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Seven Essays

Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film


Abdulla M. Al-Dabbagh

In Seven Essays: Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film, Abdulla Al-Dabbagh’s unique approach to literary and cultural issues succeeds in casting new light on these subjects, revealing innovative fields of research and investigation. Expressed in his usual lucid and eloquent style, this collection of essays deals with themes and topics raised in Al-Dabbagh’s first two books, Literary Orientalism, Postcolonialism, and Universalism (Lang, 2010) and Shakespeare, the Orient, and the Critics (Lang, 2010). These essays also embrace further exploration in the area of literary criticism and literary theory and venture into the area of film studies. Whether discussing the drama of Shakespeare and Ibsen, Kurdish cinema, or issues of contemporary literary criticism and theory, scholars will find Al-Dabbagh’s fresh compilation of literary studies an essential contribution to the field.
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Chapter 1. Literary Studies Between Theory and Fallacy


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While theory has long become almost indispensable to modern literary studies, fallacy is not a word that is as often heard in this context. Yet, the two are closely linked, and almost all recent theory in literary studies has contained the implication that all other approaches are somehow fallacious. One of the main purposes of this study is to show that modern theoretical approaches to literature, in their different forms, and fallacies, in their variety of ways, are inextricably linked. Almost all the new theoretical advances in the field have contained fallacies of their own while they condemned the fallacies of the other approaches.

Indeed, one of the first developments of modern literary theory in Anglo-American literary criticism, the so-called New Criticism, took its first theoretical steps by condemning two approaches to literary studies, which it labeled as the “intentional fallacy” and the “affective fallacy,” in a well-known work by Wimsatt and Beardsley, and to which it also added the more strongly worded “heresy of paraphrase”, first announced by Cleanth Brooks.

It is also interesting that subsequent developments in certain trends of literary studies have built on precisely those areas regarded as fallacies by New Criticism, and established theoretical approaches of their own in, for example, psychoanalytic criticism and reader-response criticism. ← 1 | 2 →

In fact, it is so noticeable that different positions in the academic study of literature, both...

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