What comes to your mind when you hear the word “criticism”? Nowadays, most people look at criticism as something negative and personally, it has a negative connotation to me. Multimedia (for example, television, radio, etc.) has often depicted criticism as an antagonist. On reality TV shows, say, a singing competition, there is usually a panel of judges who criticize the contestants' performances particularly focusing on its fine points and flaws (more on the latter) and the audience usually “boos” the judges when they get antagonized by their criticisms. Also, people get nervous whenever they are given criticisms. For example, a student on a consultation day will most likely fidget when the instructor would give comments on an important term paper they were to submit for finals. Even if this kind of criticism is not necessarily destructive, it just gives this queasy, uncomfortable feeling whenever we hear it.
In fact, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines criticism as “an act of criticizing usually unfavorably.” This just shows that in the language of people (particularly those who speak English) “criticism” has evolved into something which has a negative connotation, when in fact it stemmed from something harmless. The English word “criticism” was derived from the French word “critique”, and in turn “critique” has roots from the Latin word “criticus” which means a judge, decider, or critic. The early English meaning of “criticism” was primarily literary criticism which would be the focus throughout this essay.
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Literary theory is mainly where literary criticism is drawn from. It uses the concepts from literary theory to form a literary criticism of a work. Literary theory is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of methods for analyzing literature. It would seem that they mean the same thing. In fact, there are debates which argue that these...
References: "Definition of Criticism." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 18 June 2013.
"Literary Criticism."The Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism. Ed. Michael
Groden, Martin Kreiswirth, and Imre Szeman. The Johns Hopkins University Press, n.d.
Web. 18 June 2013.
Culler, Jonathan. The Literary in Theory. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2007.
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