Literary approaches

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Literary approaches

Literature
Choose six of the following approaches and find one article for each approach.

Writing:
?One page per article
?2 pgs summary
Critical approaches important in the study of literature:
MORAL/INTELLECTUAL
Concerned with content and values
Used not only to discover meaning, but also to determine whether works of literature are both true and significant.

To study lit from this perspective is to determine whether a work conveys a lesson or a message and whether it can help readers lead better lives and improve their understanding of the world.

Answer these questions:
?What ideas does the work contain?
?How strongly does the work bring forth its ideas?
?What application do the ideas have to the works characters and situations?
?How may the ideas be evaluated intellectually? Morally?
TOPICAL/HISTORICAL
Stresses the relationship of lit to its historical period
Investigates relationships of this sort, including the elucidation of words and concepts that todays readers may not immediately understand.

Common criticism is that in the extreme, it deals with background knowledge rather than with lit itself.


NEW CRITICAL/FORMALIST
Focuses on literary texts as formal works of art, and for this reason it can be seen as a reaction against the topical/historical approach.

Most brilliant in the formal analysis of smaller units such as poems and short passages.
Discussions of point of view, tone, plot, character, and structure are formal ways of looking at lit from this point of view.


STRUCTURALIST
Stems from the attempt to find relationships and connections among elements that appear to be separate and discrete.
Attempts to discover the forms unifying all lit
Important because it enables critics to discuss works from widely disparate cultures and historical periods.

Furnishes an ideal approach for comparative lit and the method also enables critics to consolidate genres such as modern romances, detective tales, soap operas and film.

Best in the analysis of narratives and larger units.


FEMINIST
Holds that most of lit presents a masculine/patriarchal view in which the role of women is negated or at best minimized.
Seeks to raise consciousness about the importance and unique nature of women in lit.


ECONOMIC DETERMINIST/MARXIST
Features individuals in the grips of the class struggle.
Often called proletarian lit
Emphasizes persons of the lower class the poor and oppressed who spend their lives in endless drudgery and misery, and whose attempts to rise above their disadvantages usually result in renewed suppression.


PSYCHOLOGICAL/PSYCHOANALYTIC
Provided a new key to the understanding of character by claiming that behavior is caused by hidden unconscious motives.

Treat lit somewhat like information about patients in therapy.


ARCHETYPAL/SYMBOLIC/MYTHIC
Presupposes that human life is built up out of patterns, or archetypes, that are similar throughout various cultures and historical times.

Used to support the claim that the very best lit is grounded in archetypal patterns.

Looks for archetypes such as Gods creation of human beings, the sacrifice of a hero, or the search for paradise.
DECONSTRUCTIONIST
Produces a type of analysis that stresses ambiguity and contradiction.

Assumes that there is no central truth because circumstances and time, which are changeable and sometimes arbitrary, govern the world of the intellect.
There is not one correct interpretation, but only interpretations, with each one possessing its own validity.


READER-RESPONSE
Rooted in the branch of philosophy that deals with the understanding of how things appear (phenomenology).

Holds that the readier is a necessary third party in the author-text-reader relationship that constitutes literary work. The work is not fully created until readers make a transaction with it by assimilating it and actualizing it in the light of their own knowledge and experience.