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Literary Theories in very brief summary.

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1 Literary Theories in very brief summary

2 Formalist Theory Connections to Structuralism and Deconstruction
Nothing outside of the text Independent No outside influences All within context analyze plot, character, setting, diction, imagery, structure, point of view, form, genre evaluate uses of these forms close reading of passages emphasis on determining tension and/or ambiguity Connections to Structuralism and Deconstruction

3 Biographical Theory Connections to Psychological Theory
knowing the life of the author reveals information in the text author’s life influenced the text analyze author’s experiences analyze author’s process/struggle in writing emphasis on author’s knowledge Connections to Psychological Theory

4 Historical Theory Old Historicism
history forms a background to the text literary text must be read with knowledge and understanding of the time and place of its creation analyze historical documents contemporary to the text analyze language of text and its time

5 Historical Theory New Historicism
text is a reflection of the events, ideas, and attitudes of the time and place of the text’s creation literary text must be read with social backgrounds and intellectual ideas of the time and place of its creation analyze political structures of the time and place of the text’s creation analyze values, conflicts, social events of the time and place of the text’s creation Connections to Psychological and Cultural Theories

6 Psychological Theory Queer Theory and Gender Studies Connections to:
text is a revelation/product of author’s mind and personality reflection of the author’s consciousness and mental world reflects the creative process of the author - imagination analyze the author’s/character’s motivations and behaviors interpret the actions of the characters interpret the intentions of the author evaluate the text/characters/author as you would a patient * theories tailored from whichever psychological theory preferred Queer Theory and Gender Studies Connections to: Psychoanalysis Jungian symbolism Semiotics

7 Sociological Theory social context of the time and place of texts are critical influences of power relations within society values and ethics of society economics, politics, culture are reflected in text Two major branches within this: Marxist criticism Feminist criticism

8 Sociological Theory Marxist Criticism
applies theory of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to literature subjugation, exploitation, alienation bourgeoise versus proletariat analyze class conflicts evaluate politics and economics within text evaluate power structures acknowledge text as “product” not art form acknowledge text as part of the revolution

9 Sociological Theory Feminist Criticism Connections to Gender studies
importance of the social, economic, cultural roles of women in the text male author’s portrayal of women, female author’s portrayal of women acknowledge text as “agent for social transformation” or as means of maintaining patriarchal social structures analyze female characters within the text evaluate feminine voice(s) in the text Connections to Gender studies

10 Sociological Theory Feminist Criticism Focus on four tenets:
Patriarchy of Western Civilization Gender traits and roles and how they are viewed, imposed, changed Canon of literature is “androcentric,” male-centered Traditional analysis of literature is gender-biased in favor of the masculine

11 Reader-Response Theory Three perspectives used:
text is a mirror for the reader focus on the text “temporal aspect of reading” focus on the “space” (time and place) between the reader and the text themes identified by the reader are unique to the reader focus on the reader, text is background

12 Reader-Response Theory
text is different for every person, gender, culture, historical period, economic background, class, etcetera reader’s imagination, identity, and feelings are key, but are regulated by the text process of reading is important evaluate your feelings and thoughts as you read a text analyze the “triggers” in text for your feelings and thoughts analyze tone and mood acknowledge differing views of a text between types of readers subjective information is equal to objective information discovered in a text

13 Mythological Theory universal story patterns common, familiar, universal human experiences representations of “religious beliefs, social customs, cultural attitudes” common human events are used for symbolic meanings: birth = beginning, death = ending, etcetera Identify, analyze, and evaluate: Archetypes: universal symbols found in all types of literature throughout history and around the world Story types: quest, revenge, death, loss, transformation, enlightenment, etcetera Genres: novel, poem, play, song, short story, proverb, etcetera Connections to Structuralism and Semiotics, linguistic theory of language development

14 Structuralism Connections to Deconstruction
derives from linguistics and anthropology language as an arbitrary system of signs focus on “binary opposition” onomatopoetic use of sounds (pleasant vs. unpleasant, soft vs. harsh, harmony vs. discord) identify and analyze binary opposites analyze use of sounds, letters and syllables evaluate differences in word and sentence structures Connections to Deconstruction

15 Structuralism Semiotics study of signs, sign systems, and codes
how signs help in understanding human interaction – literature is only one aspect of this identify and analyze signs in a text evaluate signs to guide interpretation of a text utilize signs of one text to evaluate and interpret other texts

16 Deconstruction derives from structuralism
binary opposites are seen as equally valid reveals prevailing ideologies that are questioned in the text emphasizes ambiguity in all texts language is oppositional all texts are self-contradictory the meaning of a text is allusive reduce text to binary oppositions analyze binary opposites evaluate ambiguities in text and how they defer meaning

17 Cultural Studies multidisciplinary – utilizes all forms of criticism
humanistic disciplines and sciences culture as a way of life and culture as the best of humanity focuses on conflict inside and between “cultures” identify challenges and differences to “accepted” norms and values evaluate how challenges redraw so-called cultural boundaries analyze differences of cultures

18 Cultural Studies Gender Studies Feminist criticism Gay/Lesbian studies
identify and analyze how gender is defined in a text evaluate differences of cultural gender versus biological gender as presented in a text analyze and evaluate sexual orientation of characters in a text – utilizes psychoanalytic theory Queer Theory identify all people/characters as “queer” acknowledge that there is no such thing as “normal” evaluate the lack of sexual/gender boundaries

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