100 Must-Read Books on English: Essays, Writing, and Literary Criticism

How to read literature

100 Must-Read Books on English: Essays, Writing, and Literary Criticism is a reading list for the literate. It contains many of the classic critics of the past, Leavis, Richards, Auerbach, and Empson, with many contemporary greats, such as Eagleton, Wood, Bloom, and Said. There are many of the great texts on writing, by the likes of Orwell, White, King, and Zinsser. And there are the great essayists: Benjamin, Vidal, Macdonald, and Russell. Mixed in there are many superb books on journalism, film criticism, and literary theory.

1. How to Read Literature

By Terry Eagleton

What makes a work of literature good or bad? How freely can the reader interpret it? Could a nursery rhyme like Baa Baa Black Sheep be full of concealed loathing, resentment and aggression? In this accessible, delightfully entertaining book, Terry Eagleton addresses these intriguing questions and a host ... More »

How to Read Literature
How Fiction Works

2. How Fiction Works

By James Wood | Used Price: 70% Off

In the tradition of E. M. Forster's  Aspects of the Novel and Milan Kundera's The Art of the Novel, How Fiction Works is a scintillating study of the magic of fiction--an analysis of its main elements and a celebration of its lasting power. Here one of the most ... More »

3. The Elements of Style

By E. B. White; William Strunk | Under $1.00

You know the authors' names. You recognize the title. You've probably used this book yourself. This is The Elements of Style, the classic style manual, now in a fourth edition. A new Foreword by Roger Angell reminds readers that the advice of Strunk & White is as valuable ... More »

The Elements of Style

4. Illuminations

By Walter Benjamin; Hannah Arendt | 70% Off

Walter Benjamin was one of the most original cultural critics of the twentieth century. Illuminations includes his views on Kafka, with whom he felt a close personal affinity; his studies on Baudelaire and Proust; and his essays on Leskov and on Brecht's Epic Theater. Also included ... More »

5. Mimesis

By Eric Auerbach | Used Price: 80% Off

A half-century after its translation into English, Erich Auerbach's Mimesis still stands as a monumental achievement in literary criticism. A brilliant display of erudition, wit, and wisdom, his exploration of how great European writers from Homer to Virginia Woolf depicted reality has taught generations how to read Western ... More »

Seven Types of Ambiguity

6. Seven Types of Ambiguity

By William Empson | Used Price: 70% Off

First published in 1930, Seven Types of Ambiguity has long been recognized as a landmark in the history of English literary criticism. Revised twice since it first appeared, it has remained one of the most widely read and quoted works of literary analysis. Ambiguity, according ... More »

7. Why I Write

By George Orwell | Under $1.00

Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves—and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives—and destroyed them. Now, Penguin brings you the works of ... More »

Why I Write
Kill All Your Darlings

8. Kill All Your Darlings

By Luc Sante | Used Price: 70% Off

In his books and in a string of wide-ranging and inventive essays, Luc Sante has shown himself to be not only one of our pre-eminent stylists, but also a critic of uncommon power and range. He is “one of the handful of living masters of the American language, ... More »

9. Anatomy of Criticism

By Northrop Frye | Used Price: 80% Off

Striking out at the conception of criticism as restricted to mere opinion or ritual gesture, Northrop Frye wrote this magisterial work proceeding on the assumption that criticism is a structure of thought and knowledge in its own right. In four brilliant essays on historical, ethical, archetypical, and rhetorical ... More »

Anatomy of Criticism
A Room of One's Own

10. A Room of One's Own

By Virginia Woolf | Used Price: 90% Off

Collecting two book-length essays, "A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas" is Virginia Woolf's most powerful feminist writing, justifying the need for women to possess intellectual freedom and financial independence. This "Penguin Modern Classics" edition is edited with an introduction and notes by Michele Barrett. "A Room ... More »

11. Waiting for the Barbarians

By Daniel Mendelsohn | Used Price: 70% Off

FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD AND THE PEN ART OF THE ESSAY AWARDOver the past decade and a half, Daniel Mendelsohn’s reviews for The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and The New York Times Book Review have earned him a reputation as “one of the greatest ... More »

