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Literary Studies: Literary Theory

Literary Theory Reference Works

Throughout your studies of literature, you will encounter a wide range of literary theories and critical frameworks. These are often employed by scholars to assist with the interpretation of a text or an analysis of the text’s significance.

Some essay questions will require you to adopt a particular framework, while others will allow you to choose your own. When it comes to deciding which literary theories or critical frameworks to draw on, it is usually best to respond to what you see as the text’s key themes or most interesting  aspects. Whichever approach you choose, you should ensure that your analysis is supported by the text itself.

Below you’ll find a few of the more common critical frameworks used in literary studies today. Feel free to explore these and do further reading on those of interest.