Literary theory is the study of the nature of the literature and methodologies for analysing this subject. Since the 19th century, the topic includes consideration of moral philosophy, intellectual history and social prophecy.
Literary theory relates to any principle derived from internal examinations of texts that can be applied in multiple interpretive contexts.
The discipline relates to the history of philosophy and there is an evident connection with Plato's work ‘The Cratylus’, in which the philosopher outlines the relationship between words and the objects.
The practice of literary theory become a profession during the 20th century. However, the concepts have old origins related to the ancient Greek, India, Rome and Iraq.
As well as this, during the 18th and 19th centuries, the concept has been influenced by philosophical theories.
Only between the 1960s and 1980s, the term started becoming popular among the academic disciplines and many university literature departments begun to study and teach the theory.
Over the time, different types of literary theories have been outlined. These are lenses to understand a text from different perspectives.
The most adopted theory is Formalism or the new criticism which support the fact that there is always a right answer within a text. As well as this, it focuses on literary features such as imagery, tone, style and structure and asserts that there is always a unifying theme in every work.
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