Literature has a humanizing or civilizing mission, and the critic values work which furthers that end: promotes tolerance, social justice, sensitivity to individual wishes and talents, etc. 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. The other schools of literary theory, to varying degrees, embrace a postmodern view of language and reality that calls into serious question the objective referent of literary studies. The Formalist Approach Formalist Criticismemphasizes the form of a literary work to determine its meaning, focusing on literary elements and how they work to create meaning. The New Historicist Approach New Historicism: 1. A central concept in mythological criticism is the archetype, a symbol, character, situation, or image that evokes a deep universal response.
Just as you have a variety of writing strategies to use when you write, now you will have a variety of reading strategies to use when you read. Instead, they both reflect a more profound reality. There is no right or wrong answer to a reader response. Such analysis may be based from a variety of critical approaches or movements, e. After analyzing each part, the critic then describes how they work together to make give meaning theme to the text.
Texts are examined with an eye for how they reveal the economic and social realities, especially as they produce ideology and represent power or subversion. Between Men: English literature and Male Homosocial Desire. Johns Hopkins online guide: free access limited. Psychological critics may choose to focus on the creative process of the artist , the artist's motivation or behavior, or analyze fictional characters' motivations and behaviors. The Pleasure of the Text. This investigation includes the author's biography and the social milieu. Kennedy and Dana Gioia, Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama Standard critical thinking tools, so useful elsewhere, are readily adaptable to the study of literature.
They offer unique ways to analyze texts through specific perspectives or sets of principles. Critics study how different readers see the same text differently, and how religious, cultural, and social values affect readings. Plus--click on the Rhino for the interesting story about how the picture was created! Based on French practice of explication de texte, a method that emphasizes detailed examination and explanation. This short book is designed for students who are just beginning to learn about literary theory and criticism. There is, too, an irritating arrogance in some deconstructive criticism.
The Reader-Response Approach 2 Important Ideas in Reader-Response 1. The structure of ideas that enables criticism of a literary work may or may not be acknowledged by the critic, and the status of literary theory within the academic discipline of literary studies continues to evolve. That which proves the most illuminating is the usual answer. Deconstruction begins with the assumptions that the world is unknowable and that language is unstable, elusive, unfaithful. The current state of theory is such that there are many overlapping areas of influence, and older schools of theory, though no longer enjoying their previous eminence, continue to exert an influence on the whole. The latter was one hope of , which undercut the varied and apparently successful criticism of the nineteen fifties and sixties by adopting the approaches of philosophy and science.
More recent feminist and gender studies investigate social constructions related to gender as they appear in literature. The idea that any interpretation is valid or that the text is without its own integrity as a work of art is not what reader-response theorists suggest. It is based on the political theory of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973. New York: Hill and Wang, 1994. Literary language, partly by calling attention to itself as language, estranged the reader from the familiar and made fresh the experience of daily life.
Facts from the author's life are used to help the reader better understand the work; the focus is always on the literary work under investigation. It is concerned with the social content of literary works, pursuing such questions as: What cultural, economic or political values does the text implicitly or explicitly promote? An extreme example might be a Nazi appraisal of German writers which graded them crudely on their genetic makeup, from blonde Aryans good to eastern Jews atrocious. Of the Russian Formalist critics, Roman Jakobson and Viktor Shklovsky are probably the most well known. Holds that most of our literature presents a masculine-patriarchal view in which the role of women is negated or at best minimized. Russian Formalist Criticism: Four Essays.
Another critic might evaluate a poem in terms of its form. Formalist criticism is evaluative in that it differentiates great works of art from poor works of art. Taking as its premise that human societies and knowledge consist of texts in one form or another, cultural theory for better or worse is now applied to the varieties of texts, ambitiously undertaking to become the preeminent model of inquiry into the human condition. Some critics use the approach to explain fictional characters and others use it as a way of analyzing authors and the artistic process. Gender critics are interested in the social implications of gender roles and behavior, whether gender is an essential feature of one's sex or a social construct, and most recently with gay and lesbian studies. Perhaps the most famous use of the interrelationship between literature and psychoanalysis is Freud's use of the Greek myth of Oedipus to describe a stage of human development in which boys desire to kill the father and have sex with the mother--this is the well-known Oedipus complex. An analysis may follow from questions like, how do various elements work together to shape the effect on the reader? Introduction to types, bibliographies and Internet listings.