13 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,...
S.Bailey's user avatar
  • 574
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: ...
muru's user avatar
  • 6,910
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 ...
Benjamin's user avatar
  • 6,083
9 votes
Accepted

Does Stanley Fish's essay How to Recognize a Poem When You See One devalue the interpretation of poetry?

tl;dr No. Clarifying the Question (i.e., turning it into a different one I'd prefer to answer) You ask: If Fish is right in his observations, how do we go about saving the value of composed poetry? I ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
9 votes

What is an inciting incident?

The reason for this confusion is that the Inciting Incident isn’t a real thing. Or at least, it isn’t a single specific thing. When people talk about the Inciting Incident, they usually mean whatever ...
Oren Ashkenazi's user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

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 ...
muru's user avatar
  • 6,910
8 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 ...
DukeZhou's user avatar
  • 4,188
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Rand al'Thor's user avatar
  • 72.6k
6 votes
Accepted

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: ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
6 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
5 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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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,...
librariman's user avatar
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 ...
Mithical's user avatar
  • 24.1k
5 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 ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
4 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
4 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
4 votes
Accepted

"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 ...
verbose's user avatar
  • 27.6k
4 votes

How do people learn to analyze literature?

If you're an undergraduate, I think you may be setting the bar too high. Undergraduate programmes are there to help you learn the skills you will need if you were to take the subject forward into ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
  • 22.2k
4 votes

How do people learn to analyze literature?

In this answer I’m going to explain how people generate literary analysis, and how to come up with original analysis. It’s not as difficult as it looks! How to analyze texts The process looks ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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 ...
kimchi lover's user avatar
  • 4,170
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. ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k
3 votes
Accepted

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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
  • 44.6k

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