Waiting for the Barbarians

12. Orientalism

By Edward W. Said | Used Price: 70% Off

Orientalism is a book published in 1978 by Edward Said that has been highly influential and controversial in postcolonial studies and other fields. In the book, Said effectively redefined the term "Orientalism" to mean a constellation of false assumptions underlying Western attitudes toward the Middle East. This body ... More »

13. Stranger Shores: Essays 1986-1999

By J. M. Coetzee | Used Price: 90% Off

Two-time Booker Prize-winner J. M. Coetzee is one of the world's greatest novelists. This thought-provoking collection gathers twenty-six of his essays on books and writing. In his opening piece, "What Is a Classic?", Coetzee asks, "What does it mean in living terms to say that the classic is ... More »

Stranger Shores: Essays 1986-1999
Axel's Castle - A Study in Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930

14. Axel's Castle - A Study in Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930

By Edmund Wilson

Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork. More »

15. How to Read and Why

By Harold Bloom | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

Information is endlessly available to us; where shall wisdom be found?" is the crucial question with which renowned literary critic Harold Bloom begins this impassioned book on the pleasures and benefits of reading well. For more than forty years, Bloom has transformed college students into lifelong readers with ... More »

How to Read and Why
Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

16. Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays

By Zadie Smith | Used Price: 70% Off

"[These essays] reflect a lively, unselfconscious, rigorous, erudite, and earnestly open mind that's busy refining its view of life, literature, and a great deal in between." -Los Angeles Times Split into five sections-Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling, and Remembering--Changing My Mind finds Zadie Smith casting an ... More »

17. The Liberal Imagination

By Lionel Trilling | Used Price: 60% Off

The Liberal Imagination is one of the most admired and influential works of criticism of the last century, a work that is not only a masterpiece of literary criticism but an important statement about politics and society. Published in 1950, one of the chillier moments of the ... More »

The Liberal Imagination
Lectures on Literature

18. Lectures on Literature

By Vladimir Nabokov | Used Price: 70% Off

For two decades, first at Wellesley and then at Cornell, Nabokov introduced undergraduates to the delights of great fiction. Here, collected for the first time, are his famous lectures, which include Mansfield Park, Bleak House, and Ulysses. Edited and with a Foreword by Fredson Bowers; Introduction by John ... More »

19. Against Interpretation

By Susan Sontag | Used Price: 50% Off

Against Interpretation was Susan Sontag's first collection of essays and is a modern classic. Originally published in 1966, it has never gone out of print and has influenced generations of readers all over the world. It includes the famous essays "Notes on Camp" and "Against Interpretation," as well ... More »

Against Interpretation
The Country and the City

20. The Country and the City

By Raymond Williams | Used Price: 70% Off

As a brilliant survey of English literature in terms of changing attitudes towards country and city, Williams' highly-acclaimed study reveals the shifting images and associations between these two traditional poles of life throughout the major developmental periods of English culture. More »

21. The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them

By Elif Batuman | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

One of The Economist's 2011 Books of the Year THE TRUE BUT UNLIKELY STORIES OF LIVES DEVOTED--ABSURDLY! MELANCHOLICALLY! BEAUTIFULLY!--TO THE RUSSIAN CLASSICSNo one who read Elif Batuman's first article (in the journal n+1) will ever forget it. "Babel in California" told the true story of various human ... More »

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
A Literature of Their Own

22. A Literature of Their Own

By Elaine Showalter | Used Price: 70% Off

When first published in 1977, A Literature of Their Own quickly set the stage for the creative explosion of feminist literary studies that transformed the field in the 1980s. Launching a major new area for literary investigation, the book uncovered the long but neglected tradition of women writers ... More »

23. Professor Borges: A Course On English Literature

By Jorge Luis Borges | Used Price: 50% Off

In English at last, Borges’s erudite and entertaining lectures on English literature from Beowulf to Oscar WildeWriting for Harper’s Magazine, Edgardo Krebs describes Professor Borges:“A compilation of the twenty-five lectures Borges gave in 1966 at the University of Buenos Aires, where he taught English literature. Starting with the ... More »

Professor Borges: A Course On English Literature
On Writing

24. On Writing

By Stephen King | Used Price: 50% Off

“Long live the King” hailed Entertainment Weekly upon publication of Stephen King’s On Writing. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade ... More »

25. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature

By Gilles Deleuze; Felix Guattari | 50% Off

Book annotation not available for this title.Title: KafkaAuthor: Deleuze, Gilles/ Guattari, FelixPublisher: Univ of Minnesota PrPublication Date: 1986/10/31Number of Pages: Binding Type: PAPERBACKLibrary of Congress: 85031822 More »

Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature
The Great Tradition

26. The Great Tradition

By F.R. Leavis

The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad...' So begins what is arguably F. R. Leavis's most controversial book, The Great Tradition, an uncompromising critical and polemical survey of English fiction that was first published in 1948. He puts a powerful case ... More »

27. The Great Movies

By Roger Ebert | Used Price: 90% Off

America’s most trusted and best-known film critic Roger Ebert presents one hundred brilliant essays on some of the best movies ever made.  For the past five years Roger Ebert, the famed film writer and critic, has been writing biweekly essays for a feature called ... More »

The Great Movies
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

28. On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

By William Zinsser | Used Price: 60% Off

On Writing Well has been praised for its sound advice, its clarity and the warmth of its style. It is a book for everybody who wants to learn how to write or who needs to do some writing to get through the day, as almost everybody does in ... More »

29. The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales

By Bruno Bettelheim | Used Price: 60% Off

Bruno Bettelheim was one of the great child psychologists of the twentieth century and perhaps none of his books has been more influential than this revelatory study of fairy tales and their universal importance in understanding childhood development.Analyzing a wide range of traditional stories, from the tales of ... More »

The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales
The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act

30. The Political Unconscious: Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act

By Fredric Jameson | Used Price: 60% Off

Fredric Jameson, in The Political Unconscious, opposes the view that literary creation can take place in isolation from its political context. He asserts the priority of the political interpretation of literary texts, claiming it to be at the center of all reading and understanding, not just a supplement ... More »

31. Aspects of the Novel

By E. M. Forster | Used Price: 80% Off

E.M. Forster's "Aspects of the Novel" is an innovative and effusive treatise on a literary form that, at the time of publication, had only recently begun to enjoy serious academic consideration. This "Penguin Classics" edition is edited with an introduction by Oliver Stallybrass, and features a new preface ... More »

Aspects of the Novel
Fowler's Modern English Usage

32. Fowler's Modern English Usage

By Henry Watson Fowler; Robert Burchfield

Why literally shouldn't be taken literally.Why Americans think home in on something is a mistake and Brits think hone in is.Is it OK to spell OK okay?What's wrong with hence why?Was Alanis Morrisette ever ironic?Fowler's Dictionary of Modern English Usage is the world-famous guide to English usage, loved ... More »

33. The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition

By M. H. Abrams | Used Price: 70% Off

This highly acclaimed study analyzes the various trends in English criticism during the first four decades of this century. More »

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition
Theory of Literature

34. Theory of Literature

By Paul Fry | Used Price: 60% Off

Bringing his perennially popular course to the page, Yale University Professor Paul H. Fry offers in this welcome book a guided tour of the main trends in twentieth-century literary theory. At the core of the book's discussion is a series of underlying questions: What is literature, how is it ... More »

35. The Rhetoric of Fiction

By Wayne C. Booth | Used Price: 90% Off

The first edition of The Rhetoric of Fiction transformed the criticism of fiction and soon became a classic in the field. One of the most widely used texts in fiction courses, it is a standard reference point in advanced discussions of how fictional form works, how authors make ... More »

The Rhetoric of Fiction
The Great War and Modern Memory

36. The Great War and Modern Memory

By Paul Fussell | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

The year 2000 marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of The Great War and Modern Memory, winner of the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and recently named by the Modern Library one of the twentieth century's 100 Best Non-Fiction Books. Fussell's landmark study ... More »

37. American Sympathy

By Caleb Crain | Used Price: 90% Off

"A friend in history," Henry David Thoreau once wrote, "looks like some premature soul." And in the history of friendship in early America, Caleb Crain sees the soul of the nation's literature. In a sensitive analysis that weaves together literary criticism and historical narrative, Crain describes the ... More »

American Sympathy
The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism

38. The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African American Literary Criticism

By Henry Louis Gates

Hailed in The New York Times Book Review as "eclectic, exciting, convincing, provocative" and in The Washington Post Book World as "brilliantly original," Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s The Signifying Monkey is a groundbreaking work that illuminates the relationship between the African and African-American vernacular traditions and black literature. ... More »

