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February 22, 2007

Is it Necessary, or Simply Useful?

As with probably most of the students in this class, my experience with literary criticism was quite limited prior to entering this class. If I hadn't taken AP Literature my senior year in high school I probably wouldn't have had the faintest idea of what it is all about. Actually, lit crit seems to one of those things that is very difficult to explain - as Jerz always says, it something we do, and the only way to learn more about it about it is to do it more, and more, and more again. (Which explains the critical exercises every week, right?) But, how much weight should be placed on it's importance to literary study? Do we need to study lit crit in order to study literature? To appreciate it? Certainly not. It is a way to shed light on how we study literature so that we may be aware of our position and reactions to literature and our beliefs about it. It can bring a lot of useful things to the forefront of our study of literature, but it is not necessary in all aspects of literary study. If you plan on writing something for publication in a literary journal or plan on doing extensive literary research of some sort, literary criticism should be studied intensively - you want to know what you are up against and where you are coming from in your own work. But, for the everyday enjoyment and study of literature, knowledge of literary criticism is merely one avenue, one tool, to further ourselves intellectually.

Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 22, 2007 3:08 PM


Posted by: Valerie Masciarelli at February 22, 2007 5:00 PM

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