Literary Study For Dummies

A Modified Version of R. L. McGuire’s Passionate Attention: an introduction toliterary study. Literature and criticism Authors basic assumption of a book- thereading and the study of literature cannot and do not take place outside thecontext of human values. One’s unique personal experiences are from whence theirvalues are formed. These values come to light as a reader reads or a writerwrites.

Literature is a record of specific personal perceptions: H.Read-“the outer image of inward things”. Literature proves therichness not the limitations of being human. Literary criticism isdiscernment-the ability to see. The student needs to form their own criticalcriteria and offer an interpretation of the work based on those criteria.Judgmental reviewing is narrow and only one aspect of literary criticism. Thevalue of criticism is not that it lays down laws that any reader must follow,but that it offers a new way of seeing a literary work, which may not have beenpossible to the reader.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

For example in the critical analysis of a poem thereader might look for the connections between words, stanzas, structure andideas. The four basic approaches to literary criticism are: 1) the mimetic 2)the pragmatic 3) the expressive 4) the objective Mimetic approach- describes therelationship of the literary work to the world or the universe in which the workwas conceived or being read. Pragmatic approach- describes the effects of thework on its audience. Williams 2 Expressive approach- proposes the study of therelationship of the work to the writer: biographical, psychological, history,culture. Objective approach- is that which studies the work in and for itselfwithout reference to the world in which it exists, its effect on its readers, orthe works relationship to the author. The work for itself Objective criticism-the study of a literary work is done without reference to the mimetic,pragmatic, or expressive possibilities of interpretation.

This type of criticismregards the literary work as an object in and for itself because it is art andthe work of an individual artist. The literary work is a craft, a constructedpattern of words, and the basis for our speculations, for its truth, itsrevelation, and its power. Descriptive Critical Activities- seeks primarily todescribe a text. It is the approach to the work for itself in its simplest form.It is employed on revisions, editions, and on the finished version. Concern lieswith the resulting product and its theme or central idea.

Generic criticism-study of the work for itself, the types of literature this criticism employs ispoems, novels, and plays. The study of poetics or prosody is the learning ofbasic metrical patterns and verbal effects: iambic, tetrameter, couplets,alliteration, rhyme, etc…. This type of study serves to remind us of a vitalaspect of the writers’ art. The writer is a craftsman of sound and effect aswell as ideas. Keep in mind that writers can be conventional or unconventional.

Thematic approach- attempts to bring the various aspects of form as well ascontent together to make a statement about the subject of a work. It may alsoconcern itself with the message or moral of that work. Unity- if a literary workcan generate its own meaning by virtue of its internal coherence, then acritical method can concern itself with that esthetic universe. Unity of Theme-all of the work is about the same topic.

Unity of Imagery- all the imagescontribute to the same general vision, implication, theme, or central image.Williams 3 Unity of Tone ; Form- the parts of the work fit together andsupport each other. According to Coleridge, “But if the definition soughtfor be that of legitimate poem, I answer, it must be one, the parts of whichmutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizingwith, and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement..

.”(McGuire 22). New criticism- shows interconnections with emphasis on thework. Mimetic-Mimesis-Imitation Mimetic criticism- is that which asks how aliterary work is important to any of the worlds to which it is related.

The bestplace to begin a survey of mimetic approaches is with the connection between thework and the time in which it was written. Guideline 1) discover the extent ofthe departure or conformity of the work from the era/culture in which it wasproduced. This teaches the student the values of the age in which the work waswritten. This entails immersion in the history, philosophy, and esthetics, thecultural world of the work. 2)study the contemporary historical records of thetime, (court records, diaries, and plays).

3) study the various audiences of thewriter. Archetypal criticism- the kind of literary study and interpretation thatattempts to tie literary works to basic patterns in cultures and thoughtprocess. This type of criticism is based on myth because myth has its roots inpeoples’ cultural and religious responses to events in their lives. 1)psychological archetypal- proven or historically repetitive mind-sets. 2)mythical archetypal-an archetypal that is preserved in mythology.

Subversiveliterature- is that which affirms individual variations, idiosyncrasies, or theright of the individual to remain outside of society. Progressive literature- isevaluated in terms of its contribution to material improvement. This type ofliterature talks of building, buying, growing, technological advancement.

Progressive Literature depends on the smooth workings of society in order toreflect progress. Williams 4 *Marxist critics redefine progress so that it aidsthe worker not the manufacturer, thus the subject of the literature is changedto “class struggle”. This reflects a belief that the future holds thefulfillment of human hope. Pragmatic-Affective Theory Pragmatic theory- Abramsstates that this theory, “looks at the work of art chiefly as a means to anend, an instrument for getting something done, and tends to judge its valueaccording to its success in achieving that aim”(McGuire 37).