39. How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One

By Stanley Fish | Used Price: 60% Off

“Like a long periodic sentence, this book rumbles along, gathers steam, shifts gears, and packs a wallop.” —Roy Blount Jr.  “Language lovers will flock to this homage to great writing.”—Booklist Outspoken New York Times columnist Stanley Fish offers an entertaining, erudite analysis of language and ... More »

How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One
Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork

40. Dorkismo: the Macho of the Dork

By Maria Bustillos | Used Price: 50% Off

The dorks are saving the nation, and this book proves it. Maria Bustillos takes the reader on a thrill ride featuring $3 million Patek Philippe watches, the late David Foster Wallace, Woody Allen, Star Wars, Akihabara Electric Town, and much more. These serio-comic essays bear a message, lightly ... More »

41. World Elsewhere

By Richard Poirier | Used Price: 70% Off

Richard Poirier’s A World Elsewhere, originally published in 1966 by the Oxford University Press, is a signal book in American literature and literary history. Widely acclaimed upon publication, it has since taken its place among a handful of books considered mandatory reading for all ... More »

World Elsewhere
The Poetics of Space

42. The Poetics of Space

By Gaston Bachelard | Used Price: 70% Off

Thirty years since its first publication in English, French philosopher Gaston Bachelard's The Poetics of Space one of the most appealing and lyrical explorations of home. Bachelard takes us on a journey, from cellar to attic, to show how our perceptions of houses and other shelters shape our ... More »

43. The Madwoman in the Attic

By Sandra M. Gilbert; Susan Gubar | 80% Off

In this work of feminist literary criticism the authors explore the works of many major 19th-century women writers. They chart a tangible desire expressed for freedom from the restraints of a confining patriarchal society and trace a distinctive female literary tradition. More »

The Madwoman in the Attic
Studies in Classic American Literature

44. Studies in Classic American Literature

By D. H. Lawrence | Used Price: 90% Off

Lawrence asserted that 'the proper function of a critic is to save the tale from the artist who created it'. In these highly individual, penetrating essays he has exposed 'the American whole soul' within some of that continent's major works of literature. In seeking to establish the status ... More »

45. United States: Essays 1952-1992

By Gore Vidal | Used Price: 90% Off

From the age of Eisenhower to the dawning of the Clinton era, Gore Vidal’s United States offers an incomparably rich tapestry of American intellectual and political life in a tumultuous period. It also provides the best, most sustained exposure possible to the most wide-ranging, acute, and original ... More »

United States: Essays 1952-1992
The Case for Literature

46. The Case for Literature

By Gao Xingjian | Under $1.00

When Gao Xingjian was crowned Nobel Laureate in 2000, it was the first time in the hundred-year history of the Nobel Prize that this honor had been awarded to an author for a body of work written in Chinese. The same year, American readers embraced Mabel Lee’s translation of ... More »

47. Principles of Literary Criticism

By I.A. Richards | Used Price: 70% Off

Ivor Armstrong Richards was one of the founders of modern literary criticism. He enthused a generation of writers and readers and was an influential supporter of the young T.S. Eliot. Principles of Literary Criticism was the text that first established his reputation and pioneered the movement that became ... More »

Principles of Literary Criticism
The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry

48. The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry

By Cleanth Brooks | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

A classic that has been widely used by several generations, this book consists of detailed commentaries on ten famous English poems from the Elizabethan period to the present. Index. More »

49. Moral Imagination: Essays

By David Bromwich | Used Price: 50% Off

Spanning many historical and literary contexts, Moral Imagination brings together a dozen recent essays by one of America's premier cultural critics. David Bromwich explores the importance of imagination and sympathy to suggest how these faculties may illuminate the motives of human action and the reality of justice. These ... More »

Moral Imagination: Essays
A Rulebook for Arguments

50. A Rulebook for Arguments

By Anthony Weston

A Rulebook for Arguments is a succinct introduction to the art of writing and assessing arguments, organized around specific rules, each illustrated and explained soundly but briefly. This widely popular primer--translated into eight languages--remains the first choice in all disciplines for writers who seek straightforward guidance about ... More »

51. Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion

By Jack Zipes | Used Price: 50% Off

The fairy tale is arguably one of the most important cultural and social influences on children's lives. But until the first publication of Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion, little attention had been paid to the ways in which the writers and collectors of tales used traditional ... More »

Fairy Tales and the Art of Subversion
Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the World

52. Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism That Changed the World

By John Pilger | Under $1.00

Prison scandals, terrorism, corporate fraud, election rigging—most likely you have heard something of the sort in the last ten minutes. But what is truth and what is part of the great "washout" of biased reporting? A celebration of lucid investigative reporting, selected by titan of the craft John ... More »

53. Michel de Montaigne - The Complete Essays

By Michel de Montaigne | Used Price: 60% Off

Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech. ... More »

Michel de Montaigne - The Complete Essays
The New Oxford Guide to Writing

54. The New Oxford Guide to Writing

By Thomas S. Kane | Under $1.00

Many books on writing tell you how to think more creatively, how to conjure up an idea from scratch. Many, once you have an idea, show you how to express it clearly and elegantly. And many handbooks offer reliable advice on the use of commas, semicolons, and ... More »

55. Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing

By Margaret Atwood | Used Price: 90% Off

What do we mean when we say that someone is a writer? Is he or she an entertainer? A high priest of the god Art? An improver of readers’ minds and morals? And who, for that matter, are these mysterious readers? In this wise and irresistibly quotable book, ... More »

Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain

56. Masscult and Midcult: Essays Against the American Grain

By Dwight Macdonald | Used Price: 50% Off

A New York Review Books OriginalAn uncompromising contrarian, a passionate polemicist, a man of quick wit and wide learning, an anarchist, a pacifist, and a virtuoso of the slashing phrase, Dwight Macdonald was an indefatigable and indomitable critic of America’s susceptibility to well-meaning cultural fakery: all those estimable, ... More »

57. What Ever Happened to Modernism?

By Gabriel Josipovici | Used Price: 70% Off

The quality of today's literary writing arouses the strongest opinions. For novelist and critic Gabriel Josipovici, the contemporary novel in English is profoundly disappointing - a poor relation of its groundbreaking Modernist forebears. This agile and passionate book asks why. Modernism, Josipovici suggests, is only superficially a reaction ... More »

What Ever Happened to Modernism?
Forensic Shakespeare

58. Forensic Shakespeare

By Quentin Skinner

Shakespeare and Judicial Rhetoric illustrates Shakespeare's creative processes by revealing some of the intellectual materials out of which some of his most famous works were composed. Focusing on the narrative poem Lucrece, on four of his late Elizabethan plays -- Romeo and Juliet, The Merchant of Venice, ... More »

59. The English Language

By Charles Barber; Joan Beal; Philip Shaw

This bestselling text by Charles Barber, with updating contributions from Joan C. Beal and Philip A. Shaw, recounts the history of the English language from its remote ancestry to the present day. Using dozens of familiar texts, including the English of King Alfred, Shakespeare and Chaucer, the English ... More »

The English Language
Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare

60. Renaissance Self-Fashioning: From More to Shakespeare

By Stephen Greenblatt | Used Price: 60% Off

Renaissance Self-Fashioning is a study of sixteenth-century life and literature that spawned a new era of scholarly inquiry. Stephen Greenblatt examines the structure of selfhood as evidenced in major literary figures of the English Renaissance—More, Tyndale, Wyatt, Spenser, Marlowe, and Shakespeare—and finds that in the early modern period ... More »

61. Stein On Writing

By Sol Stein | Used Price: 70% Off

Stein on Writing provides immediately useful advice for all writers of fiction and nonfiction, whether they are newcomers or old hands, students or instructors, amateurs or professionals. As the always clear and direct Stein explains here, "This is not a book of theory. It is a book of ... More »

Stein On Writing
Why Read the Classics?

