Terry Eagleton discusses his new book 'The Event of Literature' (part 2)

Thursday, 19 April 2012

In the second part in our exclusive author interview with literary critic and Marxist theorist Terry Eagleton, Terry discusses the value of literary theory, fiction, the philosophy of literature and indeterminacy. In his witty new book The Event of Literature, Eagleton returns to the discipline to which he has devoted his career, literary theory, reconsidering previous stances of lit theory and offering fresh takes on much-studied books and critical theories.

More about 'The Event of Literature'

Terry EagletonIn his characteristically concise, witty, and lucid new book The Event of Literature, Terry Eagleton turns his attention to the questions we should ask about literature, but rarely do. What is literature? Can we even speak of “literature” at all? What do different literary theories tell us about what texts mean and do?

In throwing new light on these and other questions he has raised in previous best-sellers (including On Evil, Why Marx was Right and Reason, Faith and Revolution), Eagleton offers a new theory of what we mean by literature. He also shows what it is that a great many different literary theories have in common.

The Event of Literature is a highly unusual combination of critical theory and analytic philosophy, in which Eagleton sees all literary work, from novels to poems, as a strategy to contain a reality that seeks to thwart that containment, and in doing so throws up new problems that the work tries to resolve. The “event” of literature, Eagleton argues, consists in this continual transformative encounter, unique and endlessly repeatable.