It is all theways (emotionally, intellectually, unconsciously, etc. . .) that literatureaffects one. How we are moved by literature has to do with the extent to whichthe words that comprise a work posses mimetic values for us, the capacity tostrike us as comprehensible and true. Literature must have the mimetic qualityof resembling some aspect of life as the reader knows it. The similarities maybe: unconscious, mythical, archetypal, coincidental or typical. *Examining thepoint of view of the author and what the work does can aid the reader inapproaching the affective function of a work.

*Affective approaches and mimeticapproaches overlap because the determination of a works affective power dependsas much on the capacity of the work to be true to some aspect of life, as itdoes upon devices and techniques of presentation. Expressive The expressiveapproach can inquire into the way in which the work embodies some portion of theartist or ways in which authors’ biography will reveal his/her capacity forcreation. But to say that a literary work is a consequence of an event or even aseries of events, which we can document, is to lose sight of the ultimatemystery of literary creation. Critical Biography- the study of the events in awriters life and their relationship to his work. Psychoanalytical approach- thevalidity of this approach is founded on the assumption that what is in aliterary work is not only conscious expression, but also unconscious expression.The conjecture that the style is the author, attempts to make a statement aboutthe author.

McGuire seems to convey that psychoanalytical criticism is best leftto those with training in the field of psychology. Williams 5 The danger ofexpressive criticism is in its attempt to ascertain the relationship of the workto the artist, in that it may forget that the work and its creator are twodifferent entities, and in doing so neglect to appreciate the craft, discipline,and labor that go into the creation of any work of art. Expressive criticism isvaluable because it teaches us that there is more to art than conscious use ofconscious materials. T.S.

Eliot once said, “That a poet might not believein the content of a work at all”(McGuire 58). And in contrast, Coleridgewas noted to say, “poetry is the blossom and fragrance of all humanknowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, and language”(McGuire58). Judging a literary work The act of literary criticism in its two-foldstate-perception and communication-is a social act. Modifications of onesjudgement are intellectual milestones-points of reference for a new direction.Critical options ask the reader to discern and define his relationship towhat he has read.

The reader must go beyond their primary emotional response tothe text. The reader must put aside the predisposition of their morality andof previous literary experience, provide the work with their undividedattention, and unprejudiced acceptance. Critical inquiry is when the readerhas a question about a text and seeks to find its answer. This does not entaildissecting the work. Understanding these guidelines to critical inquiry thereader can pursue their own areas of investigation into: Form ShapeInterrelationship of various parts Relationship to its creator Effects in itsown time and now Nature of truth of the work Reflection of its age Agelessqualities Clear perception of the work The reader also must ask questions of thework such as: Williams 6 1) does or does not reflect some set of values 2) is oris not realistic 3) does the work have the power to create emotion or pleasure4) does the emotional appeal of the work reflect prejudice or propaganda 5) isor is not a reflection of the artists personality 6) what is the personalitythat the work reveals 7) the work may be lacking in continuity, coherence, orunity.

It may contain a weak style, use inappropriate words, contradictoryideas, cliches or trite phrases 8) does the work contain the power to bringabout group action or reform 9) are the works devices used well Blackmur says ofthis art of inquiry, “Criticism is like walking, it is only for the one whois still moving and growing”(McGuire 66). Williams 1 Connie WilliamsProfessor Carroll May 26, 2000 The Beginning’s of Literary Study – For Dummies JA Modified Version of R. L. McGuire’s Passionate Attention: an introduction toliterary study. Literature and criticism Authors basic assumption of a book- thereading and the study of literature cannot and do not take place outside thecontext of human values. One’s unique personal experiences are from whence theirvalues are formed. These values come to light as a reader reads or a writerwrites. Literature is a record of specific personal perceptions: H.

Read-“the outer image of inward things”. Literature proves therichness not the limitations of being human. Literary criticism isdiscernment-the ability to see. The student needs to form their own criticalcriteria and offer an interpretation of the work based on those criteria.

Judgmental reviewing is narrow and only one aspect of literary criticism. Thevalue of criticism is not that it lays down laws that any reader must follow,but that it offers a new way of seeing a literary work, which may not have beenpossible to the reader. For example in the critical analysis of a poem thereader might look for the connections between words, stanzas, structure andideas.