62. Why Read the Classics?

By Italo Calvino | Under $1.00

"Why Read the Classics?" is an elegant defence of the value of great literature by one of the finest authors of the last century. Beginning with an essay on the attributes that define a classic (number one - classics are those books that people always say they are ... More »

63. Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy

By Dave Hickey | Used Price: 80% Off

The 23 essays (or "love songs") that make up the now classic volume Air Guitar trawl a "vast, invisible underground empire" of pleasure, through record stores, honky-tonks, art galleries, jazz clubs, cocktail lounges, surf shops and hot-rod stores, as restlessly on the move as the America they depict. ... More »

Air Guitar: Essays on Art & Democracy
The World of Odysseus

64. The World of Odysseus

By Moses Finley | Used Price: 80% Off

The World of Odysseus is a concise and penetrating account of the society that gave birth to the Iliad and the Odyssey--a book that provides a vivid picture of the Greek Dark Ages, its men and women, works and days, morals and values. Long celebrated as a pathbreaking ... More »

65. Politics and the Novel

By Irving Howe | Used Price: 90% Off

Irving Howe’s classic investigation of the role of revolutionary ideas in fiction is here reprinted in a new paperback edition. In establishing the role of the political novel and tracing its growth into the twentieth century, Mr. Howe draws his examples from Stendhal’s The Red and the Black, ... More »

Politics and the Novel
Death of a Discipline

66. Death of a Discipline

By Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak | 80% Off

For almost three decades, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak has been ignoring the standardized "rules" of the academy and trespassing across disciplinary boundaries. Today she remains one of the foremost figures in the study of world literature and its cultural consequences. In this new book she declares the death of ... More »

67. What Is Art?

By Leo Tolstoy | Used Price: 90% Off

During his decades of world fame as a novelist, Tolstoy also wrote prolifically in a series of essays and polemics on issues of morality, social justice and religion. These works culminated in What is Art?, published in 1898. Impassioned and iconoclastic, this powerfully influential work both criticizes the ... More »

What Is Art?
Violence and the Sacred

68. Violence and the Sacred

By Rene Girard | Used Price: 80% Off

His fascinating and ambitious book provides a fully developed theory of violence as the 'heart and secret soul' of the sacred. Girard's fertile, combative mind links myth to prophetic writing, primitive religions to classical tragedy. More »

69. The Art of Fiction

By David Lodge | Used Price: 80% Off

The articles with which David Lodge entertained and enlightened readers of the Independent on Sunday and The Washington Post are now revised, expanded and collected together in book form.The art of fiction is considered under a wide range of headings, such as the Intrusive Author, Suspense, the Epistolary ... More »

The Art of Fiction
The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell

70. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell

By Bertrand Russell

Few philosophers have had a more profound influence on the course of modern philosophy than Bertrand Russell. The Basic Writings of Bertrand Russell is a comprehensive anthology of Russell’s most definitive essays written between 1903 and 1959. First published in 1961, this remarkable collection is a testament to ... More »

71. The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing

By David Morley | Used Price: 80% Off

This pioneering book introduces students to the practice and art of creative writing and creative reading. It offers a fresh, distinctive and beautifully written synthesis of the discipline. David Morley discusses where creative writing comes from, the various forms and camouflages it has taken, and why we teach ... More »

The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing
An Experiment in Criticism

72. An Experiment in Criticism

By C. S. Lewis

Why do we read literature and how do we judge it? C. S. Lewis's classic An Experiment in Criticism springs from the conviction that literature exists for the joy of the reader and that books should be judged by the kind of reading they invite. He argues that ... More »

73. What is Literature?

By Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre was one of the most important philosophical and political thinkers of the twentieth century. His writings had a potency that was irresistible to the intellectual scene that swept post-war Europe, and have left a vital inheritance to contemporary thought. The central tenet of the Existentialist movement ... More »

What is Literature?
The Tradition Of The New

74. The Tradition Of The New

By Harold Rosenberg | Used Price: 70% Off

Harold Rosenberg was undoubtedly the most important American art critic of the twentieth century. It was he who first coined the term ”Action Painters” to refer to the American Abstract Expressionists such as Pollock, Kline, and de Kooning. Rosenberg’s seminal writings on this movement, as well as on ... More »

75. Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times

By John Darnton; NYT | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

Now in paperback, today's most celebrated writers explore literature and the literary life in an inspirational collection of original essays.By turns poignant, hilarious, and practical, Writers on Writing brings together more than forty of contemporary literature's finest voices. Pieces range from reflections on the daily craft of writing ... More »

Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times
The Art of the Novel

76. The Art of the Novel

By Milan Kundera | Used Price: 80% Off

Kundera brilliantly examines the work of such important and diverse figures as Rabelais, Cervantes, Sterne, Diderot, Flaubert, Tolstoy, and Musil. He is especially penetrating on Hermann Broch, and his exploration of the world of Kafka's novels vividly reveals the comic terror of Kafka's bureaucratized universe.Kundera's discussion of his ... More »

77. ABC of Reading

By Ezra Pound | Used Price: 50% Off

Ezra Pound’s classic book about the meaning of literature, with a new introduction by Michael Dirda. This important work, first published in 1934, is a concise statement of Pound’s aesthetic theory. It is a primer for the reader who wants to maintain an active, critical mind and become ... More »

ABC of Reading
A Student's Writing Guide: How to Plan and Write Successful Essays

78. A Student's Writing Guide: How to Plan and Write Successful Essays

By Gordon Taylor | Used Price: 80% Off

Are you struggling to meet your coursework deadlines? Finding it hard to get to grips with your essay topics? Does your writing sometimes lack structure and style? Would you like to improve your grades? This text covers everything a student needs to know about writing essays and papers ... More »

79. Mythologies

By Roland Barthes

“No denunciation without its proper instrument of close analysis,” Roland Barthes wrote in his preface to Mythologies. There is no more proper instrument of analysis of our contemporary myths than this book—one of the most significant works in French theory, and one that has transformed the way readers ... More »

The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

80. The Sense of an Ending: Studies in the Theory of Fiction

By Frank Kermode

Frank Kermode is one of our most distinguished critics of English literature. Here, he contributes a new epilogue to his collection of classic lectures on the relationship of fiction to age-old concepts of apocalyptic chaos and crisis. Prompted by the approach of the millennium, he revisits the ... More »

81. Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination

By Toni Morrison | Used Price: 80% Off

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Beloved and Jazz now gives us a learned, stylish, and immensely persuasive work of literary criticism that promises to change the way we read American literature even as it opens a new chapter in the American dialogue on race.Toni Morrison's brilliant discussions of ... More »

Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination
Equipment for Living: The Literary Reviews of Kenneth Burke

82. Equipment for Living: The Literary Reviews of Kenneth Burke

By Kenneth Burke

Kenneth Burke has been widely praised as one of the sharpest readers of Shakespeare, Freud, and Marx, among others. He was also well known for turning his many book reviews into essays and excursions of his own, in the interest of tracking down the implications of terminologies and ... More »

83. What Is World Literature?

By David Damrosch | Used Price: 50% Off

World literature was long defined in North America as an established canon of European masterpieces, but an emerging global perspective has challenged both this European focus and the very category of "the masterpiece." The first book to look broadly at the contemporary scope and purposes of world literature, ... More »

What Is World Literature?
The Critical Tradition

84. The Critical Tradition

By David Richter

This bestseller balances a comprehensive and up-to-date anthology of major documents in literary criticism and theory -- from Plato to the present -- with the most thorough editorial support for understanding these challenging readings. More »

85. Theory of Prose

By Viktor Shklovsky | Used Price: 60% Off

Theory of Prose is one of the twentieth century's most important works of literary theory. It not only anticipates structuralism and poststructuralism, but poses questions about the nature of fiction that are as provocative today as they were in the 1920s. Arguing that writers structure their materials according ... More »

Theory of Prose
Criticism in the Wilderness

86. Criticism in the Wilderness

By Geoffrey Hartman | Used Price: 90% Off

Originally published in 1980, this now classic work of literary theory explores the wilderness of positions that grew out of the collision between Anglo-American practical criticism and Continental philosophic criticism. This second edition includes a new preface by the author as well as a foreword by Hayden White.“A ... More »

87. The Devil Finds Work

By James Baldwin | Used Price: 50% Off

Baldwin’s personal reflections on movies gathered here in a book-length essay are also a probing appraisal of American racial politics. Offering an incisive look at racism in American movies and a vision of America’s self-delusions and deceptions, Baldwin challenges the underlying assumptions in such films as In the ... More »

The Devil Finds Work
How to Write a Thesis

88. How to Write a Thesis

By Umberto Eco

By the time Umberto Eco published his best-selling novel The Name of the Rose, he was one of Italy's most celebrated intellectuals, a ... More »

