A concise guide to the schools of literary criticism: some seventeen schools are noted in this 150 page free guide, and ten schools covered in some detail - traditional, the New Criticism, rhetoric approaches, stylistics, metaphor approaches, Poststructuralist, myth criticism, Freudian, Jungian and fractal approaches. All are illustrated with a worked example and supported with extensive book and Internet references.
Criticism is not fashionable today, and has been replaced by literary theory in many university departments. The literary criticism that does continue to be written tends to concentrate on established figures. Nonetheless, a true appreciation of the great torrent of work that pours off the small presses generally needs something better than today's reviewing, which is often partisan, shallow and/or doggedly optimistic.
Literary criticism requires many skills, but those which the practicing poet needs to acquire are close reading, explication and evaluation. And the first two because most poems fail through lack of care. The originating emotion still clots the lines or, in striving for originality, the work becomes muddled, pretentious or incoherent. Poems grow through evaluation, that dialogue between what has been written and what was originally hoped for, between what the poems say now and what it might with further work. Literary criticism helps the poet see his work as his readership will, honestly and from many viewpoints.
A free pdf ebook.