Literary Criticsm

Topics: Literary criticism, Literary theory, Literature Pages: 25 (7115 words) Published: October 30, 2012
• What is literature?
Literate/ literacy - able to read/write
Origin- from Latin “litteratura” (letter)

• literature with the small ‘l’
Literature - piece of writing/printed information on a particular subject

• literature with the big ‘L’
Literature - pieces of writing that are valued as works of art eg. Novels, plays, poems (contrast to technical books/ scientific/ academic writings)

• Literary - connected with literature eg Literary Criticism; Literary Theory • Literal - the basic or usual meaning of a word/phrase (compare to figurative language eg. Metaphor, irony, allegory)

In a broad sense — to mean compositions that tell stories, dramatize situations express emotions, analyze and advocate ideas.

❖ Literature - helps us grow - personally, intellectually

▪ ‘opens doors’ to a wide world/new experiences

▪ develops our imagination, increases understanding, power of sympathy

▪ see the beauty of the world around us

▪ links us with the cultural, philosophical, religious world

▪ recognize human dreams/struggles in different time and place

▪ develop mature sensibility, compassion for living beings

▪ appreciate the beauty of order/arrangement

▪ It exercises our emotions through concern, sympathy, interest, excitement, tension, regret, fear, laughter. Hope etc.

▪ Through experiences in reading. Literature shapes our goal and values by clarifying our own identities-positively through acceptance of the admirable in humans and negatively through rejection of the sinister.

▪ Literature – can also serve as a guide to life/ inculcate moral and ethical values and provides good examples to emulate. Whereas the negative examples serve as a reminder.


1. Literary Theory
• A set of principles or assumptions upon which our interpretation of a text is based. Our personal literary theory is our conscious or unconscious development of a mind-set (values, aesthetics, morals etc.) concerning our expectations when reading any type of literature. • To articulate this framework and piece together the various elements of our practical criticism into a coherent, unified body of knowledge is our literary theory. • Literary theory offers a variety of methodologies for us to interpret a text from different viewpoints. • The importance of literary theory (Bressler 1999)

1. Literary theory assumes that there is no such thing as an innocent reading of a text. Whether our response are emotional and spontaneous or well-reasoned and highly structured, all such interactions with and to a text are based on some underlying factors that cause us to respond to the text in a particular fashion. What elicits these responses or how a reader makes sense out of a text is at the heart of literary theory. 2. Because our reactions to any text have theoretical bases, all readers must have a literary theory. The methods we use to frame our personal interpretations of any text directly involve us in the process of literary criticism and theory, automatically making us literary critics. 3. Because many readers’ literary theory is more often than not unconscious, incomplete, ill-informed, and eclectic, their interpretations can easily be illogical, unsound and haphazard. A well-defined, logical, and clearly articulated theory enables readers to consciously develop their own personal methods of interpretation, permitting them to order, clarify, and justify their appraisals of a text in a consistent and logical manner. • The benefit of understanding literary theory - … theory can help us learn to see ourselves and our world in valuable new ways, ways that can influence how we educate our children, both as parents and teachers; how we view television, from the nightly news to situation comedies; how we behave as voters...
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