Samuel Johnson, “On Fiction” (1750): moral value and responsibility of the novel; notion of aesthetic unities and catharsis, derived from Classical documents and eighteenth-century empiricism

1920s and 1930s: Historical Criticism

1940s and 1950s: New Criticism but also Marxist Criticism, particularly in England

1950s and 1960s: Rise of Structuralism (and Semotics)  but also Freudian Analysis

Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (1957): structuralist analysis

1950s, 1960s, 1970s: Rise and Dominance of Poststructuralism, but also interest in Narratology (a poetics of narrative that has its roots in structuralism)

1960s and 1970s: Rise of identity based literary criticism and its “resisting readers”

Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction (1961): rejection of New Criticism’s erasure of the author; narrative studies

Barthes, “The Reality Effect” (1969): pivot from structuralism to poststructuralism

Late 1970s and 1980s: Rise of Deconstruction and Derrida, as well as Foucault [Discourse Analysis, with roots in Marxist Criticism]

Robert, from Origins of the Novel (1980): novel as an “upstart” multiplicitous form

Belsey, from Critical Practice (1980): novel as an ideological construct and tool

Culler, “Toward a Theory of Non-Genre Literature” (1981): value of novels that resist meaning and the notion of genre itself; quotes Barthes “the unconsciousness of the unreality of language”; embrace of play

Novak, On Moll Flanders (1983): Historical consciousness (i.e. reception history); application of close reading to elaborate upon linguistic complexity and play

Levine, from The Realistic Imagination (1983): insistence on the historical foundations of the novel; particular focus on authorial intentionality in relation to contemporary aims at the moment of composition

1980s and 1990s: Feminist Literary Criticism, Postcolonial Criticism, Queer Theory; identity based theory rooted now in poststructuralist discourse

Armstrong, from Desire and Domestic Fiction (1987): application of theories like Belsey’s

Bhabha, from The Location of Culture (1994): poststructuralist postcolonial theory

 Culler, A Short Introduction to Literary Theory (1997): summation

1990s and 2000s: New Historicismas well as a return to New Formalism and Reader-Response

McKeon, History and Theory of the Novel (2000): a return to a serious consideration of the historical foundations of the rise of the novel

Abbot, The Cambridge Companion to Narrative (2002): summation

Karavanta, article in Modern Fiction Studies (2012): influenced by critics including Derrida, Barthes, Fanon (and Bhabha)