An Introduction to the Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism: The Bases in Aesthetics and Poetics

An Introduction to the Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism: The Bases in Aesthetics and Poetics

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An Introduction to the Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism: The Bases in Aesthetics and Poetics

An Introduction to the Methods and Materials of Literary Criticism: The Bases in Aesthetics and Poetics

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The temper and conditions of the age encourage the critical habit. Literature is no longer the affair of patron or coterie, but of the public. The public reads for itself and estimates. It is not the scholar alone but the artisan who judges the latest novel, satire, or barrack-room ballad. He weighs, compares, and pronounces judgment. And from the multitude of men that are critics unto themselves, and out of the confusion of conflicting opinions, arises the demand for system and principle.

What obtains for the disinterested reader obtains a fortiori for those who attempt to express public opinion or to form the taste of others. The reviewer, the student and the teacher of literature, the investigator of literary history or of literary theory, all who make of criticism a discipline, an aim, or a trade, are interested in whatever tends to simplify the inquiry. What the inquirer wants is guidance, not dogmatic formulation of principles, but systematic presentation of the problems that must be solved and of the information available for the process. For literary criticism has not yet reached the scientific, still less the 'cocksure' period of its development. Its present consciousness is dynamic, and its condition transitional. It has outgrown the stage of unquestioning acquiescence in tradition, authority, personal bias or prejudice. But it is not yet fully alive to its possibilities, scope, or aim, -- not organized. An appreciative curiosity characterizes the study . . .

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