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Intro to Literary Criticism

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Kathryn C

on 5 April 2016

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Transcript of Intro to Literary Criticism

Intro to Literary Criticism
What is it?
A very basic way of thinking about literary theory is that these ideas act as different lenses critics use to view and talk about art, literature, and even culture.

These different lenses allow critics to consider works of art based on certain assumptions within that school of theory.

The different lenses also allow critics to focus on particular aspects of a work they consider important.
Descriptions of (some) Criticisms
Important things to remember...
A literary criticism is simply a lens to look through.
Source: https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/01/
Types of Literary Theory
There are many different types of literary theory/criticism. They include:

Marxist
Feminist
Post-Colonial
Reader-Response
Gender Studies and Queer Theory
Psychoanalytic
Marxist Criticism: Based on the theories of Karl Marx
(the father of Socialism)

This school of thought concerns itself with class differences (economic and otherwise) as well as the implications and complications of the capitalist system.


"Marxism attempts to reveal the ways in which our socioeconomic system is the ultimate source of our experience" (Tyson 277).


Marxist theorists are interested in answering the question: "Whom does it (the work) benefit? The elite? The middle class?


Marxist critics are also interested in how the lower or working classes are oppressed - in life and in literature.
Feminist Theory: 1960s - present
Concerned with the "ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson 83.)

Feminist critics look at how aspects of our culture are inherently patriarchal.

Feminist theory is also concerned with less obvious forms of marginalization, such as the exclusion of women writers from the literary canon.
Post-Colonial Criticism: 1990s - Present
Post-colonial critics are concerned with literature produced by colonial powers and works produced by those who were/are colonized.

Post-colonial theory looks at issues of power, economics, politics, religion, and culture and how these elements work in relation to colonial hegemony (western colonizers controlling the colonized.)
You can read a text (print and non-print) through a certain theoretical lens without being a proponent of that theory.
https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/722/1/
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