Literary Theory So far: So far: concentrating on the literary work itself: its form, shape, structure, its categorization by genre or period Now: the work in relation to the world the audience the author The literary work in relation to: UNIVERSE WORK OF ART AUTHOR AUDIENCE The literary work in relation to: Work of art – universe: How art reflects / mirrors / represents the world e.g., realism (or the effect of the real) Work of art – in itself: What it is like (formal, structural analyses) The literary work in relation to: Work of art – artist: How the artist creates, what it is the artist expresses Work of art – audience What effect the work of art has / should have M.H. Abrams, “Orientation of critical theories” mimetic theories objective theories expressive theories pragmatic theories Mimetic theories Mimesis and imitation rather: representation Aristotle’s Poetics: dramatic plot as imitation of an action Coleridge: imitation of nature in being an organic unity Realistic imitation: recognizable (it is like what the reader knows) Aristotle: imitation: an internal relation of form to content, vs an external relation of copy and original You are aware of the resemblance of tragic action to human behaviour and you are aware of the conventions of tragic drama as different from other forms Pragmatic theories 1970s: reader-response criticism, Literary Pragmatics: reader’s contribution to text reading actualizes potential meaning 18th century: art has to be useful "The end of writing is to instruct; the end of poetry is to instruct by pleasing,“ (Samuel Johnson's Preface to Shakespeare) Follows classical theory of rhetoric (= art of persuasion) 5 part process: invention, arrangement, style, memory, delivery Expressive theories Art as an expression of feelings: “For all good poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” William Wordsworth in “Preface to Lyrical Ballads” (1800) Art as an expression of the personal subconscious Sigmund Freud, “The Interpretation of Dreams” (1900) → psychoanalytical criticism Art as an expression of the collective unconscious C.G. Jung, archetypes, archetypal images Objective theories The work of art studied in itself, as a closed system: internal structure, form, internal consistency - its "intrinsic" rather than "extrinsic" qualities. art for art’s sake (l’art pour l’art) No one theory can explain all works (The essay is an introduction to his book on the Romantics: The Mirror and the Lamp, 1953 textual criticism The editorial art - establishing the text “The aim of a critical edition should be to present the text, so far as the available evidence permits, in the form in which we may suppose that it would have stood in a fair copy, made by the author himself, of the work as he finally intended it.” W. W. Greg, The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare (rev. edn. Oxford 1954) authorial intention A design or plan in the author's mind: “We argued that the design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art, and it seems to us that this is a principle which goes deep into some differences in the history of critical attitude.” “The Intentional Fallacy” by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley (1946) In: The Verbal Icon: studies in the meaning of poetry (also In: Lodge's 2Oth c. Literary Criticism) impressionistic criticism Recreate the poem while writing about the poem. “The Affective Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does) [...] It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological effects of the poem an ends in impressionism and relativism. [...] Plato's feeding and watering of the passions was an early example of affective theory, and Aristotle's countertheory of catharsis was another” “The Affective Fallacy” by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley (1949) In: The Verbal Icon: studies in the meaning of poetry (also In: Lodge's 20th c. Literary Criticism) value judgements “Literary criticism has in the present day become a profession, - but it has ceased to be an art. Its object is no longer that of proving that certain literary work is good and other literary work is bad, in accordance with rules which the critic is able to define. English criticism at present rarely even pretends to go so far as this. It attempts, in the first place, to tell the public whether a book be or be not be worth public attention; and, in the second place, so to describe the purport of the work as to enable those who have not time or inclination for reading to feel that by a short cut they have become acquainted with its contents. Both these pojects, if fairly well carried out, are salutary.” Anthony Trollope, Autobiography (1883), ch. xiv interpretation “Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art... The temptation to interpret Marienbad should be resisted. What matters in Marienbad in the pure, untranslateable, sensuous immediacy of some of its images, and its vigorous if narrow solution to certain problems of cinematic form... In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.” Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation (1967) Literary criticism as a systematic study “It is clear that criticism cannot be a systematic study unless there is a quality in literature which enables it to be so. We have to adopt the hypothesis, then, that just as there is an order of nature behind the natural sciences, so literature is not a piled aggregate of 'works' but an order of 'words'.” Northrop Frye, Anatomy of Criticism (1957) The language of literary criticism “A statement may be used for the sake of the reference, true or false, which it causes. This is the scientific use of language. But it may also be used for the sake of the effects in emotion and attitude produced by the reference it occasions. This is the emotive use of language.” I.A. Richards, “The two uses of language” (ch. 34 from The Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) also in Lodge's 20th Century Literary Criticism Deconstructing interpretations We need to interpret interpretations more than to interpret things. (Montaigne) Quoted in Jacques Derrida, “Structure, Sign, and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” , Writing and Difference, trans. Alan Bass (London: Routledge Classics, 2001) page 351-370:351.