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Literary criticism

Related: criticism - literary theory - literature

Literary critics: Charles Baudelaire - Sainte-Beuve

The greatest critics help us understand the greatest of poets and novelists; but sometimes the opposite is also true. Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve in 19th-century France wrote marvelous essays on literature, which are perfectly readable today. Yet if you want to get at Sainte-Beuve's deeper instincts, you should read him in the light cast by his brilliant friend Victor Hugo. Edmund Wilson was Sainte-Beuve's intellectual heir in the United States -- the man who figured out how to write Sainte-Beuve-like essays in American English. Yet Wilson, too, makes a little more sense if you read him in a light cast by Hemingway, Dos Passos and Fitzgerald -- Wilson's novel-writing friends and contemporaries. --Paul Berman, 2003, The New York Times

By region: American literary criticism

Example: Leslie Fiedler (Cross the Border, Close the Gap)

Whether or not literary criticism should be considered a separate field of inquiry from literary theory, or conversely from book reviewing, is a matter of some controversy. For example, the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory and Criticism draws no distinction between literary theory and literary criticism, and almost always uses them together to describe the same concept. Some critics consider literary criticism a practical application of literary theory, as criticism always deals directly with a literary work, albeit from a theoretical point of view. [Jul 2006]


Literary criticism describes the study, discussion, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Modern literary criticism is often published in essay or book form. Academic literary critics teach in literature departments and publish in academic journals, and more popular critics publish their criticism in broadly circulating periodicals such as the New York Times Book Review, the New York Review of Books, the London Review of Books, The Nation, and The New Yorker. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_criticism

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