89. How to Read a Book

By Mortimer J. Adler; Charles Van Doren

With half a million copies in print, How to Read a Book is the best and most successful guide to reading comprehension for the general reader, completely rewritten and updated with new material.Originally published in 1940, this book is a rare phenomenon, a living classic that introduces and ... More »

How to Read a Book
Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing

90. Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing

By Helene Cixous | Used Price: 80% Off

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing is a poetic, insightful, and ultimately moving exploration of 'the strange science of writing.' In a magnetic, irresistible narrative, Cixous reflects on the writing process and explores three distinct areas essential for 'great' writing: The School of the Dead -- ... More »

91. Art as Experience

By John Dewey | Used Price: 50% Off

Based on John Dewey's lectures on esthetics, delivered as the first William James Lecturer at Harvard in 1932, Art as Experience has grown to be considered internationally as the most distinguished work ever written by an American on the formal structure and characteristic effects of all the arts: ... More »

Art as Experience
Theory of the Lyric

92. Theory of the Lyric

By Jonathan Culler

What sort of thing is a lyric poem? An intense expression of subjective experience? The fictive speech of a specifiable persona? Theory of the Lyric reveals the limitations of these two conceptions of the lyric―the older Romantic model and the modern conception that has come to dominate ... More »

93. The Force of Poetry

By Christopher Ricks

Christopher Ricks is one of the best-known living critics of English, and was described by W. H. Auden as "the kind of critic every poet dreams of finding." Though published independently over many years, each of the essays in this collection asks how a poet's words reveal the ... More »

The Force of Poetry
The Dialogic Imagination

94. The Dialogic Imagination

By Mikhail Bakhtin | Used Price: 70% Off

These essays reveal Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975)—known in the West largely through his studies of Rabelais and Dostoevsky—as a philosopher of language, a cultural historian, and a major theoretician of the novel. The Dialogic Imagination presents, in superb English translation, four selections from Voprosy literatury i estetiki (Problems of ... More »

95. The Essential Pritchett : Selected Writings

By V.S. Pritchett | Rock-bottom Price: $0.01

V. S. Pritchett (1900-1997) was one of the most subtle, potent and best-loved of modern British writers, an unparalleled story-teller and biographer and essayist of unique humour and insight. This volume contains an engrossing and lively collection of his autobiographical, travel and critical writings and a selection of ... More »

The Essential Pritchett : Selected Writings
The Associated Press Stylebook

96. The Associated Press Stylebook

By Associated Press

 The style of the Associated Press is the gold standard for news writing. With The AP Stylebook in hand, you can learn how to write and edit with the clarity and professionalism for which they are famous. Fully revised and updated, this new edition contains more than 3,000 ... More »

97. Esquire's Big Book of Great Writing: More than 70 Years of Celebrated Journalism

By Adrienne Miller | Used Price: 90% Off

For seventy years, Esquire has established a reputation for publishing the most innovative nonfiction in the country, and this remarkable anthology of more than fifty articles is a testament to that quality. "This collection is an inspiration," writes Esquire editor in chief David Granger, "as much for the ... More »

Esquire's Big Book of Great Writing: More than 70 Years of Celebrated Journalism
Eight Tragedies of Shakespeare: A Marxist Study

98. Eight Tragedies of Shakespeare: A Marxist Study

By Victor Kiernan | Used Price: 80% Off

The seventeenth century saw the brief flowering of tragic drama in western Europe as a whole and in England in particular. It was, argues Victor Kiernan, the artistic expression of the consciousness of change which permeated every aspect of life during this period.In this companion volume to Shakespeare: ... More »

99. The Age of Movies

By Pauline Kael | Used Price: 70% Off

"Film criticism is exciting just because there is no formula to apply," Pauline Kael once observed, "just because you must use everything you are and everything you know." Between 1968 and 1991, as regular film reviewer for The New Yorker, Kael used those formidable tools ... More »

The Age of Movies
Notes to Literature

100. Notes to Literature

By Theodor W. Adorno | Used Price: 50% Off

Adorno's Notes to Literature, which begins with the high leap of his great essay 'The Essay as Form,' sets an inimitable, always exhilirating standard. A volume of Adorno's essays is equivalent to a whole shelf of books on literature. -- Susan Sontag More »

Author: David Thomson


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