"It is a shift from seeing the poem or novel as a closed entity, equipped with definite meanings which it is the critic's task to decipher, to seeing literature as irreducibly plural, an endless play of signifiers which can never be finally nailed down to a single center, essence, or meaning" (Eagleton 120 - see reference below under "General References").
Literary criticism, as distinguished from scholarly research, is usually itself considered a form of literature. Some people find great critics as entertaining and stimulating as great poets, and theoretical treatises of literary aesthetics can be as exciting as novels. Aristotle, Longinus, and the Roman rhetorician and critic Quintilian are still read, although Renaissance critics like the once all-powerful Josephus Scaliger are forgotten by all but specialized scholars. Later critics, such as Poe, Sainte-Beuve, Taine, Vissarion Belinsky, Matthew Arnold, Walter Bagehot, Walter Pater, and George Saintsbury, are probably read more for themselves than for their literary judgments and for their general theorizing rather than for their applications (in the case of the first three, for instance, time has confounded almost all the evaluations they made of their contemporaries). The English critics have survived because they largely confined themselves to acknowledged masterpieces and general ideas. Perhaps literary criticism can really be read as a form of autobiography. Aestheticians of literature like I.A. Richards, Sir C.M. Bowra, Paul Valéry, Suzanne Langer, and Ernst Cassirer have had an influence beyond the narrow confines of literary scholarship and have played in our time something approaching the role of general philosophers. This has been true on the popular level as well. The Dane Georg Brandes, the Americans James Gibbons Huneker, H.L. Mencken, and Edmund Wilson these men have been social forces in their day. Literary criticism can play its role in social change. In Japan, the overthrow of the shogunate, the restoration of the emperor, and the profound change in the Japanese social sensibility begins with the literary criticism of Moto-ori Norinaga (1730-1801). The nineteenth-century revolution in theology resulted from the convergence of Darwinian theories of evolution and the technical and historical criticism of the Bible that scholars had undertaken. For many modern intellectuals, the literary quarterlies and weeklies, with their tireless discussions of the spiritual significance and formal characteristics of everything from the greatest masterpiece to the most ephemeral current production, can be said to have filled the place of religion, both as rite and dogma.
Significance: Shakespearean Criticism through Literature Criticism Online provides students,educators, theatergoers, and other interested readers with valuable insightsinto Shakespeare’s drama and poetry. Clear, accessible introductory essaysfollowed by carefully selected critical responses allow end-users to engagewith a variety of scholarly views and critical conversations about Shakespeare’sworks as literature and in performance. Students and teachers at all levels ofstudy will benefit from this series, whether they seek information for classdiscussion and writing assignments, new perspectives on the works, or the mostnoteworthy analyses of Shakespeare’s legacy.
Source: Introductory essays are written and entries compiled byprofessional literature researchers and other subject matter experts. Eachentry includes a set of previously published reviews, essays and other criticalresponses from sources that include scholarly books and journals, literary magazines,interviews, letters and diaries, carefully selected to create a representativehistory and cross-section of critical responses.
Macbeth Essay features Samuel Taylor Coleridge's famous critique based on his legendary and influential Shakespeare notes and lectures. MACBETH stands Macbeth Essays
Time passes and the pendulum of taste swings. In the mid-twentieth century, Paul Valéry, T.S. Eliot, and Yvor Winters would attack what the latter called the fallacy of expressive form, but this is itself a fallacy. All form in literature is expressive. All expression has its own form, even when the form is a deliberate quest of formlessness. (The automatic writing cultivated by the Surrealists, for instance, suffers from the excessive formalism of the unconscious mind and is far more stereotyped than the poetry of the Neoclassicist Alexander Pope.) Form simply refers to organization, and critics who attack form do not seem always to remember that a writer organizes more than words. He organizes experience. Thus, his organization stretches far back in his mental process. Form is the other face of content, the outward, visible sign of inner spiritual reality.
Psychoanalytic criticism may focus on the writer's psyche, the study of the creative process, the study of psychological types and principles present within works of literature, or the effects of literature upon its readers (Wellek and Warren, p.
Throughout literary history, many great critics have pointed out that it is artificial to make a distinction between form and content, except for purposes of analytical discussion. Form determines content. Content determines form. The issue is, indeed, usually only raised at all by those critics who are more interested in politics, religion, or ideology than in literature; thus, they object to writers who they feel sacrifice ideological orthodoxy for formal perfection, message for style.
These critics view the genres and individual plot patterns of literature, including highly sophisticated and realistic works, as recurrences of certain archetypes and essential mythic formulae.
Marxist literary criticism proceeds from the fundamental philosophical assumption that "consciousness can never be anything else than conscious existence...Life is not determined by consciousness, but consciousness by life" (Marx 568-9)....
Therefore, for literary reasons, three characters were taken for an analysis to distinguish the level of transcendence recognized (if any) in their inner and outer lives....
Absolutely, most critics have adapted psychoanalytic literary criticism theory based upon the works of psychoanalysis by famous psychologists Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Jacques Lacan to literary works....
Other writers have sought to use language for its most subtle and complex effects and have deliberately cultivated the ambiguity inherent in the multiple or shaded meanings of words. Between the two world wars, ambiguity became very fashionable in English and American poetry and the ferreting out of ambiguities from even the simplest poem was a favorite critical sport. T.S. Eliot in his literary essays is usually considered the founder of this movement. Actually, the platform of his critical attitudes is largely moral, but his two disciples, I.A. Richards in and William Empson in carried his method to extreme lengths. The basic document of the movement is Charles Kay Ogden and I.A. Richardss a work of enormous importance in its time. Only a generation later, however, their ideas were somewhat at a discount.
On-line readers, the next generation, will look for such features as multiple versions of the texts, hypertextual linkage to source materials and criticism, a historical time-line integrated with theatrical documents and pictures, as well as opportunities to export ISE resources to the latest text- and image-analysis software.