New Criticis m. “When I’m right, I’m right. Even when I’m wrong, I’m still right” -Anonymous. Definition. New Criticism: An analytic literary criticism that is marked by concentration on the language, imagery, and emotional or intellectual tensions in literary works. Normal People Words.
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“When I’m right, I’m right. Even when I’m wrong, I’m still right”
An analytic literary criticism that is marked by concentration on the language, imagery, and emotional or intellectual tensions in literary works
A form of literary criticism that focuses on choice of words, imagery, emotions, and intellects within a literary work
Possibly linked to American isolationism pre-World War 2
John Crow Ransom – author of The New Criticism
Allen Tate – author of “Ode to the Confederate Dead” and The Fathers
Robert Penn Warren – member of a group of Agrarians that founded New Criticism
“Criticism, Inc.,” and “The Ontological Critic” by John Crow Ransom
“Miss Emily and the Bibliographer” by Allen Tate
The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry and “Pure and Impure Poetry” by Robert Penn Warren
“A theory of humankind whose proponents attempted to show systematically, even scientifically, that all element of human culture, including literature, may be understood as parts of a system of signs.”
Ferdinand de Saussure
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe 1
Anatomy of Criticism, by Northrop Frye 3
“Sleeping Beauty” 2
1: “Rhetorical novels, like Uncle Tom’s Cabin, are centrifugal, stressing the thematic connection of the stories and characters to the social order.”
2: “The deep structure of the narrative is analyzed through the discovery of a binary opposition and the resultant mediation.”
3: “attempts to formulate an overall view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism derived exclusively from literature”
of the structuralism period…
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939) - Freud was one of the first people to intertwine psychoanalytic criticism in to literature. Although his contributions were not numerous, he did suggest that literature, just as any other art form, contained the concealed desires and wants of the author. The emotions of the author were then shared and revealed with the audience.
Jacques Lacan (1901-1981) - Lacan was one of the more significant contributors to literary psychoanalysis, He stated that within literature, there exists the understanding of the real, the imaginary, and the symbolic. Lacan felt that this thinking process, while dominantly experienced in children, was also experienced by all humans when exposed to literature or any other form of expression. He also believed that the subconscious formed a universal language of sorts in literature. His most famous lecture was over Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Purloined Letter.”
1895(?) – 1915(?) – Sigmund Freud theorized and defined Psychoanalysis. Included Oedipus complex and came up with the concepts of Id, ego, and superego
1907 – Carl Jung and Freud meet for the first of many times to discuss their theories on psychoanalysis
1912 – Jung and Freud discuss psychoanalytical journals and applied the essay “Amenhotep IV” to actual conflicts in the psychoanalytical movement
1953 - Jacques Lacan begins applying psychoanalysis to literature.
1953 – 1981 – Lacan gives yearly seminars in Paris
1955- Lacan gives seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’
1957- The Agency of the Letter in the Unconscious or Reason since Freud translated by Alan Sheridan
1959- Desire and Interpretation of Desire in Hamlet translated by J. Hulbert
1966- Écrits: A Selection, transl. by Alan Sheridan
1. The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I
2. Aggressivity in psychoanalysis
3. The function and field of speech and language in psychoanalysis
4. The Freudian thing
5. The agency of the letter in the unconscious or reason since Freud
6. On a question preliminary to any possible treatment of psychosis
7. The direction of the treatment and the principles of its power
8. The signification of the phallus
9. The subversion of the subject and the dialectic of desire in the Freudian unconscious
“On her way home she usually bought a slice of honeycake at the baker’s. It was her Sunday treat. Sometimes there was an almond in her slice, sometimes not. It made a great difference. If there was an almond it was like carrying home a tiny present – a surprise – something that might very well not have been there. She hurried on the almond Sundays and struck the match for the kettle in quite a dashing way. But today she passed the baker’s by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room – her room like a cupboard – and set down on the red eiderdown. She sat there for a long time. The box that the fur came out of was on her bed. She unclasped the necklet quickly; quickly, without looking, laid it inside. But when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying.”BecauseMiss Brill takes off the fur quickly, it is clear that she feels shame. But why shame? From this reaction, the reader can make a variety of assumptions about Miss Brill’s current mental state and the events of the past that could have shaped her personality.
