Follows classical theory of rhetoric (= art of persuasion) 5 part process:
invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery
Art as an expression of feelings:
“For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” William Wordsworth in “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (1800)
Art as an expression of the personal subconscious
Sigmund Freud, “The Interpretation of Dreams” (1900) → psychoanalytical criticism
Art as an expression of the collective unconscious C.G. Jung, archetypes, archetypal images
The work of art studied in itself, as a closed system: internal structure, form, internal consistency - its "intrinsic" rather than "extrinsic" qualities.
art for art’s sake (l’art pour l’art)
No one theory can explain all works
(The essay is an introduction to his book on the Romantics: The Mirror and the Lamp, 1953
M.H. Abrams, “Orientation of critical theories”
The editorial art - establishing the text
“The aim of a critical edition should be to present the text, so far as the available evidence permits, in the form in which we may suppose that it would have stood in a fair copy, made by the author himself, of the work as he finally intended it.”
W. W. Greg, The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare
(rev. edn. Oxford 1954)
A design or plan in the author's mind:
“We argued that the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art, and it seems to us that this is a principle which goes deep into some differences in the history of critical attitude.”
“The Intentional Fallacy” by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley (1946) In: The Verbal Icon: studies in the meaning of poetry
“The Affective Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does) [...] It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological effects of the poem an ends in impressionism and relativism. [...] Plato's feeding and watering of the passions was an early example of affective theory, and Aristotle's countertheory of catharsis was another”
“The Affective Fallacy” by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley (1949) In: The Verbal Icon: studies in the meaning of poetry (also In: Lodge's 20th c. Literary Criticism)
“Literary criticism has in the present day become a profession, - but it has ceased to be an art. Its object is no longer that of proving that certain literary work is good and other literary work is bad, in accordance with rules which the critic is able to define. English criticism at present rarely even pretends to go so far as this. It attempts, in the first place, to tell the public whether a book be or be not be worth public attention; and, in the second place, so to describe the purport of the work as to enable those who have not time or inclination for reading to feel that by a short cut they have become acquainted with its contents. Both these pojects, if fairly well carried out, are salutary.”
Anthony Trollope, Autobiography (1883), ch. xiv
“Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art... The temptation to interpret Marienbad should be resisted. What matters in Marienbad in the pure, untranslateable, sensuous immediacy of some of its images, and its vigorous if narrow solution to certain problems of cinematic form... In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.” Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation (1967)
We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things.
Quoted in Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences”
, Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (London: Routledge Classics, 2001) page 351-370:351.
An example: gender studies
Mimetic approach: the way the work represents gender issues in society
Pragmatic approach: the way the work can help raising awareness and show alternative models of relating to gender issues
Expressive approach: the way the author expresses the experience of being a woman, a man, a human being of a specific gender
Objective approach: e.g.,écriture féminine
(an aside about basic terms)
female ≠ feminine ≠ feminist
biological vs socio-cultural vs political
context and terminology
feminism ≠ gender studies
- political vs academic context and terminology,
- focus on women vs focus on gendered experience
of being human
feminist literary criticism
gender studies in literature
Gender as performance
Bodies That Matter: On the
Discursive Limits of Sex, 1993
The language of literary criticism
“A statement may be used for the sake of the reference, true or false, which it causes. This is the scientific use of language. But it may also be used for the sake of the effects in emotion and attitude produced by the reference it occasions. This is the emotive use of language.” I.A. Richards, “The two uses of language” (ch. 34 from The Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) also in Lodge's 20th Century Literary Criticism
BBI-FLI-101E INTRODUCTION TO LITERATURE IN ENGLISH
PLEASE READ THE TASKS CAREFULLY.
I PLEASE PROVIDE A BRIEF DEFINITION (1-2 LINES) FOR THE FOLLOWING TERMS
(10 X 1 POINT):
II PLEASE EXPLAIN IN A PARAGRAPH WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT THE FOLLOWING TERMS
(2 X 3 POINTS):
III TECHNICAL ANALYSIS. PLEASE READ THE POEM BELOW CAREFULLY.
A) TECHNICAL FOCUS. Please list 3 possible ways you could write a meaningful analysis of the following text. Mention the technical focus for each of your possible analyses and write a title for each. Make sure you choose appropriate approaches that would help toward an interpretation, since the next task will be to actually write one of the 3 analyses you suggest here. (3 X 2 POINT):
B) ANALYSE TEXT IN DETAIL CONCENTRATING ON ONE OF THE FEATURES YOU LISTED ABOVE. (PLEASE USE SEPARATE SHEET.) (10 POINTS, SEE TABLE BELOW)
Argumentation (make points, prove them with quotes from text) 2 points
Use of critical terminology (apply terms learnt for the exam) 3 points
Use of course material (apply concepts discussed in lectures) 3 points
Essay format (one page, paragraphs, beginning, middle, ending) 2 points
What follows has not been discussed in the lecture but may provide useful - feel free to continue.
Literary criticism as a systematic study
“It is clear that criticism cannot be a systematic study unless there is a quality in literature which enables it to be so. We have to adopt the hypothesis, then, that just as there is an order of nature behind the natural sciences, so literature is not a piled aggregate of 'works' but an order of 'words'.”
Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (1957)
Vassilis Lambropoulos, David Neal
Miller , eds.
Twentieth-Century Literary Theory: An Introductory Anthology
This world, by waters sent from thee, my heaven dissolvèd so.
O ! more than moon,
Draw not up seas to drown me in thy sphere;
Weep me not dead, in thine arms, but forbear
To teach the sea, what it may do too soon;
Let not the wind
To do me more harm than it purposeth :
Since thou and I sigh one another's breath,
Whoe'er sighs most is cruellest, and hastes the other's death.
Charles Tennyson Turner (1808-1879) Letty’s Globe
When Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year, And her young artless words began to flow, One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know, By tint and outline, all its sea and land. She patted all the world; old empires peep'd Between her baby fingers; her soft hand Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd, And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss; But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry-- 'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!' And while she hid all England with a kiss, Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.
Charles Tennyson Turner (1808-1879) Letty’s Globe
When Letty had scarce pass'd her third glad year, And her young artless words began to flow, One day we gave the child a colour'd sphere Of the wide earth, that she might mark and know, By tint and outline, all its sea and land. She patted all the world; old empires peep'd Between her baby fingers; her soft hand Was welcome at all frontiers. How she leap'd, And laugh'd and prattled in her world-wide bliss; But when we turn'd her sweet unlearned eye On our own isle, she raised a joyous cry - 'Oh! yes, I see it, Letty's home is there!' And while she hid all England with a kiss, Bright over Europe fell her golden hair.
Wilfred L. Guerin, Earle Labor, Lee Morgan, Jeanne C.
Reesman, John R. Willingham:
A Handbook of Critical Approaches to Literature. 4th