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12 votes

Why don't modern critics like archetypes?

As someone who has struggled through an essay on characterization in Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber using Jungian archetypes I may be able to shed some light on the issue. The archetypal approach,...
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11 votes

What is the "Intentional Fallacy"?

The Intentional Fallacy is the fallacy of defining the meaning of a work using the author's intentions: The author intended their work to mean this, and so it means this. However, this has problems: ...
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10 votes

What is the "Intentional Fallacy"?

The intentional fallacy is a misnomer in that the fallacy is not committed intentionally, but rather it relates to intentions. The intentional fallacy is the fallacy of using authors' intentions in ...
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8 votes
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Is there such a thing as an unbiased text?

First, I have to ask: do you have a clear definition for bias? Think on this for a moment. Let's look at some of the meanings given, for instance, by Merriam-Webster: a : an inclination of ...
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7 votes

How can poetry be defined?

This is a tough question. Eliot, in particular, demonstrated the primacy of meter over rhyme in Four Quartets. (Rhyme is generally considered to be the primary mnemonic device, a critical element ...
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6 votes
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Academic who abandoned literary criticism and started writing novels?

After some more searching, I found that the academic and author I was looking for is Frank Lentricchia. In literary theory and criticism he wrote, among other ones, the following books: After the ...
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6 votes
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How much weight should we give authors' declarations of their intent after the fact?

The way that this question is worded implies a particular theory about how literature is interpreted (that is, it's a theory-laden question). The implicit theory seems to be that we interpret ...
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6 votes
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Is Jonathan Culler saying that literary theory is effectively the same subject as cultural studies?

tl;dr No. Cultural studies are focused on specific cultural phenomena, including literature. Theory is at a level of abstraction from those phenomena. Culler makes the following statements here: ...
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5 votes

What section of literary theory does "pure" analysis fall into?

"New Criticism" is an older form of literary criticism but it does focus on the "formal elements" of a piece. New Critics attempt to break down literature into four linguistic devices, paradox, irony,...
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5 votes

What is the meaning of 'myopia' in literature studies?

All of the examples you give seem to be using the term "myopic" to mean focusing on something small, or very specific, while ignoring the larger view. Like most who mutilate Chopin, he was ...
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4 votes
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What are the major differences between Russian Formalism and New Criticism?

Russian Formalism was probably the first school in literary theory that looked at poetry and literature in general as true linguistic phenomena. One of its representatives, Viktor Shklovsky coined the ...
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4 votes

What is the history of the universe/canon/word-of-god approach to literature?

Bentley’s edition of Milton In 1732, Richard Bentley published an edition of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Bentley was master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and an eminent classical scholar, whose editions ...
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4 votes

What evidence is there for the "recession of accent" theory?

TL;DR: The question remains open, with little progress having been made in the last century. Modern commentators on the issue mostly take a neutral or skeptical position, or suggest that the ...
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4 votes

Did Harold Bloom ever criticise New Historicism for reducing literature to a footnote of history?

Harold Bloom certainly criticised New Historicism. In his book The Western Canon, he said: Whatever the convictions of our current New Historicists, for whom Shakespeare is only a signifier for the ...
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4 votes

What do literary critics mean when they say a text is overdetermined?

Terry Eagleton's book Literary Theory: An Introduction (second edition, 1996) offers the following explanation (emphasis added): The literary work continually enriches and transforms mere dictionary ...
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4 votes
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How is psychoanalysis relevant to the study of literature?

Peter Barry (Beginning Theory, fourth edition. Manchester University Press, 2017, p. 97): Psychoanalytic criticism is a form of literary criticism which uses some of the techniques of psychoanalysis ...
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4 votes
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"Tragic" vs "Tragedy"

tl;dr The distinction between "tragic" and "tragedy" made on the Owl Purdue page is extremely narrow and very specialized. The terms are used in a technical sense derived from ...
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4 votes
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Why is the 1820 Indicator version of La Belle Dame Sans Merci seen as more "politically correct"?

Fry relies on McGann, so in this answer I’m going to summarize McGann’s argument. McGann starts with the observation that a commonly accepted editorial principle is that the editor should try to ...
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3 votes

What's the meaning of 'English studies of empirical studies' to be antihumanist?

The 5 word phrase you ask about, "English studies of empirical studies", is hard to parse when taken out of context, as you took it in the title of your question. The context "a larger suspicion in ...
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3 votes

How much weight should we give authors' declarations of their intent after the fact?

How much weight you should give to an author's declaration about intended meaning or interpretation depends on the theory of literature you espouse. In a related question, I briefly discussed E. D. ...
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3 votes

What section of literary theory does "pure" analysis fall into?

Analysis of literary texts that is based purely on the text itself and not historical context, the author's biography etcetera is not so much a "section" of literary theory but an approach practised ...
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3 votes
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Has Antonin Scalia's version of textualism influenced literary theory or hermeneutics?

Antonin Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 and his first book on textualism, A Matter of Interpretation: Federal Courts and the Law, dates from 1997. The idea that the interpretation of ...
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3 votes
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Anthology of literary theory that illustrates each theory by applying it to the same works

I managed to locate the book: it is Contexts for Criticism by Donald Keesey (second edition, Mayfield Publishing, 1994). It contains seven chapters, each with three examples of theory and three "...
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3 votes

Was authorial intent ever taken seriously in academic literary theory?

Wimsatt and Beardsley's essay The Intentional Fallacy wasn't flogging a dead horse, nor did it bury the concept of authorial intent. One of the most influential statements of intentionalism is E. D. ...
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3 votes

How did the Frankfurt School's Critical Theory influence literary theory?

The question is a bit difficult to answer because of the constraints put on it. The Frankfurt School was hugely influential on cultural critique; Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, and Fredric Jameson, ...
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3 votes

Is Jonathan Culler saying that literary theory is effectively the same subject as cultural studies?

I came away from reading that chapter with the idea that literary studies and cultural studies are two different but overlapping fields and that "theory" is a feature that both have in ...
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