Presentation on theme: "Chapter 32: Critical Approaches Important in the Study of Literature"— Presentation transcript:
1 Chapter 32: Critical Approaches Important in the Study of Literature AP English Literature & CompositionIntroduction to AP Literature
2 Literary Criticism Concerned with Reading and interpreting stories, poems, and playsEstablishing a theoretical understanding of literatureMay utilize a variety of lenses or approaches with which a reader can view and analyze the text.
3 Caveats for Critical Approaches Not every approach is appropriate for every work.The approaches are not always mutually exclusive.A critic taking one approach may utilize methods that technically belong to another.Most criticism is pragmatic or eclectic rather than rigid.
4 Ten Basic Approaches Moral / Intellectual Topical / Historical New Critical / FormalistStructuralistFeminist Criticism / Gender Studies / Queer TheoryEconomic Determinist / MarxistPsychological / PsychoanalyticArchetypal / Symbolic / MythicDeconstructionalistReader-Response
5 Moral / IntellectualConcerned with content, ideas, and values (moral, philosophical, and religious).Seeks to determine whether a work conveys a lesson or a message and whether it can help readers lead better lives and improve their understanding of the world.Readers should be left with the decision to accept the ideas conveyed by the work.
6 Topical / HistoricalStresses the relationship of literature to its historical period, includingWords and concepts unfamiliar to modern readersBiographical information about the authorCriticism of this approach is that it deals with the history rather than the literatureNew Historicism: parallel reading of literary and nonliterary works to better understand the context of the literary work
7 New Critical / Formalist Focuses on literary texts as formal works of art; discusses the use of literary elements in the manner of artistic techniqueGoes beyond explaining the content (what does it say?) and evaluates artistic quality (how well is it said?)One criticism of this approach is that it focuses on the author to the exclusion of the reader’s reaction.
8 Structuralist Attempts to discover the forms unifying all literature Enables critics to discuss works from varied cultures and historical periodsMost appropriate for longer narrative literature (novels, myths, stories, plays, and films)
9 Feminist Criticism / Gender Studies / Queer Theory Promotes reading of non-canonical women writersInvestigates how male and female characters are portrayed in literature, includingWhether societal norms are supported or subvertedThe effect of patriarchal institutions (i.e. marriage)Interested in how interpretations differ between the sexes (do men and women read and write things differently?)
10 Feminist Criticism / Gender Studies / Queer Theory continued Brings attention to gender rather than sexual differencesSees the masculine/feminine divide as socially constructed, not innateChallenges traditional patriarchal modes of thinking, which tend to value male over female experience
11 Feminist Criticism / Gender Studies / Queer Theory continued Interested in how homosexuals are portrayed in literature and whether they write or read literature differently than heterosexualsDeals with lesbian and gay themes thatAre explicit, usually in modern literatureMay be the subject of “veiled” references in canonical literatureQueer theory analysis is often theoretical.
12 Economic Determinist / Marxist Karl Marx emphasized that the primary influence on life was economic; society is in continuous conflict between capitalist oppressors and oppressed working peopleApproach judges literature from the perspective of economic and social class inequality and oppression.
13 Psychological / Psychoanalytic Psychoanalysis: behavior is caused by hidden and unconscious motivesThis approach may be used toExplain the actions of fictional charactersWhat motives influence behavior and speech?How much background info. does the author give?Analyze authors and the artistic processWhat life experiences relate to and explain characteristic subjects or preoccupations?
14 Archetypal / Symbolic / Mythic Presupposes that human life is built up out of patterns (archetypes) that are similar throughout various cultures and historical timesSimilar to structuralist analysisCommon archetypesGod’s / god’s creation of human beingsSacrifice of a heroSearch for paradise
15 DeconstructionistSeeks to challenge and undermine logocentrism (belief that the words of a text directly express the author’s intentions)Assumes the instability of language and impossibility of arriving at a fixed standardGeneral strategyBegin with standard formalist reading of textUndermine formalist interpretation in order to yield a new reading of the text
16 Reader-ResponsePhenomenology: our knowledge is based on our collective and personal understanding of the world and our conclusions about itA literary work is the result of the relationship and interaction between the author, the text, and the reader.
17 Reader-Response continued Literature is not fully created until the reader assimilates and actualizes it.This method is initially personal and anecdotal.The more that readers bring to the literature (experiences, knowledge, interests, and studies) the more competent and comprehensive their “transactions” will be.
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