Subtest I - Literary Criticism Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Subtest I - Literary Criticism Deck (13)
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Theory that certain underlying patterns and symmetries are common to the literatures of almost all societies and cultures. This theory draws from sociology and anthropology. Structuralists go beyond assessing the quality of a work in favor of placing it in a larger cultural context.



This approach is concerned with how a text's literary elements contribute to a coherent whole. It prefers to address questions of style, word choice, and use of conventions instead of biographical or historical sources.


New Criticism

A critical movement akin to formalism that focused mainly on lyric poems and examined them as verbal objects without reference to the author's biography or outside influences. New critics looked closely at a poem's diction, imagery, and underlying meaning.



Focuses on a work's context in history and how its allusions, style, and point of view fit (or defy) the conventions of its period.


New Historicism

Aims to understand a text through its historical context and influences as well as to interpret cultural and intellectual history through the study of relevant literary and sub=literary texts. Ex: A new historicist approach to Shakespeare would see him not as an autonomous genius working alone, but as a product of the Renaissance theatre world and all its cultural and social influences.



This approach focuses on how details of the writer's life and the period she or he lived in are reflected in the work and explain how it was produced. This is also called traditional criticism.



Postcolonial critics examine literary works as examples of Western colonialism and imperialism and try to show how these works helped furhter ideas of racial and cultural inequality. For example, a postcolonial critic of Shakespeare's The Tempest might focus on the character of Caliban and how he represents a culture that has been colonized and oppressed by western Europeans as represented by Prospero.



Combs the language and plots of literary works for examples of Freudian concepts such as repressed consciousness, the struggles of the superego, the Oedipus complex, etc.



Focus on the reader's role in responding to, and, in effect, "creating" a piece of literature. The idea is that each reader brings to a work his or her own experiences, biases, and expectations, which in turn causes each reading to be different.



Views literature through a political lens, as in how a work depicts or glosses over the exploitation of workers by wealthy or powerful interests.



Emphasizes the role of women in literature, either as authors and poets or as characters in a narrative.



Linked to postmodernism, this approach insists that a literary work is primarily a construction of words and its possible meanings are not limited to what it author intends. Deconstructionist critics question traditional assumptions about truth and certainty. They seek to deconstruct a text to show its ideological biases related to gender, race, class, culture, and economic condition.



These critics look at the ethical or religious questions raised by a work of literature, and seek to bring out the author's own ideas about what is ethical and how life should be lived.