(The following section contains1. notes taken by Kate Liu from "A Historical Survey of Literary Criticism,"Literary Criticism: An Introduction to Theory and Practice. Bressler, Charles E. Englewood Cliffs,
New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1994: 11-30.
2. the italicized parts: explanations offered by Kate Liu.)
- Theoretical criticism--What is literature? (It presupposes an ultimate truth, and universal values.)
- Literature's nature and functions
Plato in The Republic: Poetry and art are telling lies and far removed from truth
Aristotle (in response to Plato) --justifies poetry on two grounds: it imitates nature, and it has morally desirable effects on the human mind.
defining the elements of literature; drama
Renaissance: Sir Philip Sidney "poetic justice": "We see virtue exalted, and vice punished."
Pope -- golden rules; restraint, good taste,
Dryden: "wit": propriety of thoughts and words; "proportion": the smooth and fitting adaptation of every part of a work of art toward the unified whole. "Propriety": the quality that permits or encourages the integrity, the total harmony of a work of art.
Samuel Johnson: Also insists on general nature and universal truth, he thinks that poet is "the interpreter of Nature"; challenge neoclassical dogma but respect "general nature"; defends Shakespeare
- It's effects on the reader:
Aristotle -- catharsis; Plato: morality
Horace, Sir Philip Sidney: to teach and delight
Longinus -- the Sublime: when our intellect, emotions, and our will harmoniously respond to a given work of art; the idea of the Classic
- Development of literature and lit. criticism since 19th c.
-- from the mirror to the lamp: from mimetic, rhetoric and moralistic theories to expressive theory (19-c Romanticism)
-- focus on imagination
Coleridge: primary imagination and secondary imagination-- reading as the subjective experience of sharing emotions
-- institutionalization of literatureMatthew Arnold as a Victorian critic: "a disinterested endeavor to learn and propagate the best that is known and thought in the world."--a disciplined activity that attempts to study, analyze, interpret, and evaluate a work of art.
--the critic: no longer the interpreter of a lit. work, the critic now functions as an authority on values, culture, and taste.After his death in 1888—lit. theory and criticism become more diversified…