OVERVIEW LITERARY CRITICISM AUTHOR’S WORLD AUTHOR’S LIFE Psychological Historical, Biographical Moral BEYOND THE WORLD REAL WORLD Archetypal, Philosophical Feminist, Political Formalist, Genre LITERARY WORK OTHER LITERATURE Intertextual, Philosophical Archetypal AUDIENCE ReaderResponse Archetypal Criticism Identify mythic elements that give a word of literature a deeper resonance. What mythic elements of patterns—themes, characters, settings, symbols, imagery, plots, or versions of the hero’s quest are employed? How do they contribute to the work as a whole? Biographical Criticism Examines the relevance of a writer’s life and identity to the work. Assumes there is a relationship between a writers life and the literary work. Does biographical knowledge actually enrich our understanding of the literature. What does the literary work say about the author? Feminist Criticism Focuses on the way women are treated in a work of literature. Discusses the women’s role in the work-does it fill a stereotype? Or does it negate a stereotype? Formalism [New Criticism, Structuralism] The work itself the focus No need for historical context, biographical information, philosophical or psychological issues, political or moral messages Aesthetics Language, interactions of words, figures of speech, & symbols Focus is only on devices and craft. Close reading is essential Genre Criticism Study of the TYPE of literary work this is: fiction, essay, letter, satire, tragedy, comedy, etc. Ask yourself: How might one categorize the genre of this text? How does it exemplify or explode a conventional genre? Historical Criticism The work a reflection of the author’s (or characters’) life & times-shaped by the norms, fears, biases, attitudes and limitations of the day. Necessary to know about the author & the political, economical, & sociological context What historical research is necessary to understand this work fully? What historical knowledge adds depth to the meaning of the work? What insights does the work give us into history—the historuy of the author’s time, the history of the time in which the work is set, etc.? Moral Criticism This perspective is a time-honored belief about a writer’s responsibility to provoke moral thought and promote postivie moral values in readers. Think about: Does a work enlarge our moral imagination? Has the author presented a moral dilemma with all its contradictions and complexities? Does the work help us to underwstand others more deeply and connect with people and perspectives, places and times unlike our own? Philosophical Criticism Offers many different approaches to a text: placing a piece of literature into a philosophical context, using different philosophical frameworks to interpret a text Ask yourself: What philosophical ideas or problems are addressed in this literary work? What does it say about human nature or the human condition? What philosophical knowledge or frameworks might be useful in interpreting or digging deeper into the text? Political or Advocacy Criticism •How do works of literature attempt to improve the social and political conditions of society? •Giving voice to the voiceless •There are a number of types of political criticism: •Multicultural •African-American •Postcolonial •Marxist •Ecocriticism Psychological & Psychoanalytic Criticism Explore the psychologies of fictional characters, working to understand their actions and motives. Explore the psychology of a writer as expressed in the work Explore the psychology of a society or culture as revealed in a literary work Question to answer: Why does a character act that way? What are the forces affecting his/her behavior? Reader-Response Criticism Readers construct meaning as they interact with the text. Each reader brings a unique background and set of preferences to a text, thereby giving a different interpretation of the text. Reader is free to use their own interpretations for understanding, but articulate those responses with support from the text. WORKS CITED Appleman, Deborah. Critical Encounters in High School English. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000. WordNet: A Lexical Database for the English Language. 2006. Cognitive Science Laboratory at Princeton University. 01 Nov 2007. http://wordnet.princeton.edu/. Burris, Skylar. Literary Criticism: An Overview of Approaches. 2005. University of Texas at Brownsville. 01 Nov 2007. http://www.literatureclassics.com/ancientpaths/liccrit.html .