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An Introduction to Literary Criticism

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by

Morgan Martin

on 15 March 2017

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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
Lenses are different perspectives we use to understand and interpret texts
An examination of different parts of the text to form new understanding

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 different lenses
In photography, we use lenses to see the same photo in different ways.
Critical Lenses
Require us to...
Be open-minded
Step out of our comfort zones
Set aside our personal backgrounds and biases
Ask what literature is, what it does, and what it is worth
See a text as a "multi-layered construct of meaning"
Determine the author's purpose for writing the text
Understand relationships between authors, readers, and texts
Discuss our experiences and perspectives
Develop a deeper understanding of a text
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.
Socrates once said...
By that logic, perhaps the unexamined
text is not worth reading?
We must must examine texts to understand their meaning & importance.
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