SOME QUESTIONS TO EXPONENTS OF CULTURAL THEORY OF LITERATURE
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This is a record of author's reflections on 'The Cultural Theory of Literature: Key Concepts and Problems' edited by M. P. Markowski and R. Nycz. He is skeptical about a number of assumptions that nowadays appear to have become a matter of broad consensus. One of them is the claim that literature cannot be defined. Another has to do with the practice of blurring the boundary between theory of literature and the methodology of literary studies. At the same time as theory is transformed into Theory it becomes identified with any system of thought from which literary studies may take their stimuli, but which by itself (like eg. psychoanalysis or Marxism) remains extrinsic to literature. While criticizing the book's inaccuracies or inconsistencies, the author of this review declares his support for the central assumptions of the cultural theory of literature, ie. the application of the tools of literary theory to the study of non-literary discourses, and proper acknowledgement of the cognitive and ideological aspects of literature.
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