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Assn. in LIterary Crit.

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Assn. in LIterary Crit.
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  James C. Royo Eng29 (Literary Criticism) 10:00  –   11:00 Prof. Aileen Talidano 1.   Explain Literary Criticism. Literary criticism is the evaluation, analysis, description, or interpretation of literary works. It is usually in the form of a critical essay, but in-depth book reviews can sometimes be considered literary criticism. Criticism may examine a particular literary work, or may look at an author's writings as a whole. 2.   Types of Literary Criticism Formalist Criticism --This type of criticism concerns itself with the parts of a text and how the parts fit together to make a whole. Because of this, it does not bring in any information outside of the text: biography of the author, historical or literary allusions, mythological patterns, or the psychoanalytical traits of the characters (except those traits specifically described in the text.) --The formalist critic examines each part of the text: the 46 chapters, the 15 parts, the characters, the settings, the tone, the point of view, the diction, the fictional world in which the characters live. After analyzing each part of the text, the critic then describes how they work together. Traditional Criticism In traditional criticism, you examine how the author’s life, his or h er biographical information, is reflected in the work. You research all facets of his background and find traces of his or her experiences shown in the text. Question how the work sho ws pieces of the author’s past, his/her interests, biases, etc. Sociological Criticism This type of criticism can include discussions of society, of social relationships, and of historical events which might affect society during the time period of the work. In Sociological criticism, you should examine all types of politics--for example Marxism, feminism, totalitarianism, primitivism--not just conservatism and liberalism. Concentrate on how  societies in the various political “isms” distinguish  between members of various races, social classes, sexes, or cultures. The sociological critic looks for themes of oppression and liberation; such themes may concern an individual, a family, a small group, or an entire society. Marxism  * (cover under sociological)   ãThe 'Frankfurt School' a nd Walter Benjamin :(Horkheimer, Adorno)...Literature the only place where totalitarian society can be resisted...Detachment gives significance and power...Popular art an expression of the economic system which shapes it. Modern technology has profoundly altered the status of art...No longer the preserve of a special elite...New media destroy the religious feeling toward art...Art becomes designed for reproducibility ...Art more open to  politics. Structuralist   ãEmphasis: How works can be understood, the conventions that enable readers to make sense of them. Examine how the work is built, constructed. ãThere are rules that govern interpretation of texts. Look at exposition, flashbacks, foreshadowing, syntax, diction. Ask yourself, “How is the work put together to develop meaning? ãTo be a  skilled reader means that one knows the conventions of meaning which allow a person to make sense of it   Feminist Criticism ãWomen readers bring different perceptions/expectations to literary experience ãChallenge to the canon --the whole body of texts that make up the tradition ãConcerned with literary representations of the female...exclusion of the female voice from literature, criticism, theory ãStereotypes of women   ãImages of women in literature...exclusion of women from literary history in patriarc hal societies...connection between social and literary mistreatment of women... ã Females obscured by patriarchal” values...Search for the female imagination, the female  plot ãChallenging of the most basic assumptions    Rhetorical Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, and the rhetorical approach attempts to understand how the content of the poem, which is more than intellectual meaning, is put across. How arguments are presented, attitudes struck, evidence marshalled, various appeals made to the reader  —   all are relevant. Stylistic Style is the manner in which something is presented, and this approach concentrates on the peculiarities of diction and imagery employed, sometimes relating them to literary and social theory. Metaphorical Metaphor enters into consideration in most approaches, but here the emphasis is deeper and more exclusive, attention focusing on the ways that metaphors actually work: metaphors are not regarded as supporting or decorative devices, but actually constituting the meaning. Post-structuralism In contrast to the New Critics approach, which stresses interdependence and organic unity, the Poststructuralist will point to the dissonances and the non sequiturs, and suggest how the poem works by evading or confronting traditional expectations. Myth Theory The approach derives from Northrop Frye and attempts to place poems into categories or subcategories into which all literature is divide by archetypal themes  —   e.g. the myth of the hero, his subjugation of enemies, his fall. The approach somewhat anticipated structuralism,  draws on various psychologies, and is less concerned with isolating what is special than showing what it has in common with works in a similar category. 3.   Theories of Literary Criticism Schools of Criticism Suppose we bear that question in mind in surveying the various schools of criticism. There are many, but could perhaps be grouped as: Cambridge School (1920s  –  1930s):   A group of scholars at Cambridge University who rejected historical and biographical analysis of texts in favor of close readings of the texts themselves. Chicago School (1950s):   A group, formed at the University of Chicago in the 1950s, that drew on Aristotle’s distinctions between the various ele ments within a narrative to analyze the relation between form and structure. Critics and Criticisms: Ancient and Modern (1952) is the major work of the Chicago School. Deconstruction (1967  –  present):   A philosophical approach to reading, first advanced  by Jacques Derrida that attacks the assumption that a text has a single, stable meaning. Derrida suggests that all interpretation of a text simply constitutes further texts, which means there is no “outside the text” at all. Therefore, it is impossible for a t ext to have stable meaning. The practice of deconstruction involves identifying the contradictions within a text’s claim to have a single, stable meaning, and showing that a text can be taken to mean a variety of things that differ significantly from what it purports to mean.
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