Indispensible for students of literature & literary theory. Designed principally for undergraduates, and providing a broad selection of western literary theory.
Not a substitute for actually reading all of the seminal texts, this volume will certainly fill the need for knowledge of the history of theory.
One of the best individual selections is Mazzoni's reading of Plato, in discussing Dante, regarding the functions of the fantastic
and the icastic
. The latter concerns the representation of things which have been found to exist, whereas the former concerns the representation of untrue things. It gets a bit more complicated than that, but the conclusion, following Aristotle, is that we should prefer the representation of credible impossibles to incredible possibles. Very slick.