Literary Theory and Criticism: An Unaffordable Buzzword in English Literature?

Naushad Umarsharif Shaikh


The rise of literary theory has brought in stylistic obscurity and arguments full of theoretical discourses in literary studies with creative writing being read through the lens of critical theories rooted in such diverse disciplines as philosophy, psychology, economics and linguistics causing the twin effects of a broadening of critical approaches as well as a hiatus between literary texts and theoretical perspectives so much so that some scholars like Dave Ellis and Martin Ellis have come to question the very validity of theory-informed critiques of literature. Critics are fascinated by new theories, each time they emerged breaking the shell of the former one. Failing to convince both sides, theory always faced opposition. What makes critical theory an inevitable constituent of sophisticated courses in social disciplines is the fact about language that meaning cannot be usual or fixed. Moreover, language is subject to change when received at different ends it can be received with alterations making literary interpretations far from the objective results. This article discusses how theory changed the world of literature. Further, it establishes an argument; is literary theory necessary? Or have theories become unaffordable brands in literary studies?


Literary theory; literary criticism; English literature; validity of literary theories; literary interpretations

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