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Types of Criticism
1. Formal Criticism that analyzes a work of literature in terms of its genre or type. Every genre of literature follows specific patterns and includes specific elements.
• For example, what makes the works of William Shakespeare an exemplary of the Elizabethan period?
2. Historical Criticism that views the work of art as a product of the period in which it was produced.
• An example would be an analysis of the influence the French and American Revolutions had on English Romanticism.
• Poems are placed in their historical context — to explain not only their allusions and particular use of words, but the conventions and expectations of the times.
• The approach may be evaluative (i.e. the critic may suggest ways of responding to the poem once the perspective is corrected), or may simply use it as historical data.
3. Biographical Criticism that attempts to account for elements of literary works by relating them to events in the lives of their authors.
• As with the historical approach, a poem may be used to illuminate the writer's psychology, or as biographic data. No less than the correspondence, remembered conversations, choice of reading matter, the poem is analyzed for relevance to its author.
4. Jungian Criticism that explores the presence in works of art of archetypes—unconscious images, symbols, associations, or concepts presumed to be a common inheritance of all human beings.
• An analysis of symbol of rebirth would be an example of Jungian criticism. * Jungians search for recurring poetic images, symbols and situations in poems, but their aim is not to categorize poems but to relate them to larger patterns in society.
5. Marxist Criticism that evaluates and interprets works of art with regard to the material, economic forces that shape them or with regard to their origins in or depictions of struggle between social classes.
• The poem may be assessed on its...
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