Questions tagged [literary-criticism]

Questions related to literary criticism, the branch of the humanities that studies and interprets literature. For literary theory, use the [theory] tag.

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According to Twain, what literary offenses did Fenimore Cooper not commit?

In Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences, Mark Twain avers: Cooper's art has some defects. In one page in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offences ...
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Was the feeling of attraction towards a lower social class present in Moravia's "Agostino" discussed by critics?

Alberto Moravia's Agostino is clearly a Bildungsroman: the events that happened to the thirteen-year-old ingenuous protagonist during the summer of 1942 mark his entry into adolescence. But some other ...
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What does this line from an essay on T. S. Eliot mean?

The following extract is from Charles Altieri's essay "Eliot's Impact on twentieth-century Anglo-American poetry" published in The Cambridge Companion to T. S. Eliot. Here, Altieri is ...
user392289's user avatar
15 votes
2 answers
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Why did literary critic Harold Bloom say something that didn't correspond to reality regarding Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone?

In this opinion piece by renowned late literary critic Harold Bloom, we see him levy the following charge against Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: I went to the Yale bookstore and bought and ...
Fomalhaut's user avatar
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"Chieftain" and Toussaint's ethnicity in Wordsworth's "To Toussaint L'Ouverture"

Wordsworth's "To Toussaint L'Ouverture" apostrophises the eponymous freedom fighter as "O miserable Chieftain!" (line 5). In "Black Heroes/White Writers: Toussaint L'Ouverture ...
verbose's user avatar
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6 votes
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Meaning of "not to say this is a bad kind of poetry" etc. in Wordsworth's Preface to the "Lyrical Ballads"

At one point in the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads (1800), Wordsworth quotes a parody of simple verses by Samuel Johnson and compares it with a stanza from the "Babes in the Wood". Then he ...
user392289's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
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Poet who asserted that poets lack personality and collect objects to give them one

In about the mid-90s I read part of a book of literary criticism by a poet (so focused mainly on poetry and poetic theory) where he said that poets lack a personality and often collect trinkets to ...
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What is the history of Kant and the concept of autonomous art in literature?

If you read around literary theory, you'll frequently come across the concept of autonomy in art, the idea that an artwork is a thing unto itself, independent from the artist. As far as I understand ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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3 votes
4 answers
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How do people learn to analyze literature?

How do students of English learn to analyze literature? How do they come up with new things to say about texts that everyone doesn't already know? The essence of the question is given above, but ...
Senil Barre's user avatar
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What are the practical schools of literary criticism that can be applied to analyze "Great Expectations"? [closed]

I am interested in analyzing the whole novel. What are the schools of literary criticism I can apply to Great Expectations? To which area can each school be directed? I would be delighted if each ...
Ihssan Benbouhia's user avatar
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Poet from the 50s / 60s who said being a poet was like standing out in a storm trying to be hit by lightning

as per subject, I remember a quote like being a poet meant standing out in thunderstorms trying to be struck by lighting and if you were lucky you might get struck maybe 4 times in your life. I ...
user254694's user avatar
-3 votes
1 answer
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How to develop a critical standpoint? [closed]

I'd like to know how people write reviews in which they criticize and express their views on such a literary work (Any type). If I don't like something, I just end up saying that I didn't like it, I ...
Nour Fourti's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
186 views

Whatever happened to Barthes' "science of literature"?

In Criticism and Truth (Critique et Vérité, 1966), Roland Barthes puts forward what we might call a manifesto for both a science of literature on the one hand, and of literary criticism on the other: ...
Daneel Olivaw's user avatar
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What was the first instance of the use of a Closed Time loop as a plot device in a published piece of American science fiction?

What was the first instance of the use of a closed time loop (An event where the cause and effect of a time loop feed into one another, creating a stable and unending chain of causality), in a piece ...
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3 votes
2 answers
283 views

Why is the separation between literary criticism and literary theory controversial?

Wikipedia notes Whether or not literary criticism should be considered a separate field of inquiry from literary theory, or conversely from book reviewing, is a matter of some controversy. For ...
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Are there collections of pre-20th-century Shakespeare criticism, esp. focusing on individual plays?

Are there any good, comprehensive primary source readers for criticism of Shakespeare and his individual plays, where the criticism is from before the 20th century? The introductions of most modern ...
IglooMaster's user avatar
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Why are William Mcgonagall's poems considered so terrible?

While writing up the wiki excerpt for william-mcgonagall a couple of weeks back, I came upon a rather surprising remark about him in Wikipedia: He won notoriety as an extremely bad poet who exhibited ...
North Læraðr's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
458 views

Why does Elaine Showalter compare Jane Eyre's being locked in a room to menarchal ceremonies?

