Unlike other introductions to literary criticism, this text explores the philosophical assumptions of each school of criticism, provides a clear methodology for writing essays according to each school's beliefs and tenets, and features accessible student-generated sample essays.
I have never studied literary theory before. But I have always been interested. So I picked up a book that looked like a basic, simple introduction to the dominant schools of literary criticism.
This book, geared to those who have no background in theory like me! This third edition was published in —I think two more newer editions have come out since then.
If this does not interest you, skip down to where I begin to opine about all this. A New Critic close reads the text, which means she acknowledges allusions, diction, images, prosody, tone, and other literary devices—as well as all ambiguities, conflicts, and tensions— and ultimately resolves all of the preceding through one interpretation.
The reader and text work together to form the meaning in a transactional experience. Structuralism more on that later is a type of reader-response criticism in that the reader brings certain codes ways of understanding to the text, and interprets the text via those codes. Phenomenology also falls under Reader-Response criticism, as this way of thinking emphasizes the perceiver.
Objects exist if and only if we register them in our consciousness concretization. One phenomenologist came up with reception theory that says that readers from any given historical period come up with the criteria by which they judge a text.
Depending on the sub-group, the reader can have a very prominent role in the relationship between reader, text, and meaning, or a very minor role. Meaning, he says, is relational—we know that a tree is a tree because it is not a truck or a bat.
In terms of literature, Structuralists emphasize langue the system of how texts relate to each other and not parole individual texts. Their crucial question is how a text conveys meaning rather what that specific meaning is.
A Structuralist will ask, why does darkness often represents evil in any text? Intertexuality how texts relate to each other is thus very important. Deconstruction, then, is a very postmodern theory—everything is subjective; objectivity is dead.
Jacques Derrida is the father of deconstruction theory with Michael Foucault as another important voice. These thinkers say that modernity failed because it wanted an external point of reference such as God or science which could be the basis for a philosophy. These postmodern thinkers say that there is no point of reference like this, for no ultimate truth or unifying reality exists.
But, to go back to Derrida. Derrida actually used many of the tenets of structuralism. He agreed with Saussure that signification is arbitrary and conventional. Derrida proposes that there is a transcendental signified essentially, the external point of reference I discussed above.
A transcendental signified can only be understood on its own terms, not in relationship to other signifiers or signifieds. The idea that there is a transcendental signified is logocentrism.
What if binary operations were reversed, so, for example, light was valued over darkness? When reading a text through the Deconstructionist lens, then, one first of all allows that a text can be reinterpreted countless times.
Then, the reader identifies binary oppositions and reverses them. This is all supposed to dismantle previously held ideas and to ultimately allow the meaning of the text to be undecideable. Unconscious; conscious; oral, anal, and phallic stages; Oedipus, Castration, and Electra complexes; id, superego, and ego.
Jung differs in that he does not think that all human behavior is driven by sex, and comes up with the collective unconscious and proposes the importance of archetypes.
What was new for me was the introduction of Jacques Lacan. Apparently, he asserted that the unconscious is structured in the same way that language is.
He divided the psyche into three stages: Imaginary we are infants; we are united with the mother; everything is lovelySymbolic the father becomes the center of our concern; we learn language, gender differences; we realize our father can [metaphorically] castrate us; we therefore accept either the lack [girls] or the loss [boys] of the phallus, which, to Lacan, is not the penis but the transcendental signified—the ultimate meaning-giver which we therefore never possess, castrated as we are ] and the Real the physical, actual world.
In terms of textual analysis, at the center of Lacanian theory is the belief that the psyche is marked by lack and fragmentation.Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice, 5/e presents the thirteen basic schools of twentieth-century literary theory and criticism in their historical and philosophical contexts.
LITERARY CRITICISM AN INTRODUCTION TO THEORY AND PRACTICE CHARLES E BRESSLER DOWNLOAD literary criticism an introduction pdfintroduction to hayden white, university of california at an introduction.
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