Literary Criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by Literary Theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's methods and goals. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.

Literary Theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature.[1] However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and other interdisciplinary themes which are of relevance to the way humans interpret meaning.[1] In humanities in modern academia, the latter style of scholarship is an outgrowth of Critical Theory and is often called simply "theory."[2] As a consequence, the word "theory" has become an umbrella term for a variety of scholarly approaches to reading texts. Many of these approaches are informed by various strands of Continental philosophy and sociology.

Critical Theory is a school of thought that stresses the reflective assessments and critique of society and culture by applying knowledge from the social sciences and the humanities. As a term, critical theory has two meanings with different origins and histories: the first originated in sociology and the second originated in literary criticism, whereby it is used and applied as an umbrella term that can describe a theory founded upon critique; thus, the theorist Max Horkheimer described a theory as critical insofar as it seeks "to liberate human beings from the circumstances that enslave them."[1] In sociology and political philosophy, the term critical theory describes the neo-MarxIst philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which was developed in Germany in the 1930s. Frankfurt theorists drew on the critical methods of Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud. Critical theory maintains that ideology is the principal obstacle to human liberation.[2] Critical theory was established as a school of thought primarily by five Frankfurt School theoreticians: Herbert Marcuse, Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Walter Benjamin, and Erich Fromm. Modern critical theory has additionally been influenced by György Lukács and Antonio Gramsci, as well as the second generation Frankfurt School scholars, notably Jürgen Habermas. In Habermas's work, critical theory transcended its theoretical roots in German idealism, and progressed closer to American Pragmatism. Concern for social "base and superstructure" is one of the remaining Marxist philosophical concepts in much of the contemporary critical theory.

cf PostModernism, Academic Publishing, Sokal Hoax

Edited: |

blog comments powered by Disqus