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Literary Theory. Schools of thought. Types and times. {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)

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literary theory

Literary Theory

Schools of thought

types and times
Types and times
  • {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 includes Narratology/Archetypes:(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)

Plato: If art does not teach morality and ethics, then it is damaging to its audience (the Republic).

  • Aristotle saw poetry and drama as means to an end (for example, an audience's enjoyment) he established some basic guidelines for authors to follow to achieve certain objectives.

Aristotle believed that elements like "...language, rhythm, and harmony..." as well as "...plot, character, thought, diction, song, and spectacle..." influence the audience's katharsis (pity and fear) or satisfaction with the work.

  • Choose lens
  • Do research
    • Define
    • Apply to a shared text (preferably read in this class)
    • Present
lion king
Lion King
  • Feminist/Gender: Can be viewed as the helpless role females have in society. The female lions are used to provide food and care for the young, yet it is the males that have all the power. When Mufasa dies his power transfers to either his son or his brother. His wife is never even considered. Nala is also clearly “stronger” than Simba yet she is considered inferior.
  • Marxist: Can be viewed as the upper class (lions) trying to maintain power over an unhappy lower class (hyenas). The lower class resents the privileges of better food and hunting grounds that the upper class maintains. This conflict causes a rebellion, which disrupts the normal social order causing chaos and destruction.

Psychoanalytic: Can be viewed as a classic case of sibling rivalry—Scar is savagely jealous of his much stronger and better looking older brother. Can also be viewed as the classic struggle to overcome feelings of guilt or inadequacy—both of which Simba has after the death of his father.

  • Narratology/Archetype: Simba represents the classic hero quest. Simba suffers from a loss of a father figure and must go off on a journey to grow into his destiny. During his journey he meets tricksters (Timon/Pumba) who also act as his helpers and finds a mentor (crazy monkey with a stick). Nala also acts as the herald as she upsets the sleepy equilibrium in which Simba has lived and starts his growth. He then has enough strength (mental and physical) to overcome the villain and restore everything to order.
next paper
Next Paper?
  • Final draft – outside of class:
    • Choose a literary theory and apply it to The Picture of Dorian Gray
    • 2-3 pages double spaced
    • Due: December 1