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Literary Theories - A Guide: Deconstruction

Provides links to a variety of mostly free resource information about various literary theories. The resources are in a variety of formats: Websites, PDF, videos, PowerPoint, RSS feeds, Podcasts, etc.

Important Theorists

  • Roland Barthes
  • Jean Baudrillard
  • Homi Bhabha
  • Judith Butler
  • Helene Cixous
  • Giles Deleuze 
  • Felix Guattari
  • Paul de Man
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Michel Foucault
  • Barbara Johnson
  • Julia Kristeva

Powerpoint Presentations

Deconstruction Lesson Plans


Photo of Carlin Walton, woman with long blonde hair.

Carlin Walton graduated from Florida State University with a degree in English Education and is currently seeking her Master’s Degree in English at Bowie State University in Bowie, Maryland.  She has been a teacher for four years, teaching sixth to twelfth grade in Language Arts, Literature, and Journalism.


What is Deconstruction?

Head-shot photo of Derrida in black and white.

Deconstruction, in essence, allows the reader to “take apart” a text in order to decipher a new meaning.  It rejects traditional readings and instead, calls readers to seek out contradictory viewpoints and analysis.  There is a focus on the actual rhetoric and verbiage of the text as opposed to looking for the author’s intent.  When looking through a deconstruction lens, a reader would pay close attention to word choice and syntax, as so many words have multiple connotations and denotations.  The reader would look for meaning, not only hidden, but possibly unintended by the author.  “Deconstructionist critics probe beneath the finished surface of a story.  Having been written by a human being with unresolved conflicts and contradictory emotions, a story may disguise rather than reveal the underlying anxieties or perplexities of the author.  Below the surface, unresolved tensions or contradictions may account for the true dynamics of the story.” (Guth & Rico p. 336)  To deconstruct a text is to show that it may have multiple meanings associated with it; there is not one correct reading, but a myriad of possibilities.


Derrida - Defining Deconstruction

Literary Theory RSS

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Important Books

Titles with a CALL NUMBER are available to quailified users in Bowie's Thurgood Marshall Library or through the USMAI consortuim of 15 Maryland libraries. 

Online Resources

Google Scholar

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