. Comprehensive in scope, it offers a concise history of the consitution of a canonic concept of 'literature' from its earliest origins to the orthodoxies that occurred through the later nineteenth-century to the middle of the twentieth. It also traces its dismantling from the late-60s onward. Finally, the book attemps to recuperate a notion of 'the literary' by way of a series of readings of diverse texts. It is an excellent primer for anyone who loves the written word.

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