LITERARY CRITICISM

Literary Criticism

One of the following essays from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism should be the subject of a 2,500-word essay.

The Ars Poetica by Horace. [NTC: 122-133].
Of the Three Unities of Action, Time, and Place by Pierre Corneille. [NTC: 288- 300]
Of the Standard of Taste by David Hume. [NTC: 392-405].
“The Philosophy of Composition” by Edgar Allan Poe. [NTC: 639-647]. Studies in the History of the Renaissance by Walter Pater. [NTC 724-730] . The Historical Novel by György Lukács. [NTC: 909-921].
“Compulsory Heterosexuality and Lesbian Existence,” Adrienne Rich. [NTC: 1591-1609].
“Orientalism,” by Edward Saad. [NTC: 1866-1888].
The Race For Theory, by Barbara Christian. [NTC 2128-2137]

Your response should focus on the following three goals:
a) To provide a brief summary of the essay.
b) To engage in a discussion on the essay’s merits.
b) Place the essay in the context of the history of criticism, and explicitly compare or contrast it with TWO other Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism passages that are covered in the lecture schedule.

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[See above for the CP: Criticism lecture schedule]. The moment in your essay where you turn to each of these aspects should be highlighted, even though your essay should be written in continuous prose. You are in complete control of how the three components of your essay are balanced. For instance, you might discover that a lengthy comparison is the ideal method to concentrate a critical examination of the extract. However, you should keep in mind that the assessment’s marking will depend on how well you covered all three components. The analytical methods you will apply to create the essay will resemble those you used in your first and second year in many ways. But as we’ll see in the lecture course, responding to a critical argument and responding to a literary text are two entirely different exercises that call for very different kinds of judgment. This activity intends to assist you in exploring suitable kinds of judgment because you will be needed to reply to critics as well as literary texts throughout your work at the honors level. The following information is provided to assist you in considering each of the assessment exercise’s goals:

a. To provide a succinct summary of the essay. A précis is more than just a declaration of the author’s aim. Instead, it is a summary of their argument that takes into account not only what they intended to do but also how they did it, such as whether they made time for conceptual analysis or used literary examples. As a result, you should try to discuss the entire extract rather than simply the introduction or the conclusion. It may also take into account the genre of the work: is it a manifesto or a declaration of intent? Is it a critique or a rebuttal to another critic in a polemical tone? Is the form analytical or impressionistic? Because you will be highlighting which are the primary lines of argument or study and which are supporting ones, a successful précis is more than just a description of an extract. However, doing so will require you to use your own critical judgment. For instance, it will be up to you to determine which of the extract’s main points is being made and which instances are merely being used to support that point.

b. To engage in a discussion of the essay’s merits. You are now ready to engage in a critical discussion of the extract after providing your précis, which we have now come to understand to be something akin to an analytical summary. The precis is a crucial component of your critical discussion because it is only reasonable to evaluate an argument’s success or validity once we have a clear understanding of its goals. It is not helpful to say that an author should have tried to accomplish something different in place of what they did. (However, keep in mind that you will have the chance to compare your choice to that of another author who has opted to take a different approach.) You should keep in mind that a critical conversation does not require you to find fault with an excerpt, just as literary criticism does not entail pointing out errors and weaknesses in a book. At the most fundamental level, it entails highlighting noteworthy aspects of the work, but in more detail, it might entail combining any of the following inquiries:? What are the critical argument’s advantages and disadvantages? Are there any particular presumptions or circumstances that we need to be aware of in order to comprehend the argument or that we need to keep in mind in order to judge its viability? How much of the extract’s author and its arguments are a product of its time and place? How much of these defenses of criticism still hold water today? Is the literary method exemplified by the passage more applicable to particular literary genres or historical periods than to others? Is the extract’s style significant? If so, why did the author decide to use this particular writing style? Does the extract’s style affect the argument’s ability to be analyzed or persuaded?

b. To situate the essay within the context of the history of criticism and, more particularly, to compare or contrast it with TWO other excerpts from the Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism that were covered in the lecture schedule. The course aims to offer you a feeling of continuity as well as the evolution of critical concepts over time, suggesting that we might still be analyzing texts in the same ways or categorizing them in the same ways as writers who wrote thousands of years ago. The last part of the evaluation requires you to respond to this by comparing the essay you’ve chosen to two of the extracts that were discussed in the lectures (for further information, see the CP: Criticism lecture schedule above). An excellent response will aim to demonstrate both parallels and differences, for instance, by demonstrating how two authors approach identical goals in different ways or how they arrive at different conclusions from comparable starting points. You might also be intrigued by the ways in which seemingly disparate narratives of critique can reveal the same unstated or untested presumptions about the nature of literature or literary study. Your goal is to examine specific parallels and differences between the works of different critics rather than to “classify or “name critical arguments (this is neo-classical while that is romantic). After all, a historian of criticism can only generalize about schools of criticism based on such precise comparisons, and the measure of a competent historian is always how much they complicate such generalizations. Consider this as an opportunity to review the material covered in class and identify any bigger trends of similarity or contrast in how the essential business has been conceptualized or articulated over the past two thousand years.

The following similarities could be made
The Function of Criticism in the Present [NTC: 691–714] by Arnold
From Literary Theory by Eagleton [NTC: 2140–2146]
The Laugh of the Medusa by Cixous, NTC: 1938–1959
Republic by Plato, [NTC:45–77] Poetics by Aristotle [NTC: 88–115]
From Longinus’ “On Sublimity” (NTC: 136–154).
criticism of neoclassicism Tom Mole, M.D. From The Defence of Poesy by Sidney (NTC: 254–83)
An Essay on Criticism by Pope (NTC: 349–362) Preface to Shakespeare by Johnson (NTC: 373–86) Week 5: Taste, creativity, and the critic’s function NTC extracts from Dr. Carole Jones Addison. [NTC: 336-345] NTC excerpts from Burke [NTC:450–460] Week 6: The Afterlives of Romantic Criticism
From Schiller’s On the Aesthetic Education of Man (NTC: 481-492).
Adapted from Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria (NTC: 579–591)
A Defence of Poetry by Shelley (NTC: 591-613)
The Well-Wrought Urn by Brooks [NTC: 1213–1229]
The Intentional Fallacy by Wimsatt and Beardsley (NTC: 1230–1246)
The Archetypes of Literature by Frye, NTC 1301–1315
Jauss, from Criticism and History[NTC: 1818–1846, 1403–1420], “Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory,” From Spivak’s A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (NTC: 2110–2126).
Gender Trouble’s Butler [NTC: 2536-2553]
The Commitment to Theory by Bhabha (NTC: 2351-2372)

 

 

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