January 28, 2007

The beginnings of a critic

After reading the introduction to one of our assigned texts, Contexts for Criticism, by Keesey I have decided that the last line of his introduction is the most valuable to myself. He states, "becasue to read at all is to read from one or another of these perspectives, the informed reader should at least know which he or she has chosen, and why."

Keesey, General Introduction -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

The introduction to the main book that we will be using in class was eye opening. In all of the classes I have taken here at SHU, I never realized that there were so many different ways to critize a piece of literature. I have participated in many discussions not realzing that I was more than likely conversing in one of these categories of criticism. I chose the above quote for a few reasons. The first of which is that I don't know which form of criticism will work best for me. I think that it will be very interesting to see what does work best for me. Secondly, I agree with Keesey when he says that we need to be aware of what we have chosen and why that works best for us as writers. Now that I know I have probably been writing my papers with a certain perspective the whole time I have been here at SHU, I feel like I am missing something in myself for not knowing what that something is. I

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at January 28, 2007 11:17 AM | TrackBack

Good point, Tiffany. I think you have to be comfortable reading and finding a critical method that works for you, before you can even think of taking a step back and studying the process of literary criticism. This is a natural progression, not a sign that you were doing something wrong before. You're ready to level up, and this is the class that will help you do that.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at January 28, 2007 2:36 PM

Great minds think alike, because I almost chose this quote for my entry too. It's almost psychological- why did we choose to read a certain text with a certain twist and perspective on it. Is it due to past experiences, that allow us to read it in a feminist way, or due to other classes that forced reader-response theory on us? Or maybe a combination of experience and what we learned, which is why one piece of literature can be read 8 different ways, and each of them be "correct".

Posted by: Nessa at January 28, 2007 3:53 PM

Psychological--that's what I was thinking, Vanessa.

This might be another one of those reflective parts of our careers as literature students, Tiff. I, too, will be examining myself and how I criticize things, asking why I do what I do. I hope that I don't have to fall into a definition, though. I like to think that I'm more unique and more interesting than just another [insert -ism] critic. ;)

Posted by: Karissa at January 28, 2007 6:36 PM

All of you make very good points. As we develop as lit students, we find ourselves leaning towards one perspective or another. I've noticed in other classes like Chaucer and Intro to Lit that we sometimes have strong reactions to one perspective and the whole room clams up at another perspective.

Posted by: Erin at January 29, 2007 9:07 AM
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