Terry Eagleton: Literary Theory – The Rise of English

Chapter 1 will set out the development of English as a field of serious scholarly inquiry and the development of literature into what we generally understand by that term today.


Terry Eagleton: Literary Theory – Introduction

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I’m not a very good reader; and I’m not very good with literary theory. So, god knows why but I spend a bit of time trying to further acquaint myself with – in the very least – some of the basics of criticism.  In order to help keep myself from ‘losing the plot’ of the work, I am writing notes – crib sheets – as I read Terry Eagleton’s famous Literary Theory: An Introduction.  So, then, here we go, as I post them for my own edification and access, if no one else’s – though if, hapless stranger, you have stumbled upon this, feel free to add your corrections, thoughts, and suggestions in the comments.


Nelligan: “Chapelle de la Morte” (“The Dead Woman’s Chapel”)

La chapelle ancienne est fermée,
Et je refoule à pas discrets
Les dalles sonnant les regrets
De toute une ère parfumée.

Et je t’évoque, ô bien-aimée !
Epris de mystiques attraits :
La chapelle assume les traits
De ton âme qu’elle a humée.

Ton corps fleurit dans l’autel seul,
Et la nef triste est le linceul
De gloire qui te vêt entière ;

Et dans le vitrail, tes grands yeux
M’illuminent ce cimetière
De doux cierges mystérieux.

The ancient chapel is closed,
And I drive back by discreet steps
The stones resounding with regrets
Of all a perfumed age.

And I conjure you, o my beloved!
Seized by love of mystic charms:
The chapel takes on the traits
Of your soul, that it has inhaled.

Your body flowers at the altar alone,
And the sad nave is the shroud of glory that clothes you fully;

And in the stained glass, your great eyes
Light up for me this cemetery
Of altar candles soft and mysterious.


in memoriam: Sam Sniderman

Sam the Record Man was the greatest record store I’ve been to in my life. It had everything. Its virtue – but perhaps the cause for its un-sustainability – was its lack of editorial judgment. I could buy local indie bands’ albums or an out-of-print Chico Hamilton box-set or a Japanese Radiohead import or a Chopin piano works collection or albums by Vera Lynn or Patti Page and so on and so on. In my younger days, I was a voracious and fickle music fan, always pursuing some new curiosity, wilfully openminded and often deliberately unfashionable. At Sam’s, I could have eternally indulged those impulses. It was a place in which one could always discover something new, always be reintroduced to music, always find some overlooked record that preserved one of the infinite detours on the track of pop history. It had many fabulous and well-versed employees, which is something race-for-the-bottom pay-scales render increasingly implausible for a store like that… It seemed quintessentially Canadian, inclusive and unpretentious but lacking the savviness necessary to endure the cruelties of the marketplace. Besides all that, as most obits should record, Mr. Sniderman established U of T’s Recording Archive Library. I miss his store and mourn him. And this is big of me, considering that he can be blamed for the idiotic nickname with which I was burdened throughout my childhood.