Introduction to Literary Theory: Understanding Different Lenses for Criticism
In "Introduction to Literary Theory," author Cher Schwartz explores the concept of literary theory, which refers to the various interpretive tools and approaches that help readers understand and analyze
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Slide1INTRO TO LITERARYTHEORY Cher Schwartz
Slide2What is literary theory/criticism/lens? interpretive tools that help us think more deeply and insightfully about the literature that we read. Over time, different schools of literary criticism have developed, each with its own approaches to the act of reading. these ideas act as different lenses critics use to view and talk about art, literature, and even culture. These different lenses allow critics to consider works of art based on certain assumptions within that school of theory. The different lenses also allow critics to focus on particular aspects of a work they consider important.
Slide3Disclaimer!!!! Please note that the schools of literary criticism and their explanations included here are by no means the only ways of distinguishing these separate areas of theory. many critics use tools from two or more schools in their work. Some would define differently or greatly expand the (very) general statements given here. Once you have a general understanding of each theory, you can begin utilizing your own interpretation and experiences into the lens. In short: there is no specific, black-and-white formula- that’s for math/science
Slide4Although philosophers, critics, educators and authors have been writing about writing since ancient times, contemporary schools of literary theory have cohered from these discussions and now influence how scholars look at and write about literature. The following sections overview these movements in critical theory. Though the timeline on the next slide roughly follows a chronological order, I have placed some schools closer together because they are so closely aligned.
Slide5Literary Theory Timeline Moral Criticism, Dramatic Construction (~360 BC-present) Formalism, New Criticism, Neo-Aristotelian Criticism (1930s-present) Psychoanalytic Criticism, Jungian Criticism(1930s-present) Marxist Criticism (1930s-present) Reader-Response Criticism (1960s-present) Structuralism/Semiotics (1920s-present) Post-Structuralism/Deconstruction (1966-present) New Historicism/Cultural Studies (1980s-present) Post-Colonial Criticism (1990s-present) Feminist Criticism (1960s-present) Gender/Queer Studies (1970s-present)
Slide6Archetypal Theory argues that archetypes determine the form and function of literary works, that a text's meaning is shaped by cultural and psychological myths. Archetypes are the unknowable basic forms personified or concretized in recurring images, symbols, or patterns which may include motifs such as the quest or the heavenly ascent, recognizable character types such as the trickster or the hero, symbols such as the apple or snake, or images such as crucifixion (as in King Kong , or Bride of Frankenstein )--all laden with meaning already when employed in a particular work
Slide7Archetypal images and story patterns encourage readers (and viewers of films and advertisements) to participate ritualistically in basic beliefs, fears, and anxieties of their age. These archetypal features not only constitute the intelligibility of the text but also tap into a level of desires and anxieties of humankind.