I don't understand the part in italics. Is it saying that Jane's puberty was similar to the menarchal ceremony held by Eskimo and South Sea Island tribes? Jane's ritual imprisonment here, and the ...
Purfecr's user avatar
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Is there a term for the boundaries of expectation as established by a story's narration?

I'd like to put a name to the group of expectations established by the narration of a story, including explicit framing devices, verb tense choices, and the narrator's omniscience. Examples: A story ...
Tranquilled's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
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What is the myth-making school of Shakespeare criticism?

In Inga-Stina Ewbank's essay "The Triumph of Time in The Winter's Tale" (Review of English Literature, 5 (1964); reprinted in Shakespeare: The Winter's Tale. A Casebook, edited by Kenneth ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
2 answers
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Did Yvor Winters describe Emerson's reputation in America as that of a sacred cow?

According to Wikipedia, the American poet and literary critic Yvor Winters (1900 – 1968) attacked Romanticism, particularly in its American manifestations, and assailed Emerson's reputation as that ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
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What does it mean to "unmoor criticism"?

The introduction by Pol Neveux to the complete short stories of Guy de Maupassant (the edition that's on Project Gutenberg - I couldn't pin down its exact details) says the following about the article ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
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Frank Kermode's prelude to modernism

Frank Kermode's The Genesis of Secrecy has the following quote: One motive of... modernism was the desire to break with a tradition of writing supposed to have been based on a mistaken or dishonest ...
Dennis Fleming's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
3k views

The Unity of Action in Shakespeare's "The Tempest"

Many critics claim that Shakespeare's play The Tempest follows all three classical unities. For example: The play observes the three Unities: the action is confined to parts of the same location, the ...
user744725's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
233 views

Keats' views on beauty

In the poem Endymion: A poetic romance (1818), the first stanza of Book I (beginning, "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever") focuses a great deal on beauty where Keats presents some of his views on ...
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5 votes
1 answer
232 views

Approaching Beowulf scholarship - how to begin?

I'm doing some research on Beowulf for class and I'm aware of some of the major pieces of scholarship (most notably, of course, 'Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics', along with works like Grendel) ...
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Did 'A Doll's House' spark controversy over its dismissal of social classes?

I know the play caused drama over feminist ideas and all, but what about the social structure, such as in the end when Nora ignores Torvald's statement "You don’t understand the society you live in" ...
Sarah's user avatar
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3 votes
1 answer
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Albert Thibaudet and the Geneva School?

I'm learning about the literary critic Albert Thibaudet. I read on Wikipedia that he was the co-founder of the Geneva School of literary criticism, but I don't remember my tutor mentioning that about ...
lmc's user avatar
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Forms of foregrounding: are recurrence / equivalence the same?

I'm struggling to grasp the difference between the literary devices of recurrence and equivalence. I'm preparing for an exam where we are asked to define these terms. In German, they are referred to ...
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History of Pale Fire's Criticism

How did Pale Fire's interpretation and analysis develop through time? Had there been continuous critical attention towards it and what did Nabokov himself say about the work? It is quite a ...
edlothia's user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
64 views

What is meant by "pensée indétérminée" in the Geneva School?

When I was learning about the Geneva School critics, my tutor said that Georges Poulet and other Geneva School critics wanted to remove the biographical author although he still survives as an ...
lmc's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
136 views

Does 'literary fiction' neccessarily have to be reality-based, or can it have fantastical themes/elements?

There seems to be a great deal of ambiguity or confusion regarding the definition of ‘literary fiction’. Particularly, it is never really made clear to me whether literary fiction can also be ...
user394536's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
76 views

What was the first book that taught readers how to analyse and interpret literature?

Books about literaty theory have a long tradition; Aristotle's Poetics dates back to the 4th century BC. Books about how to write literature also go back a long way, for example, Horace's Ars Poetica (...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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2 votes
1 answer
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What does "layering of roles" mean in this sentence?

What does "layering of roles" precisely mean in the following sentence quoted from Pirandello and the Crisis of Modern Consciousness by Anthony Francis Caputi? For the generation of Neveux, Jean ...
developer's user avatar
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5 votes
1 answer
191 views

Academic who abandoned literary criticism and started writing novels?

A number of years ago, I read about an American academic who had been publishing about literary criticism and theory but then at some point (in the 1990s or the early 2000s) decided to move away from ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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10 votes
6 answers
10k views

What is the distinction between "literary fiction" vs. "popular fiction"?

What are the defining features of literary fictions as compared to popular ones? Is it the way how characters are developed? Or is it some peculiarity in the use of language? Please feel free to ...
praveen kr's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
73 views

To what extent was literary criticism being applied to scientific works at the time Darwin's Plots was written?

I'm reading Gillian Beer's Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction. This book is essentially a work of literary criticism of Darwin's theory of ...
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