The four basic approaches to literary criticism are: 1) the mimetic 2)the pragmatic 3) the expressive 4) the objective Mimetic approach- describes therelationship of the literary work to the world or the universe in which the workwas conceived or being read. Pragmatic approach- describes the effects of thework on its audience. Williams 2 Expressive approach- proposes the study of therelationship of the work to the writer: biographical, psychological, history,culture. Objective approach- is that which studies the work in and for itselfwithout reference to the world in which it exists, its effect on its readers, orthe works relationship to the author. The work for itself Objective criticism-the study of a literary work is done without reference to the mimetic,pragmatic, or expressive possibilities of interpretation.

This type of criticismregards the literary work as an object in and for itself because it is art andthe work of an individual artist. The literary work is a craft, a constructedpattern of words, and the basis for our speculations, for its truth, itsrevelation, and its power. Descriptive Critical Activities- seeks primarily todescribe a text. It is the approach to the work for itself in its simplest form.It is employed on revisions, editions, and on the finished version. Concern lieswith the resulting product and its theme or central idea. Generic criticism-study of the work for itself, the types of literature this criticism employs ispoems, novels, and plays. The study of poetics or prosody is the learning ofbasic metrical patterns and verbal effects: iambic, tetrameter, couplets,alliteration, rhyme, etc.

This type of study serves to remind us of a vitalaspect of the writers’ art. The writer is a craftsman of sound and effect aswell as ideas. Keep in mind that writers can be conventional or unconventional.Thematic approach- attempts to bring the various aspects of form as well ascontent together to make a statement about the subject of a work. It may alsoconcern itself with the message or moral of that work.

Unity- if a literary workcan generate its own meaning by virtue of its internal coherence, then acritical method can concern itself with that esthetic universe. Unity of Theme-all of the work is about the same topic. Unity of Imagery- all the imagescontribute to the same general vision, implication, theme, or central image.Williams 3 Unity of Tone ; Form- the parts of the work fit together andsupport each other. According to Coleridge, “But if the definition soughtfor be that of legitimate poem, I answer, it must be one, the parts of whichmutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizingwith, and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement..

.”(McGuire 22). New criticism- shows interconnections with emphasis on thework. Mimetic-Mimesis-Imitation Mimetic criticism- is that which asks how aliterary work is important to any of the worlds to which it is related. The bestplace to begin a survey of mimetic approaches is with the connection between thework and the time in which it was written. Guideline 1) discover the extent ofthe departure or conformity of the work from the era/culture in which it wasproduced.

This teaches the student the values of the age in which the work waswritten. This entails immersion in the history, philosophy, and esthetics, thecultural world of the work. 2)study the contemporary historical records of thetime, (court records, diaries, and plays). 3) study the various audiences of thewriter. Archetypal criticism- the kind of literary study and interpretation thatattempts to tie literary works to basic patterns in cultures and thoughtprocess. This type of criticism is based on myth because myth has its roots inpeoples’ cultural and religious responses to events in their lives. 1)psychological archetypal- proven or historically repetitive mind-sets. 2)mythical archetypal-an archetypal that is preserved in mythology.

Subversiveliterature- is that which affirms individual variations, idiosyncrasies, or theright of the individual to remain outside of society. Progressive literature- isevaluated in terms of its contribution to material improvement. This type ofliterature talks of building, buying, growing, technological advancement.Progressive Literature depends on the smooth workings of society in order toreflect progress. Williams 4 *Marxist critics redefine progress so that it aidsthe worker not the manufacturer, thus the subject of the literature is changedto “class struggle”. This reflects a belief that the future holds thefulfillment of human hope. Pragmatic-Affective Theory Pragmatic theory- Abramsstates that this theory, “looks at the work of art chiefly as a means to anend, an instrument for getting something done, and tends to judge its valueaccording to its success in achieving that aim”(McGuire 37).

It is all theways (emotionally, intellectually, unconsciously, etc. . .

) that literatureaffects one. How we are moved by literature has to do with the extent to whichthe words that comprise a work posses mimetic values for us, the capacity tostrike us as comprehensible and true. Literature must have the mimetic qualityof resembling some aspect of life as the reader knows it. The similarities maybe: unconscious, mythical, archetypal, coincidental or typical. *Examining thepoint of view of the author and what the work does can aid the reader inapproaching the affective function of a work.

