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An Introduction to Literary Criticism

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by

Morgan Martin

on 29 September 2014

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Transcript of An Introduction to Literary Criticism

An Introduction to Literary Criticism

What is Literary Criticism?
The way we look at a piece of literature
A way of reading and analyzing a text from different perspectives or lenses
A way to examine ideologies that are the foundation of the society in which we live

Historical
Requires that readers apply specific historical information from the time during which the text was written. Consider the following contexts:

Social
Political
Economic
Cultural
Societal
Intellectual
New Criticism/Formalism
Involves a close reading or explication - a detailed analysis of the text. All information essential to interpretation of the work must be found within the work itself. Nothing outside of the text matters. Consider the following elements:


Psychoanalytical
Deals with literature as an expression of personality, state of mind, feelings and desires of its author and characters.

A way of experiencing the subjectivity or consciousness of the author.

Requires referencing theories and complexes developed by psychologists:

Reader-response
Focuses on the interaction between the reader and the text as they read. This occurs in the reader's mind and his or her connections to the text. Factors include:
Viewing literature through a different lens
In photography, we use lenses to see the same photo in different ways.
Critical Lenses
Allow us to...

Ask what literature is, what it does, and what it is worth
See the author's point for writing
Develop a deeper understanding of a work
Understand relationships between authors, readers, and texts
See the literary work as a "multi-layered construct of meaning"
Talking about experiences enhances our enjoyment of them
Socrates said, "The life which is unexamined is not worth living."
Most lenses were created as an extension to or a contradiction of existing theories.
Word meanings
Tone
Mood
Figures of speech
Imagery

Symbolism
Irony
Setting
Characters
Point of view
Sigmund Freud
Abraham Maslow
Carl Jung
Personal Experience
Gender
Age
Race
Culture
Relationships
Thoughts
Attitudes
Moods
Just as photographers can use different lenses to view photographs, readers can use different lenses, or perspectives, to understand literature.
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