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Literary Criticism: . Conclusion & New Beginnings What is Literary Criticism ? Critical Perspectives = 1. Finding different Contexts An Example : “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal” Critical Perspectives = 2. Being engaged in some critical issues . Beginnings . . . .

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literary criticism

Literary Criticism:

Conclusion & New Beginnings

What is Literary Criticism?

Critical Perspectives= 1. Finding different Contexts

An Example: “A Slumber did my Spirit Seal”

Critical Perspectives =

2. Being engaged in some critical issues.

Beginnings . . .

literary criticism2
Literary Criticism


  • to Understanding

Analysis from a certain perspective



Understanding can never be presupposition-less. Understanding must involve using some framework(s) or perspectives--conscious or unconscious.

literary criticism3
Literary Criticism
  • to Understanding

The Course Literary Criticism tries to make you aware of or use different perspectives and frameworks to look at a literary text, yourself and your world.

a hermeneutic circle

What is it about?

Do you like it?


What else does it mean from a certain perspective or in some context(s)?

由賞析到批評理論: a Hermeneutic Circle




What does it mean? And how?



How are its meanings produced?


How to position a text in its contexts?


Political Unconscious


印刷、出版者/ 行銷者



The Unconscious

Text // Self

semiotics jakobson s six factors in speech

How to position a text in its linguistic contexts?

Semiotics: Jakobson’s six factors in speech

Context/Soceity, History = Intertexts



Author ContactReader





Signification process

althusser s idea of social formation

How to position a text in its social contexts?









Althusser’s idea of social formation
  • Relative autonomy; mediation (媒介); over-determination




romantic discourse as an example

How to position a text in its discursive contexts?

Romantic Discourse as an example

Angel and Whore binaries

in Traditional Lit.

French Revolution




1. The Poet’s Imagination & Emotion but not reason;

2. Human nature// Nature

3. Treatment of Peasants & Women

Keats Shelley


Organicism: Lawrence; New Criticism

Pre-Raphaelite Paintings

wordsworthian discourse
Wordsworthian Discourse

rise of capitalism:

book market

Literary Reviews


1. W’s language

-- of the lower classes

2. W’ssubject matter:


W's prefaces and

supplementary essays:

set up his poetry as

an independent discipline,

Coleridge's glosses,

Shelley's defense

Keats' letters

Wordsworth’s Poems:

Lyrical Ballads

(1798; 1802; 1815)


-- Need of money;

-- Cut out Coleridge’s part

to “suit the common taste”;

A slumber did my spirit seal

(New Crit: Pattern/Tension made with sounds, syntax, tense, verse form, repetition, etc.)

A slumber did my spirit seal;

I had no human fears:

She seemed a thing that could notfeel

The touch of earthly years.

No motion has she now, noforce;

She neither hears nor sees;

Rolled round in earth's diurnal course,

With rocks, and stones, and trees.

biographical studies
Biographical studies
  • Lucy Poems: Composed in Germany; most of them written in the winter of 1798-99
  • Lucy’s identity:
    • a creation of the poet's imagination.
    • Wordsworth's feeling of affection for his sister. Coleridge wrote of this poem in a letter of April 1799: "Some months ago Wordsworth transmitted to me a most sublime Epitaph ... whether it had any reality, I cannot say.--Most probably, in some gloomier moment he had fancied the moment in which his Sister might die."
psychoanalytic studies
Psychoanalytic Studies
  • 1. Wordsworth’s desire to be both dead and alive (to re-live his mother’s death).
  • 2. The "Lucy" poems have been described as an attempt by Wordsworth to "kill" his improper feelings for his sister.
    • In1802, Wordsworth married his childhood friend, Mary Hutchinson. Dorothy did not attend the ceremony; she was crying on her bed.
textual studies
Textual Studies
  • Part of “The "Lucy Poems" as most modern editors treat them.
  • Wordsworth himself never printed them together in any editions of his poetry. Modern editors ought to reconsider their practice.
marxist approach lucy as a peasant girl
Marxist Approach: Lucy as a peasant girl?
  • The time of his writing: a legacy of 900 pounds; need to attract his readers.
  • The 1802 Preface: about describing the rustics--can "surpass the original" occasionally, and that the object of his description is not actually individual persons, but "general and operative truth" (256-57).
deconstruction i she thing undecidability

A Slumber my spirit sealed =dead

No human fears= inhuman, all-knowing

[her death]

She = a thing? =dead; non-human

Deconstruction: I/She/Thing Undecidability

Rolled . . .

With rocks, and stones, and trees.

  • Earthly years
  • Motion; Force
  • Hears, Sees
critical perspectives 2 critical issues
Critical Perspectives 2: Critical Issues
  • What is a text/self composed of?
  • How do we read a text or ourselves in relation to the surrounding signs, ideologies, discourse, economic relations as well as the other kinds of power relations?
  • What are the implications in the use of the words “self,” “character,” “subject” and “subject position”?
critical perspectives 2 2 critical issues related
Critical Perspectives 2-2: Critical Issues Related
  • Language: "[S]igns are arbitrary, conventional, & differential." binary opposition

transcendental signified

deconstruction, diff rance & signification

  • myth ideology discourse

Orientalism or cultural imperialism

  • Social formations (economic determinism or discursive formation? )
  • postcolonial writings
end of the course beginnings of critical thinking
End of the course = Beginnings . . . of Critical Thinking
  • For further studies:
    • Be ready for facing frustrations in reading difficult primary texts; get a dictionary, handbook or Chinese articles to help;
  • For further thinking:
    • Methodologies? Keep on reading critically.
    • Keep the key words/issues in mind as you read and/or think. Always try to relate, contextualize and map.
    • Raise critical questions about the text, about ourselves and our society.