1) She could have suffered severe ridicule and criticism during her childhood based on how quickly she got rid of her “flaw”.
2) She have been in a controlled situation by a parent or a former spouse due to the boldness she felt in wearing the fur out in public for the first time in years. The fur became a bigger deal than it should have been.
3) She could have remembered a lost love from her teenage years. Perhaps when the young couple mocked her, the ridicule didn’t necessarily bother her, but the fact that the ridicule came from the young man upset her. Maybe she was humiliated in some manner by a young love. To a literary psychoanalyst, the causes of Miss Brill’s shame due to the boy may have been caused by rape or concealed sexual desires that were never fulfilled in her youth. After being mocked, she’s reminded that she can’t be attractive to anyone. This idea, however, does not mean she was looking for the boy’s “approval”- simply recognition from someone. These concealed desires may explain her boldness and insecurities at the same time. They also may explain why she just wants to impress someone with her outward appearance – the fur.
4) Maybe Miss Brill’s childhood was forcefully taken away from her. Perhaps her habit of going to pick up a “slice of honeycake at the baker’s” was a routine from her childhood, and she continues to practice the routine in an attempt to find comfort.
( …we done :P )
Marxist Literary Theory
By Nathanial Edwards
Feminist Theory and Criticism
Sara Clark and Stacey Ware
"Purple is to lavender as woman is to feminist" – Alice Walker
Or for easier comprehension:
It helps the masculine-dominated culture to understand the nature of gender inequality.
By: Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Betty Friedan wrote and published her book in 1963.
of feminism is one that desires to include all.
Women along with men are encouraged to help support these age old stereotypes.
We want everyone to be free to be who they are, and most importantly to be themselves.
Both Susan and Sandra
Pulitzer Prize and National
Critics Circle Award
Madwoman in the Attic is widely recognized as a text central to second- wave feminism
Things to look for:
To rediscover the works of women writers overlooked by the masculine-dominated culture.
“Louis Adrian Montrose interprets A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an ideological attempt to comprehend the power of Queen Elizabeth—to make sense of it and place it safely within bounds—while simultaneously upholding the authority of males within Elizabethan culture. By citing a variety of contemporary writing (in order to reinstate the ‘discursive practices’ of the age), Montrose demonstrates the Elizabethans’ ambivalence toward their queen: abiding respect mixed with a dark desire to master her sexually. In this context, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is reread as a fable of the restoration of male governance. Mothers are significantly excluded from the dramatis personae of the play, just as the danger of matriarchy (with which the Elizabethans flirted in their fascination with the myth of the Amazons) was quietly suppressed by the celebration of Elizabeth’s virginity. The very real possibility that power might actually be passed from mother to daughter was concealed from women of the age by such cultural productions as Shakespeare’s play, in which Elizabeth was a willing collaborator as much by her decision to remain unwed and barren as by her ‘cultural presence’ within the play.”
“The way Shakespeare describes Caliban and Sycorax relates to many tales about the Native Americans. The name Caliban is so close to the word Cannibal. Sycorax was killed by Prospero for being a ‘witch’. The Tempest explains how settlers treated Natives. They owned the lands then lost them: they had to learn the settlers’ languages, and were shipped to Europe to be ‘displayed’ Caliban was taken as Prospero’s slave. Caliban was described just like the ‘Indians’ were as savages. Prospero and Miranda would be the Conquistadors who first enslaved the Native Americans. They described the Natives in both the text and in the colonies in a way so that they could dehumanize these people so others wouldn’t stand against them but rather join them.”
Post-Colonial Literary Theory
Literary theory that analyzes the effects caused by time under foreign rule on the colonized and the colonizer
Typically very critical of colonization and its effects
Wrote Orientalism, which discusses the West’s domination of Asia and its effects, most notably the culture
Specialized in study, and denouncement, of Western imperialism in the Orient
Wrote extensively on how those oppressed by a foreign power are shaped into that power’s mold
Delved heavily into effects on the subaltern, or those within the colonized who are oppressed
Examined the “hybridisation” caused from the mixing of the cultures of the colonized and colonizer
Former colonies of European imperialist powers such as Great Britain/United Kingdom, Spain, and France along with United States
Theory came into play during the 1970s