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Literary Criticism Project

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Elizabeth Cahill

on 30 November 2012

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Transcript of Literary Criticism Project

1930's Literary Criticism By Elizabeth Cahill Deconstruction Formalists consider literary works to be freestanding, self-contained objects whose meaning can be found in the complex network of relations between its parts (allusions, images, rhythms, sounds, etc.) 1920's 1940's 1950's 1960's 1970's 1980's 1990's 2000's Marxist Criticism Formalism The New Criticism Feminist Criticism In Contrast.... Psychoanalytic Criticism Reader-Response Criticism The New Historicism involves the close reading of texts in order to demonstrate that any given text has irreconcilably contradictory meanings, rather than being a unified, logical whole. Structuralism Queer Theory The American Approach to Formalism Formalism arose.... Formalism flourished... Formalism is a general term
covering several similar types
of literary criticism such as... Critical Approaches Deconstruction Feminist Criticism The New Historicism Psychoanalytic Criticism Reader-Response Criticism Structuralism Marxist Criticism The New Criticism Formalism Post-colonial Criticism Queer Theory Formalists focus on a literary work's intrinsic nature, concentrating their analyzes on the interplay and relationships between the text’s essential verbal elements. They study the form of the work (as opposed to its content), although form to a formalist can connote anything from genre. Formalism developed largely in reaction to the practice of interpreting literary texts by relating them to "extrinsic" issues, such as the historical circumstances and politics of the era in which the work was written. Although the term formalism was coined by critics to disparage the movement, it is now used simply as a descriptive term. Deconstruction was both created and has been profoundly influenced by the French philosopher on language, Jacques Derrida. Derrida, who coined the term deconstruction, argues that in Western culture, people tend to think and express their thoughts in terms of binary oppositions. Although its ultimate aim may be to criticize Western logic, deconstruction arose as a response to structuralism and formalism. New historicists, like formalists and their critics, acknowledge the importance of the literary text, but they also analyze the text with an eye to history. Or common and mutually exclusive pairs such as, black/white, masculine/feminine, beginning/end, and conscious/unconscious. - a theory of humankind in which all elements of human culture, including literature, may be understood as parts of a system of signs. Let's take a look back in time at the most influential literary criticisms of this century! Starting with.... Formalists continue to seek to be objective in their analysis, focusing on the work itself and eschewing external considerations. When did Formalism develop? What kind of Questions would a Formalist Ask? Characteristics When was Formalism popular? What did formalism directly influence? Major Proponents These European structuralists attempted to develop a semiology, or semiotics (science of signs). Roman Jakobson Claude Lévi-Strauss Roland Barthes Barthes, among others, sought to recover literature and even language from the isolation in which they had been studied and to show that the laws that govern them govern all signs, from road signs to articles of clothing. Structuralism was heavily influenced by linguistics, especially by the pioneering work of Ferdinand de Saussure. What was structuralism influenced by? Model of Ferdinand de Saussure's Theory Literary Devices Patterns Russian Formalism Victor Shklovsky Victor Erlich
Russian Formalism: History - Doctrine, 1955 R.S. Crane - Critics and Criticism: Ancient and Modern, 1952 Neo-Aristotelianism (Chicago School of Criticism) Norman Maclean - teaching at U. of C. How does the work use imagery
to develop its own symbols? How are the various parts of
the work interconnected? How do the rhythms and/or rhyme schemes of a poem contribute
to the meaning or effect of the piece? The New Criticism received its name from John Crowe Ransom’s 1941 book The New Criticism. 1940's 1950's New Criticism reached its height. 1920's 1930's The foundations of the New Criticism were laid in books and essays. I. A. Richards - Practical Criticism, 1929 William Empson - Seven Types of Ambiguity ,1930 T. S. Eliot -"The Function of Criticism," 1933 The approach was significantly developed later, however, by a group of American poets and critics R.P. Blackmur Cleanth Brooks Robert Penn Warren Characteristics It stresses close textual analysis and viewing the text as a carefully crafted, orderly object containing formal, observable patterns. New Critics are more likely than certain other critics to believe and say that the meaning of a text can be known objectively. New Criticism has often been called the objective approach to literature because.... New Critics pay special attention to... images symbols sound effect and rhythms in poetry literary devices - irony New Critics emphasize that the structure of a work should not be divorced from meaning, viewing the two as constituting a quasi-organic unity. Through deconstruction, Derrida aims to erase the boundary between binary oppositions—and to do so in such a way that the hierarchy implied by the oppositions is thrown into question. Derrida rejected the structuralist belief that texts have identifiable "centers" of meaning—a belief structuralists shared with formalists. The new historicism developed during the 1980s, largely in reaction to the text-only approach pursued by formalist New Critics and the critics who challenged the New Criticism in the 1970s. New historicist critics have erased the line dividing historical and literary materials, showing not only that the production of one of William Shakespeare’s historical plays was both a political act and a historical event, but also that the coronation of Elizabeth I was carried out with the same care for staging and symbol lavished on works of dramatic art. Also, the new historicism differs from the historical criticism of the 1930s and 1940s. It is informed by the poststructuralist and reader-response theory of the 1970s, as well as by the thinking of feminist, cultural, and Marxist critics whose work was also "new" in the 1980s. They view history as a social science like anthropology and sociology, whereas older historicists tended to view history as literature's "background" and the social sciences as being properly historical. Many new historicists have acknowledged a profound indebtedness to the writings of Michel Foucault, a French philosophical historian. Foucault brought together incidents and phenomena from areas normally seen as unconnected, encouraging new historicists and new cultural historicists to redefine the boundaries of historical inquiry. Other Major Proponents that have influenced new historicists include.. And the Soviet critic, Mikhail Bakhtin, who influenced Jerome McGann. The British cultural critic, Raymond Williams, who influenced Stephen Greenblatt. The German Marxist critic, Walter Benjamin, who influenced Brook Thomas. 1980's Feminist criticism became a dominant force in Western literary studies in the late 1970s, when feminist theory more broadly conceived was applied to linguistic and literary matters. Since the early 1980s, feminist literary criticism has developed and diversified in a number of ways and is now characterized by a global perspective. French feminist criticism garnered much of its inspiration from Simone de Beauvoir’s seminal book, Lé Deuxiéme Sexe (1949; The Second Sex). Beauvoir argued that associating men with humanity more generally (as many cultures do) relegates women to an inferior position in society. Key Elements "feminist critique" is examining how women characters are portrayed in literature "gynocriticism" is the studying of writings by women and examining the female literary tradition to find out how women writers across the ages have perceived themselves and imagined reality. 1990's The French, American, and British approaches thoroughly critiqued, influenced, and assimilated one another that nationality no longer automatically signaled a practitioner’s approach, as it used to in the 1970's when culture gave rise to crucial differences among women across space and time. Today’s critics seldom focus on "woman" as a relatively monolithic category; rather, they view "women" as members of different societies with different concerns. Psychoanalytic criticism originated in the work of Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud, who pioneered the technique of psychoanalysis. Freud developed a language that described, a model that explained, and a theory that encompassed human psychology. His theories are directly and indirectly concerned with the nature of the unconscious mind. 1950's Psychoanalytic criticism written before 1950 tended to psychoanalyze the individual author.

