Literature and Its Theorists (Magill's Literary Annual 1989)
In the course of wide-ranging and erudite literary investigations, Tzvetan Todorov has manifested a rare breadth of learning and judgment, discerning similarities among authors and works from a number of periods and backgrounds. This eclectic conception of form and content has been recaptured as well by the application of schematic criteria which have permitted the advancement of some highly original and yet cogent interpretations. Along the way, Todorov has evinced a lively interest in the problems and possibilities opened by critical studies from various stances. He has espoused a generally structuralist view of poetics and literary frameworks, but at times his broader inclinations have proved to be both disarming and fascinating. Literature and Its Theorists: A Personal View of Twentieth-Century Criticism serves to demonstrate the more expansive elements of Todorov’s thought, rather than the more narrowly scientific contours of his ideas.
In selecting representative twentieth century thinkers, Todorov’s intention has been at once both to illuminate significant conceptual issues and to suggest intellectual points of contact among well-known figures; the writers discussed here include several Russian theorists, four who have written primarily in French, two German writers who are not theorists per se, and two critics who have become recognized through English-language publications. In addition to dealing with varying interpretations of...
(The entire section is 2391 words.)
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