*Affective approaches and mimeticapproaches overlap because the determination of a works affective power dependsas much on the capacity of the work to be true to some aspect of life, as itdoes upon devices and techniques of presentation. Expressive The expressiveapproach can inquire into the way in which the work embodies some portion of theartist or ways in which authors’ biography will reveal his/her capacity forcreation. But to say that a literary work is a consequence of an event or even aseries of events, which we can document, is to lose sight of the ultimatemystery of literary creation. Critical Biography- the study of the events in awriters life and their relationship to his work. Psychoanalytical approach- thevalidity of this approach is founded on the assumption that what is in aliterary work is not only conscious expression, but also unconscious expression.The conjecture that the style is the author, attempts to make a statement aboutthe author. McGuire seems to convey that psychoanalytical criticism is best leftto those with training in the field of psychology.

Williams 5 The danger ofexpressive criticism is in its attempt to ascertain the relationship of the workto the artist, in that it may forget that the work and its creator are twodifferent entities, and in doing so neglect to appreciate the craft, discipline,and labor that go into the creation of any work of art. Expressive criticism isvaluable because it teaches us that there is more to art than conscious use ofconscious materials. T.S. Eliot once said, “That a poet might not believein the content of a work at all”(McGuire 58).

And in contrast, Coleridgewas noted to say, “poetry is the blossom and fragrance of all humanknowledge, human thoughts, human passions, emotions, and language”(McGuire58). Judging a literary work The act of literary criticism in its two-foldstate-perception and communication-is a social act. Modifications of onesjudgement are intellectual milestones-points of reference for a new direction.Critical options ask the reader to discern and define his relationship towhat he has read. The reader must go beyond their primary emotional response tothe text. The reader must put aside the predisposition of their morality andof previous literary experience, provide the work with their undividedattention, and unprejudiced acceptance.

Critical inquiry is when the readerhas a question about a text and seeks to find its answer. This does not entaildissecting the work. Understanding these guidelines to critical inquiry thereader can pursue their own areas of investigation into: Form ShapeInterrelationship of various parts Relationship to its creator Effects in itsown time and now Nature of truth of the work Reflection of its age Agelessqualities Clear perception of the work The reader also must ask questions of thework such as: Williams 6 1) does or does not reflect some set of values 2) is oris not realistic 3) does the work have the power to create emotion or pleasure4) does the emotional appeal of the work reflect prejudice or propaganda 5) isor is not a reflection of the artists personality 6) what is the personalitythat the work reveals 7) the work may be lacking in continuity, coherence, orunity. It may contain a weak style, use inappropriate words, contradictoryideas, cliches or trite phrases 8) does the work contain the power to bringabout group action or reform 9) are the works devices used well Blackmur says ofthis art of inquiry, “Criticism is like walking, it is only for the one whois still moving and growing”(McGuire 66). Williams 1 Connie WilliamsProfessor Carroll May 26, 2000 The Beginning’s of Literary Study – For Dummies JA Modified Version of R. L.

McGuire’s Passionate Attention: an introduction toliterary study. Literature and criticism Authors basic assumption of a book- thereading and the study of literature cannot and do not take place outside thecontext of human values. One’s unique personal experiences are from whence theirvalues are formed. These values come to light as a reader reads or a writerwrites. Literature is a record of specific personal perceptions: H.Read-“the outer image of inward things”. Literature proves therichness not the limitations of being human.

Literary criticism isdiscernment-the ability to see. The student needs to form their own criticalcriteria and offer an interpretation of the work based on those criteria.Judgmental reviewing is narrow and only one aspect of literary criticism. Thevalue of criticism is not that it lays down laws that any reader must follow,but that it offers a new way of seeing a literary work, which may not have beenpossible to the reader. For example in the critical analysis of a poem thereader might look for the connections between words, stanzas, structure andideas.

The four basic approaches to literary criticism are: 1) the mimetic 2)the pragmatic 3) the expressive 4) the objective Mimetic approach- describes therelationship of the literary work to the world or the universe in which the workwas conceived or being read. Pragmatic approach- describes the effects of thework on its audience. Williams 2 Expressive approach- proposes the study of therelationship of the work to the writer: biographical, psychological, history,culture. Objective approach- is that which studies the work in and for itselfwithout reference to the world in which it exists, its effect on its readers, orthe works relationship to the author. The work for itself Objective criticism-the study of a literary work is done without reference to the mimetic,pragmatic, or expressive possibilities of interpretation. This type of criticismregards the literary work as an object in and for itself because it is art andthe work of an individual artist. The literary work is a craft, a constructedpattern of words, and the basis for our speculations, for its truth, itsrevelation, and its power.