Literary works were read—sometimes unconvincingly—as fantasies that allowed authors to indulge repressed wishes, to protect themselves from deep-seated anxieties, or both. After 1950, psychoanalytic critics began to emphasize the ways in which authors create works that appeal to readers’ repressed wishes and fantasies. Consequently, they shifted their focus away from the author’s psyche toward the psychology of the reader and the text. Major Proponets D.W. Winnicott Jacques Lacan Norman Holland Norman Holland's theories, concerned more with the reader than with the text, helped to establish.... encompasses various approaches to literature that explore and seek to explain the diversity (and often divergence) of readers' responses to literary works. Louise Rosenblatt is often credited with pioneering the approaches of reader- response criticism in her book, Literature as Exploration (1938). Louise Rosenblatt Other Major Proponets Include... The Verbal Icon (1954) Unlike Formalists, who had no interest in what a work of literature makes a reader "live through," and who spoke of "the poem itself," the "concrete work of art," and the "real poem..." Stanley Fish's early work is seen by some as marking the true beginning of contemporary reader-response criticism. The German critic Wolfgang Iser argues that texts contain gaps (or blanks) that powerfully affect the reader, who must explain them, connect what they separate, and create in his or her mind aspects of a work that aren’t in the text but are incited by the text. Other reader-response critics define the reader differently. Wayne Booth uses the phrase the implied reader to mean the reader "created by the work." Iser also uses the term the implied reader but substitutes the educated reader for what Fish calls the intended reader. Since the mid-1970s, reader-response criticism has evolved into a variety of new forms.

