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Re-thinking Theory offers a bold approach to literary studies, itself explicitly theoretical and yet making a searching critique of the modes, concepts and movements which comprise literary theory. Discussing key concepts such as ideology, signification and discourse, and analysing schools including that of F. R. Leavis, Althusserian Marxism, Derridean and Foucaultian poststructuralism, and New Historicism, the authors argue that there are major deficiencies in the conceptual foundations and the literary and political implications of much literary theory. These deficiencies are ascribed principally to three aspects of theoretical schools: the commitment to a non-referential view of language, the rejection of substantive accounts of the individual, and a repudiation of moral and aesthetic evaluation. The 'alternative account' offered by Professors Freadman and Miller incorporates the values renounced by this kind of literary theory and places a central emphasis on ethical discourse.