Does it aid or support Christian convictions, or do its principles and methodology intrinsically tend to work like an acid, slowly eroding the intellectual foundations of Christian theism as a viable worldview? Has historical criticism benefited the lay faithful by improving their understanding of the text and thereby strengthening a living Christian faith, or has the method become associated with technical expertise and specialization such that the average believer avoids the text due to fear of interpretive inadequacy? From a Catholic point of view, has a magisterium of the academic elite been erected to compete with the Magisterium of the Church? Must historical criticism necessarily give rise to oppositions:
Literary and Cultural Theory 1. What Is Literary Theory?
Literary theory refers to any principles derived from internal analysis of literary texts or from knowledge external to the text that can be applied in multiple interpretive situations. All critical practice regarding literature depends on an underlying structure of ideas in at least two ways: For example, to speak of the "unity" of Oedipus the King explicitly invokes Aristotle's theoretical statements on poetics.
Critics that explain the climactic drowning of Edna Pontellier in The Awakening as a suicide generally call upon a supporting Thesis criticism of feminist and gender theory. The structure of ideas that enables criticism of a literary work may or may not be acknowledged by the critic, and the status of literary theory within the academic discipline of literary studies continues to evolve.
Literary theory and the formal practice of literary interpretation runs a parallel but less well known course with the history of philosophy and is evident in the historical record at least as far back as Plato.
The Cratylus contains a Plato's meditation on the Thesis criticism of words and the things to which they refer. Modern literary theory gradually emerges in Europe during the nineteenth century. In one of the earliest developments of literary theory, German "higher criticism" subjected biblical texts to a radical historicizing that broke with traditional scriptural interpretation.
This dispute was taken up anew by the French theorist Roland Barthes in his famous declaration of the "Death of the Author. Nietzsche's critique of knowledge has had a profound impact on literary studies and helped usher in an era of intense literary theorizing that has yet to pass.
Attention to the etymology of the term "theory," from the Greek "theoria," alerts us to the partial nature of theoretical approaches to literature.
This is precisely what literary theory offers, though specific theories often claim to present a complete system for understanding literature. The current state of theory is such that there are many overlapping areas of influence, and older schools of theory, though no longer enjoying their previous eminence, continue to exert an influence on the whole.
The once widely-held conviction an implicit theory that literature is a repository of all that is meaningful and ennobling in the human experience, a view championed by the Leavis School in Britain, may no longer be acknowledged by name but remains an essential justification for the current structure of American universities and liberal arts curricula.
The moment of "Deconstruction" may have passed, but its emphasis on the indeterminacy of signs that we are unable to establish exclusively what a word means when used in a given situation and thus of texts, remains significant.
Many critics may not embrace the label "feminist," but the premise that gender is a social construct, one of theoretical feminisms distinguishing insights, is now axiomatic in a number of theoretical perspectives.
While literary theory has always implied or directly expressed a conception of the world outside the text, in the twentieth century three movements—"Marxist theory" of the Frankfurt School, "Feminism," and "Postmodernism"—have opened the field of literary studies into a broader area of inquiry.
Marxist approaches to literature require an understanding of the primary economic and social bases of culture since Marxist aesthetic theory sees the work of art as a product, directly or indirectly, of the base structure of society.
Feminist thought and practice analyzes the production of literature and literary representation within the framework that includes all social and cultural formations as they pertain to the role of women in history.
Postmodern thought consists of both aesthetic and epistemological strands. Postmodernism in art has included a move toward non-referential, non-linear, abstract forms; a heightened degree of self-referentiality; and the collapse of categories and conventions that had traditionally governed art.
Postmodern thought has led to the serious questioning of the so-called metanarratives of history, science, philosophy, and economic and sexual reproduction. Under postmodernity, all knowledge comes to be seen as "constructed" within historical self-contained systems of understanding.
Marxist, feminist, and postmodern thought have brought about the incorporation of all human discourses that is, interlocking fields of language and knowledge as a subject matter for analysis by the literary theorist.
Using the various poststructuralist and postmodern theories that often draw on disciplines other than the literary—linguistic, anthropological, psychoanalytic, and philosophical—for their primary insights, literary theory has become an interdisciplinary body of cultural theory.
Taking as its premise that human societies and knowledge consist of texts in one form or another, cultural theory for better or worse is now applied to the varieties of texts, ambitiously undertaking to become the preeminent model of inquiry into the human condition.
Literary theory is a site of theories: The other schools of literary theory, to varying degrees, embrace a postmodern view of language and reality that calls into serious question the objective referent of literary studies.Scott Hahn and Benjamin Wiker’s Politicizing The Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture masterfully supplies precisely this need for deep historical analysis of the genesis and growth of historical-criticism.
Indeed, the work is magisterial in its contribution to this effort in at least two ways. In the first place Politicizing the Bible. Research & writing for assignments. University assignments are a big challenge, but we can guide you.
Get help with all aspects of your assignment, from research to writing. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
In the spring, admitted students may choose an overnight visit on select dates.
You will arrive in the late afternoon on your selected visit day and meet your current student host. Thesis Statement / Essay Topic #5: The Presence of Evil in Candide / Character Development.
Despite the constant soothing words offered by Pangloss, Candide eventually begins to see through his teacher’s flawed (and overly optimistic) reasoning and begins to see the world for what it really is.
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