So I just finished up a course in Literary Theory and when I say this was my most difficult course by far, I mean it. No, really, this course had me questioning everything about my writing, my choice of authors, my purpose in life… my soul was wrung for every last drop of conviction it possessed.
But my turmoil wasn’t without reward.
I learned about the four major approaches to literary criticism:
Marxism, which is mainly looks for class struggle and social conflict in a text, and how it reflects history, Deconstruction, which loves to look for the pitfalls of language, laugh and throw it back in our faces in pieces, Feminism, which is exactly what it looks like (and damn, there’s a lot of it in classic texts) and my favorite, Psychoanalytic, formed from Freudian principles and supplemented with the ideas of Lacaniasm.
I don’t want to keep you long, seeing as though there’s a wealth of more entertaining things to read out there, but I want to just stress the importance of these theories really quick. I believe that as a writer, it would behoove you to do a bit of research on these to deepen your understanding of what makes for rich and timeless literature. If you know what the scholars look for, you’ll know what to deliver. The hardest part is figuring out how to deliver it and that’s where these theoretical approaches come in. As you all know, it’s crucial for us to read critically; the principles of these theories will help you do that. I can honestly say that the manuscript I’m currently drafting has gained a few more layers.
If you’d like me to do a mini series, diving deeper into these forms of critiques, let me know in the comments section. We’re all here to learn, grow and share and I’d love to hear your take on these critiques.