Critical Theory Archive: Collection Strengths

Major Topics

  • The Critical Theory Book Collection
    While the central focus of the Critical Theory Archive is to collect the personal papers of distinguished theorists, it also includes a selection of editions, including translations, of the published monographs by each of these theorists. Some of the principal topics represented in their books include these:
  • The René Wellek Library on the History of Literary Criticism
    Wellek's personal library of 7,000 volumes, many of them basic for the study of the history of criticism and literary theory. The collection is notable for its richness and depth of coverage of American, English, and Continental European works upon which Wellek relied in fashioning his eight-volume History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950. UCI's Wellek Library Lectures series was founded in honor of acquisition of the Wellek Library; a bibliography of each lecturer's work is available on the Libraries' website.

  • Rare Books on Aesthetics and Literary Theory
    Sometimes referred to as our "genealogy of theory collection," since it attempts to trace the development of the field of criticism and literary theory, this collection includes more than 350 volumes of aesthetics and criticism. Most were published in the 18th century in Great Britain. The collection includes well-known titles by canonical figures, such as William Hogarth and Joshua Reynolds, as well as works by as-yet-undiscovered authors.

Archival and Manuscript Collections

The theorists whose papers are held in the Archive represent various schools of thought, including Deconstruction (Jacques Derrida, Paul de Man, and Eugenio Donato), Reader-Reception Theory (Stanley Fish and Wolfgang Iser), Political Philosophy (Richard Rorty and Etienne Balibar) and Anglo-American Criticism (Ihab Hassan, Murray Krieger, and René Wellek).

All collections are cataloged and many have extensive, fully searchable guides available in the Online Archive of California (OAC).  The status of an unorganized, or unprocessed, collection is noted in ANTPAC and in the OAC. Please contact us in advance to regarding access to these collections.

Personal papers

Other Archival Collections