ﺗﻄﻮّﺭ ﺍﻟﻨﻈﺮﻳﺔ ﺍﻷﺩﺑّﻴﺔ / The Evolution of Literary Theory



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Todorov, Tzvetan; Maha Gala, Abou-elala

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

Publication Date





[«At the basis of the literary act is a consciousness of language. Whether or not the writer is given to abstract reflexion, there is in literature itself a metaliterary dimension.» In his article on the Evolution of Literary Theory, Tzvetan Todorov examines the relation between the «discourse on Literature» and the object of that discourse: literature. Whereas exegesis concerns itself with the Elucidation and explanation of an historically given object, theory itself constitutes its object. Theory then is in turn seen to be historically informed. From the Poetics of Aristotle, through the medieval hermeneuts, the Renaissance concern with genres, Todorov traces the development of the theoretical discourse which proposes literature as its object. Only in the romantic period is a theory of literature, in the strict sense, elaborated. In the 20th century this theory is further influenced by other emergent disciplines :Marxism, psychoanalysis etc. The final pages of Todorov's paper consider in detail the impact of structuralism, particularly in France, on the literary theoretical discourse. He concludes with reference to the changes taking place currently. According to Todorov, it is in the «idea of genre» that the «transformation will take place.»]

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