This is why for decades and centuries - long after their authors have gone silent - the writings of Dante, Shakespeare, and Austen, among so many other vital voices, will continue to captivate readers and comment upon life. Literature has innumerable qualities and purposes and can open doors to unique situations and worlds which are never wholly removed from our own. Literature introduces us to memorable characters who often have something in common with us or people we know, and those portraits and portrayals can speak directly to the many questions and challenges we individually or collectively face today.
Literary criticism endeavours to establish the literary genres types or categories of the various biblical documents and to reach conclusions about their structure, date, and authorship.
These conclusions are based as far as possible on internal evidence, but external evidence is also very… Functions The functions of literary criticism vary widely, ranging from the reviewing of books as they are published to systematic theoretical discussion.
The minimal condition for such a new appraisal is, of course, that the original text survive. The literary critic is sometimes cast in the role of scholarly detective, unearthing, authenticating, and editing unknown manuscripts.
Weekly and biweekly magazines serve to introduce new books but are often more discriminating in their judgments, and some of these magazines, such as The London Times Literary Supplement and The New York Review of Books, are far from indulgent toward popular works.
Misguided or malicious critics can discourage an author who has been feeling his way toward a new mode that offends received taste. Pedantic critics can obstruct a serious engagement with literature by deflecting attention toward inessential matters. As the French philosopher-critic Jean-Paul Sartre observed, the critic may announce that French thought Arnold essays in criticism a perpetual colloquy between Pascal and Montaigne not in order to make those thinkers more alive but to make thinkers of his own time more dead.
Criticism can antagonize authors even when Arnold essays in criticism performs its function well. Authors who regard literature as needing no advocates or investigators are less than grateful when told that their works possess unintended meaning or are imitative or incomplete.
What such authors may tend to forget is that their works, once published, belong to them only in a legal sense.
The true owner of their works is the public, which will appropriate them for its own concerns regardless of the critic. Justification for his role rests on the premise that literary works are not in fact self-explanatory.
A critic is socially useful to the extent that society wants, and receives, a fuller understanding of literature than it could have achieved without him. In filling this appetite, the critic whets it further, helping to create a public that cares about artistic quality.
Without sensing the presence of such a public, an author may either prostitute his talent or squander it in sterile acts of defiance.
In this sense, the critic is not a parasite but, potentially, someone who is responsible in part for the existence of good writing in his own time and afterward.
Although some critics believe that literature should be discussed in isolation from other matters, criticism usually seems to be openly or covertly involved with social and political debate.
Since literature itself is often partisan, is always rooted to some degree in local circumstances, and has a way of calling forth affirmations of ultimate values, it is not surprising that the finest critics have never paid much attention to the alleged boundaries between criticism and other types of discourse.
Especially in modern Europe, literary criticism has occupied a central place in debate about cultural and political issues. Similarly, some prominent American critics, including Alfred KazinLionel TrillingKenneth BurkePhilip Rahvand Irving Howebegan as political radicals in the s and sharpened their concern for literature on the dilemmas and disillusionments of that era.
Such a reconciliation is bound to be tentative and problematic if the critic believes, as Trilling does, that literature possesses an independent value and a deeper faithfulness to reality than is contained in any political formula. In Marxist states, however, literature has usually been considered a means to social ends and, therefore, criticism has been cast in forthrightly partisan terms.
Where this utilitarian view prevails, the function of criticism is taken to be continuous with that of the state itself, namely, furtherance of the social revolution. In periods of severe orthodoxy, the practice of literary criticism has not always been distinguishable from that of censorship.
Historical development Antiquity Although almost all of the criticism ever written dates from the 20th century, questions first posed by Plato and Aristotle are still of prime concern, and every critic who has attempted to justify the social value of literature has had to come to terms with the opposing argument made by Plato in The Republic.
The poet as a man and poetry as a form of statement both seemed untrustworthy to Plato, who depicted the physical world as an imperfect copy of transcendent ideas and poetry as a mere copy of the copy. Thus, literature could only mislead the seeker of truth.
Plato credited the poet with divine inspiration, but this, too, was cause for worry; a man possessed by such madness would subvert the interests of a rational polity. Poets were therefore to be banished from the hypothetical republic.
Such imitation presumably has a civilizing value for those who empathize with it. Tragedy does arouse emotions of pity and terror in its audience, but these emotions are purged in the process katharsis. In this fashion Aristotle succeeded in portraying literature as satisfying and regulating human passions instead of inflaming them.
Although Plato and Aristotle are regarded as antagoniststhe narrowness of their disagreement is noteworthy. Both maintain that poetry is mimetic, both treat the arousing of emotion in the perceiver, and both feel that poetry takes its justification, if any, from its service to the state.
It was obvious to both men that poets wielded great power over others.English Literature Essays, literary criticism on many authors, links to internet resources and bookshop. Langston Hughes was first recognized as an important literary figure during the s, a period known as the.
Essays on criticism by matthew arnold Dover Beach The sea is calm to-night. The tide is full, the. Growing Old What is it to grow old?
Is it to lose the glory. A Wish I ask not that my bed of death From bands of greedy. Longing Come to me in my dreams, and then By day I shall be.
New Criticism. A literary movement that started in the late s and s and originated in reaction to traditional criticism that new critics saw as largely concerned with matters extraneous to the text, e.g., with the biography or psychology of the author or the work's relationship to literary history.
COLERIDGE was perhaps the greatest of English critics, and in a sense the last. After Coleridge we have Matthew Arnold; but Arnold—I think it will be conceded—was rather a propagandist for criticism than a critic, a popularizer rather than a creator of ideas.
Page 39 - Arnold tells us that the meaning of culture is "to know the best that has been thought and said in the world." It is the criticism of life contained in literature.
It is the criticism of life contained in literature.