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New Criticism

Related: biography (not important to the New Critics) - author's intention (not important to the New Critics) - literary criticism - literature - literary theory

If a German philosopher dons a Nazi uniform in 1933 and endorses Hitler, you have to be extremely subtle, or extremely stupid, to conclude that this event sheds no light on his ideas. And if the same philosopher has an adulterous love affair with a Jewish student, then you must be either exceptionally high-minded or totally unconscious in order to argue that their relationship should not interest people who study his work, or hers. --Robert Fulford via The National Post, June 8, 2002)

New Criticism, a school of literary criticism, which established the "intentional fallacy," holding that information about an author's intention was secondary to the words on the page as the basis of the experience of reading literature. [Jun 2006]

People: T.S. Eliot - F.R. Leavis


  • New Criticism - which looked at literary works on the basis of what is written, and not at the goals of the author or biographical issues --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Literary_theory#Schools_of_literary_theory [Aug 2005]

    New Criticism was the dominant trend in English and American literary criticism of the early twentieth century, from the 1920s to the early 1960s. Its adherents were emphatic in their advocacy of close reading and attention to texts themselves, and their rejection of criticism based on extra-textual sources, especially biography. At their best, New Critical readings were brilliant, articulately argued, and broad in scope, but sometimes they were idiosyncratic and moralistic. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New Criticism [Jan 2006]

    Close reading

    In literary criticism, close reading describes the careful, sustained interpretation of a brief passage of text. Such a reading places great emphasis on the particular over the general, paying close attention to individual words, syntax, and the order in which sentences and ideas unfold as they are read.

    The technique as practiced today was pioneered (at least in English) by the New Critics of the mid-twentieth century. It is now a fundamental method of modern criticism.

    Close reading is sometimes called explication de texte, which is the name for the similar tradition of textual interpretation in French literary study, a technique whose chief proponent was Gustave Lanson.

    A truly attentive close reading of a two-hundred-word poem might be thousands of words long without exhausting the possibilities for observation and insight. To take an even more extreme example, Jacques Derrida's essay Ulysses Gramophone, which J. Hillis Miller describes as a "hyperbolic, extravagantů explosion" of the technique of close reading, devotes more than eighty pages to an interpretation of the word "yes" in James Joyce's great modernist novel Ulysses. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Close_reading [Jun 2006]

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