Theory/Literature/Culture: The Legacy of Literary Theory in the “Post‑Theoretical” Age


Abstract: In After Theory, Terry Eagleton claimed that literary and cultural studies are now in their post‑theoretical age. Since then, more and more voices have echoed his statement. As Jonathan Culler put it as early as 2000 (The Literary in Theory), we are very much aware of the end of our faith in “high theory.” However, this proves not only that theory isn’t dead yet, but also that theory, be it literary or cultural, lives on implicitly or rather explicitly in the analytical, critical or hermeneutical approaches that are nowadays at the core of the discourse on literature and culture. Starting from these assumptions, this paper seeks to portray what we see today as the legacy of the theoretical discourse on literature and culture in the 20th century.

Keywords: literary theory, post‑theory, poetics, literary studies