Descriptive Critical Activities- seeks primarily todescribe a text. It is the approach to the work for itself in its simplest form.It is employed on revisions, editions, and on the finished version. Concern lieswith the resulting product and its theme or central idea. Generic criticism-study of the work for itself, the types of literature this criticism employs ispoems, novels, and plays. The study of poetics or prosody is the learning ofbasic metrical patterns and verbal effects: iambic, tetrameter, couplets,alliteration, rhyme, etc.

This type of study serves to remind us of a vitalaspect of the writers’ art. The writer is a craftsman of sound and effect aswell as ideas. Keep in mind that writers can be conventional or unconventional.Thematic approach- attempts to bring the various aspects of form as well ascontent together to make a statement about the subject of a work. It may alsoconcern itself with the message or moral of that work.

Unity- if a literary workcan generate its own meaning by virtue of its internal coherence, then acritical method can concern itself with that esthetic universe. Unity of Theme-all of the work is about the same topic. Unity of Imagery- all the imagescontribute to the same general vision, implication, theme, or central image.Williams 3 Unity of Tone ; Form- the parts of the work fit together andsupport each other. According to Coleridge, “But if the definition soughtfor be that of legitimate poem, I answer, it must be one, the parts of whichmutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizingwith, and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement..

.”(McGuire 22). New criticism- shows interconnections with emphasis on thework.

Mimetic-Mimesis-Imitation Mimetic criticism- is that which asks how aliterary work is important to any of the worlds to which it is related. The bestplace to begin a survey of mimetic approaches is with the connection between thework and the time in which it was written. Guideline 1) discover the extent ofthe departure or conformity of the work from the era/culture in which it wasproduced.

This teaches the student the values of the age in which the work waswritten. This entails immersion in the history, philosophy, and esthetics, thecultural world of the work. 2)study the contemporary historical records of thetime, (court records, diaries, and plays). 3) study the various audiences of thewriter. Archetypal criticism- the kind of literary study and interpretation thatattempts to tie literary works to basic patterns in cultures and thoughtprocess.

This type of criticism is based on myth because myth has its roots inpeoples’ cultural and religious responses to events in their lives. 1)psychological archetypal- proven or historically repetitive mind-sets. 2)mythical archetypal-an archetypal that is preserved in mythology. Subversiveliterature- is that which affirms individual variations, idiosyncrasies, or theright of the individual to remain outside of society.

Progressive literature- isevaluated in terms of its contribution to material improvement. This type ofliterature talks of building, buying, growing, technological advancement.Progressive Literature depends on the smooth workings of society in order toreflect progress. Williams 4 *Marxist critics redefine progress so that it aidsthe worker not the manufacturer, thus the subject of the literature is changedto “class struggle”.

This reflects a belief that the future holds thefulfillment of human hope. Pragmatic-Affective Theory Pragmatic theory- Abramsstates that this theory, “looks at the work of art chiefly as a means to anend, an instrument for getting something done, and tends to judge its valueaccording to its success in achieving that aim”(McGuire 37). It is all theways (emotionally, intellectually, unconsciously, etc. . .) that literatureaffects one. How we are moved by literature has to do with the extent to whichthe words that comprise a work posses mimetic values for us, the capacity tostrike us as comprehensible and true. Literature must have the mimetic qualityof resembling some aspect of life as the reader knows it.

The similarities maybe: unconscious, mythical, archetypal, coincidental or typical. *Examining thepoint of view of the author and what the work does can aid the reader inapproaching the affective function of a work. *Affective approaches and mimeticapproaches overlap because the determination of a works affective power dependsas much on the capacity of the work to be true to some aspect of life, as itdoes upon devices and techniques of presentation.

Expressive The expressiveapproach can inquire into the way in which the work embodies some portion of theartist or ways in which authors’ biography will reveal his/her capacity forcreation. But to say that a literary work is a consequence of an event or even aseries of events, which we can document, is to lose sight of the ultimatemystery of literary creation. Critical Biography- the study of the events in awriters life and their relationship to his work. Psychoanalytical approach- thevalidity of this approach is founded on the assumption that what is in aliterary work is not only conscious expression, but also unconscious expression.The conjecture that the style is the author, attempts to make a statement aboutthe author. McGuire seems to convey that psychoanalytical criticism is best leftto those with training in the field of psychology. Williams 5 The danger ofexpressive criticism is in its attempt to ascertain the relationship of the workto the artist, in that it may forget that the work and its creator are twodifferent entities, and in doing so neglect to appreciate the craft, discipline,and labor that go into the creation of any work of art.

Expressive criticism isvaluable because it teaches us that there is more to art than conscious use ofconscious materials. T.S. Eliot once said, “That a poet might not believein the content of a work at all”(McGuire 58).