In this lesson, our instructor Rebekah Hendershot, teaches about Literary Criticism. Youll learn what literary criticism actually is and the questions it will ask of you. Youll also learn why literary criticism matters, where to find it, and about major critical movements. Rebekah also guides you through writing your own literary criticism and how looking at context, biography, undercurrents, and language will make the process easier. The lesson ends with a quick and dirty secret about literary criticism and then three excellent books on the subject.
Essentially, literary criticism is all about observation and interpretation. You observe what is present in or around the work, and you interpret what it means and how it connects to other works.
This might be your sincere opinion about whatever you’re reading, or it might not.
At least on the AP English Literature and Composition exam, you don’t have to believe a word you say. You just have to back it up.
Things to look at:
Context: When and where was the work written? Is it part of a larger literary movement? Does it follow the rules of that movement, or deviate from them in some important way?
Biography: What do you know about the author? Is this work autobiographical? Is some element of it drawn from the author’s life, or written in response to some key historical event?
Content: On a basic level, what’s in the work? What happens in the story or poem? What is predictable? What is surprising? What do you remember most about this work when you’ve finished reading it?
Undercurrents: What is the theme of the work? Are there allusions to other works of literature? How does the author’s tone affect your perception of the work?
Language: What kind of language does the author use? What kind of vocabulary does he or she display? Are sentences, lines, and paragraphs long or short? Does anything rhyme? What kinds of word origins are in play? What kind of sound would this work have when read aloud?
Critical Perspectives: How would members of the various critical schools approach this work? What would they say about it?
The Quick and Dirty Secret of Lit-Crit
Write about whatever the author didn’t have to include.
Scenes, actions, and characters
Language and imagery
Digressions and tangents
The “weird stuff”
Three Great Books on Lit-Crit
The Critical Tradition: Classical Texts and Contemporary Trends (1998), edited by David H. Richter
Critical Theory Today: A User-Friendly Guide (1999), by Lois Tyson
Beginning Theory (2002), by Peter Barry
Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.
This book includes five full length practice exams with all questions answered and explained. It includes a review of test topics covering details test takers need to know, such as poetry,prose fiction, and drama. It also includes sample student essays with critiques of their strengths and weaknesses, as well as a detailed glossary defining 175 literary and rhetorical terms.
Publisher: Wordsworth Editions Ltd; New ed edition
This book is a reprint of the Shakespeare Head Press edition, and it presents all the plays in chronological order in which they were written in an easy to read format. It also includes Shakespeare's Sonnets, as well as his longer poems Venus and Adonis and The Rape of Lucrece.
Grammarly is the world's leading software suite for perfecting written English. It checks for more than 250 types of spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors, enhances vocabulary usage, and suggests citations.