introduction to literary criticism literary criticism literary criticism is the art of judging and...

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  • INTRODUCTION TO LITERARY CRITICISMLITERARY CRITICISMLiterary criticism is the art of judging and commenting on the qualities and character of literary works.

  • PURPOSES OF LITERALY CRITICISMTo help us solve a problem in readingTo help us choose the better of two conflicting readingsTo enable us to form judgments about literature




  • ADVANTAGESThis works well for some works which are political in natureAlso works in order to place allusions in their proper classical political biblical background

  • DISADVANTAGESNew critics criticize it because according to historic approach the value or meaning of the work maybe determines by Intentional faliacyThis approach tends to make it relative rather than universal.

  • MORAL/PHILOSOPHICAL APPROACH These critics believe that the larger purpose of literature is to teach morality and to probe philosophical issues.Mathew Arnold: high seriousnessPlato: Literature must exhibit moralism and utilizationHorace:Literature should be delightful and instructive

  • ADVANTAGESFor works which have obvious moral philosophy When considering themes of worksIt does not view literature merely as art isolated from all moral implications literature.

  • DISADVANTAGESDetractors:This approach is judgemental.Literature should be judged on its artistic merit.

  • MIMETIC APPROACH Mimetic critics ask how well the work of literature accords with the real worldIs it accurate?Is it correct?Is it moral?Does it show how people really act?

    Mimetic approach includes:Moral criticism.Psychological criticism.Feminist criticism.

  • FORMALISM/NEW CRITICISMAll information essential to the interpretation of a work must be found within the work.No need to bring the information from the outside about authors life,history and politics of the time.It is not interested in the piece of literatures effect on the reader.It does not observe a piece of literature through the lens of feminism,psychology & mythology.

  • FORMALIST CRITIC STUDYIrony.Paradox.Imagery.Metaphor.Settings.Characters.SymbolsPoint of view.

  • TERMS USED IN NEW CRITICISMTensionIntentional fallacy.Affective fallacy.External form.Objective correlative.

  • ADVANTAGESThis approach makes literature time less.This can be done without much research.All approaches begin at this.

  • DISADVANTAGESText in isolation i-e cannot account for allusion.Out of context i-e a collection of rhetorical.

  • PSYCHOLOGICAL APPROACHCritics look at the psychological motivation of the characters or the author although the former one is considered a more valid approach.(a) Freudian Approach:Discusses influences of a characters id, ego & superego.Discusses the sexual implications of symbols and imagery.Concave images.Phallic imagesOedipus complex.Freuds philosophy of Child development i-e oral stage,anal stage & genital stage.(b) Jungian Approach:Archetypal criticism.Psychologic critics concerned with Jungs process of inviduationSelf including shadow(villian-the darker self),persona(hero-the social self) and the anima(heroine-the soul image).

  • ADVANTAGESCan help in understanding works where characters have obvious psychological image.Knowing about the writers psychological approach can give us an insight into his work.

  • DISADVANTAGESA work of art can become a psychological case study.Tend to see sex in everything.Some works do not tend readily to this approach.

  • MYTHOLOGICAL/ARCHETYPAL/SYMBOLIC APPROACH.This approach says that there is a collection of symbols,images,characters and motifs that woke the same response in all people because Jung believes in collective unconcious.Myth critics identify these patterns.discuss how they function in the works.Believe that they are the source of literatures power. e g Desert:emptiness,death and hopelessness.Red:blood,passion,sacrifice.Green:growth,fertility.

  • ADVANTAGESUniversality.Works well with the worls that are highly symbolic.

  • DISADVANTAGESFocus on the archetype and ignore the artaspect of a piece of literature.

  • FEMINIST APPROACHFocuses on Impact of gender on writing and reading.Begins with a critique of patriarchal culture.Often political and revisionistThey say that gender determines everything or just the opposite.They argue that male fears are portrayed through female characters.

  • ELAINE SHOWALTERS THEORYShe argues that literary sub cultures go through three phasesof development.These stages for literature by/about women are: (a) The feminine stage(immitation of the prevailing modes of domination). (b) The feminist stage(protest against the prevailing standard). (c) The female stage(phase of self discovery).a turning inward.a search for identity.

  • ADVANTAGESWomen have been underpresented in literature this approach redreses the problem.

  • DISADVANTAGESTurns literary criticims into a political battle field.It ignores other merits of the works they considered patriarchalThey relegate women literature to a particular class thus removing it from the main stream.

  • READER RESPONSE CRITICISM APPROACHIt analyzes the readers response and its role in the production of meaning.In the case a text has no meaning untill it is read by the reader.This takes into account the strategies employed by the author to elicit certain responses from readers.It denies the possibility that works are universal.

  • ADVANTAGESThis critical theory recognizes that different people view works differently.Peoples interpretation change over time.

  • DISADVANTAGESIt makes the interpretation too subjective.

  • STRUCTURALISMView literature as a system of signs.Try to decipher the organisational codes which they believe in all literature.

  • DECONSTRUCTIONThey make interpretations based on the political or social implications of language rather than examining an authors intention.

    **with the help of historical approach.Formalist approach helps us to decide dissolution of society in Lord of flies.Helps us to judge if a piece of literature is good or not.Formalist approach on John Donnes poem & mimetic approach on The west Indian