Literary Study For Dummies
A Modified Version of R. L. McGuire\'s Passionate Attention: an introduction to
literary study. Literature and criticism Authors basic assumption of a book- the
reading and the study of literature cannot and do not take place outside the
context of human values. One\'s unique personal experiences are from whence their
values are formed. These values come to light as a reader reads or a writer
writes. Literature is a record of specific personal perceptions: H.

Read-"the outer image of inward things". Literature proves the
richness not the limitations of being human. Literary criticism is
discernment-the ability to see. The student needs to form their own critical
criteria and offer an interpretation of the work based on those criteria.

Judgmental reviewing is narrow and only one aspect of literary criticism. The
value of criticism is not that it lays down laws that any reader must follow,
but that it offers a new way of seeing a literary work, which may not have been
possible to the reader. For example in the critical analysis of a poem the
reader might look for the connections between words, stanzas, structure and
ideas. The four basic approaches to literary criticism are: 1) the mimetic 2)
the pragmatic 3) the expressive 4) the objective Mimetic approach- describes the
relationship of the literary work to the world or the universe in which the work
was conceived or being read. Pragmatic approach- describes the effects of the
work on its audience. Williams 2 Expressive approach- proposes the study of the
relationship of the work to the writer: biographical, psychological, history,
culture. Objective approach- is that which studies the work in and for itself
without reference to the world in which it exists, its effect on its readers, or
the works relationship to the author. The work for itself Objective criticism-
the study of a literary work is done without reference to the mimetic,
pragmatic, or expressive possibilities of interpretation. This type of criticism
regards the literary work as an object in and for itself because it is art and
the work of an individual artist. The literary work is a craft, a constructed
pattern of words, and the basis for our speculations, for its truth, its
revelation, and its power. Descriptive Critical Activities- seeks primarily to
describe a text. It is the approach to the work for itself in its simplest form.

It is employed on revisions, editions, and on the finished version. Concern lies
with the resulting product and its theme or central idea. Generic criticism-
study of the work for itself, the types of literature this criticism employs is
poems, novels, and plays. The study of poetics or prosody is the learning of
basic metrical patterns and verbal effects: iambic, tetrameter, couplets,
alliteration, rhyme, etc.... This type of study serves to remind us of a vital
aspect of the writers\' art. The writer is a craftsman of sound and effect as
well as ideas. Keep in mind that writers can be conventional or unconventional.

Thematic approach- attempts to bring the various aspects of form as well as
content together to make a statement about the subject of a work. It may also
concern itself with the message or moral of that work. Unity- if a literary work
can generate its own meaning by virtue of its internal coherence, then a
critical method can concern itself with that esthetic universe. Unity of Theme-
all of the work is about the same topic. Unity of Imagery- all the images
contribute to the same general vision, implication, theme, or central image.

Williams 3 Unity of Tone & Form- the parts of the work fit together and
support each other. According to Coleridge, "But if the definition sought
for be that of legitimate poem, I answer, it must be one, the parts of which
mutually support and explain each other; all in their proportion harmonizing
with, and supporting the purpose and known influences of metrical arrangement..
."(McGuire 22). New criticism- shows interconnections with emphasis on the
work. Mimetic-Mimesis-Imitation Mimetic criticism- is that which asks how a
literary work is important to any of the worlds to which it is related. The best
place to begin a survey of mimetic approaches is with the connection between the
work and the time in which it was written. Guideline 1) discover the extent of
the departure or conformity of the work from the era/culture in which it was
produced. This teaches the student the values of the age in which the work was
written. This entails immersion in the history, philosophy, and esthetics, the
cultural world of the work. 2)study