Subjectivists like David Bleich, Norman Holland, and Robert Crosman have viewed the reader’s response not as one "guided" by the text but rather as one motivated by deep-seated, personal, psychological needs. Fish has moved away from reader-response criticism as he had initially helped define it, focusing on "interpretive strategies" held in common by "interpretive communities."

Fish’s shift in focus is in many ways typical of changes that have taken place within the field of reader-response criticism—a field that, because of those changes, is increasingly being referred to as reader-oriented criticism. WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT? Reader-response critics view literature and literary work in a redefined way that focuses on how something can only exist meaningfully in the mind of the reader, and this follows with a catalyst of mental events. In "Literature in the Reader: Affective Stylistics" (1970), he argued that any school of criticism that sees a literary work as an object, claiming to describe what it is and never what it does, misconstrues the very essence of literature and reading.
William K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley used the term affective fallacy to define as erroneous the very idea that a reader’s response is relevant to the meaning of a literary work. How has reader-response criticism evolved? Postcolonial Criticism A type of cultural criticism, postcolonial criticism usually involves the analysis of literary texts produced in countries and cultures that have come under the control of European colonial powers at some point in their history. Postcolonial studies, a type of cultural studies, refers more broadly to the study of cultural groups, practices, and discourses—including but not limited to literary discourses—in the colonized world. In the essay "Postcolonial Criticism" (1992), Homi K. Bhabha has shown how certain cultures (mis)represent other cultures, thereby extending their political and social domination in the modern world order. In Orientalism (1978), Edward Said, a pioneer of postcolonial criticism and studies, focused on the way in which the colonizing First World has invented false images and myths of the Third (postcolonial) World Examples of postcolonial critics and pioneers What influenced post-colonial criticism? Postcolonial criticism has been influenced by deconstruction, which has challenged not only hierarchical, binary oppositions such as West/East and North/South but also the notions of superiority associated with the first term of each opposition. Postcolonial criticism has been influenced by Marxist thought Postcolonial criticism has been influenced by the work of Michel Foucault (whose theories about the power of discourses have influenced the new historicism). Marxist criticism is a type of criticism in which literary works are viewed as the product of work and whose practitioners emphasize the role of class and ideology as they reflect, propagate, and even challenge the prevailing social order. How did Marxist Criticism originate? Marxism began with Karl Marx, the nineteenth-century German philosopher best known for Das Kapital, the seminal work of the communist movement. Marx was also the first Marxist literary critic, writing critical essays in the 1830s on such writers as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and William Shakespeare. Major Proponets In The German Ideology, Marx and Friedrich Engels discuss the relationship between the arts, politics, and basic economic reality in terms of a general social theory. Of those critics active in the Soviet Union after the expulsion of Trotsky and the triumph of Stalin, two stand out: Mikhail Bakhtin and Georg Lukács. Economics, they argue, provides the base, or infrastructure, of society, from which a superstructure consisting of law, politics, philosophy, religion, and art emerges. Russia produced revolutionaries like Vladimir Lenin, who shared not only Marx's interest in literature but also his belief in its ultimate importance. Leon Trotsky, Lenin's comrade in revolution, took a strong interest in literary matters as well, publishing Literature and Revolution (1924), which is still viewed as a classic of Marxist literary criticism. Lukács, a Hungarian who converted to Marxism in 1919, appreciated pre revolutionary realistic novels that broadly reflected cultural "totalities" and were populated with characters representing human "types" of the author's place and time. Bakhtin viewed language—especially literary texts—in terms of discourses and dialogues. A novel written in a society in flux, for instance, might include an official, legitimate discourse, as well as one infiltrated by challenging comments. 1970's THE END! Queer theory is heavily influenced by the work of... Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theory of 'queerness' itself. Queer Characteristics Queer theory builds both upon feminist challenges to the idea that gender is part of the essential self and upon gay/lesbian studies' close examination of the socially constructed nature of sexual acts and identities. Whereas gay/lesbian studies focused its inquiries into "natural" and "unnatural" behaviour with respect to homosexual behaviour, queer theory expands its focus to encompass any kind of sexual activity or identity that falls into normative and deviant categories. The Influences Of Queer Theory Queer theory is a field of post-structuralist critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of queer studies and Women's studies. Lauren Berlant Gloria Anzaldúa Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick Judith Butler
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