LITERARY CRITICISM from Plato to the Present

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1 LITERARY CRITICISM from Plato to the Present AN INTRODUCTION M. A. R. HABIB

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3 Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present

4 Also available: The Blackwell Guide to Literary Theory Gregory Castle Literary Theory: An Introduction, 25th Anniversary Edition Terry Eagleton A History of Literary Criticism: From Plato to the Present M. A. R. Habib Modern Literary Criticism and Theory: A History M. A. R. Habib Literary Theory: An Anthology, Second Edition Edited by Julie Rivkin and Michael Ryan Literary Theory: A Practical Introduction, Second Edition Edited by Michael Ryan The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory Edited Michael Ryan, Gregory Castle, Robert Eaglestone and M. Keith Booker

5 LITERARY CRITICISM from Plato to the Present AN INTRODUCTION M. A. R. HABIB

6 This edition first published 2011 Ó 2011 M. A. R. Habib Blackwell Publishing was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in February Blackwell s publishing program has been merged with Wiley s global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business to form Wiley-Blackwell. Registered Office John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, United Kingdom Editorial Offices 350 Main Street, Malden, MA , USA 9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services, and for information about how to apply for permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at iley.com/wiley-blackwell. The right of M. A. R. Habib to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, except as permitted by the UK Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher. Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be available in electronic books. Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book. This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services. If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should be sought. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Habib, Rafey. Literary criticism from Plato to the present : an introduction / M.A.R. Habib. p. cm. Revised ed. of: A history of literary criticism : from Plato to the present. Malden, Mass. : Blackwell Pub., Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Criticism History. I. Habib, Rafey. History of literary criticism. II. Title. PN86.H dc A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library. Set in Sabon 10/12pt by Thomson Digital, Noida, India. Printed in Singapore

7 For Mughni Tabassum

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9 Contents Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 Part I Classical Literary Criticism and Rhetoric 7 1 Classical Literary Criticism 9 Introduction to the Classical Period 9 Plato (428 ca. 347 BC) 10 Aristotle ( BC) 15 2 The Traditions of Rhetoric 23 Greek Rhetoric 23 Roman Rhetoric 27 The Subsequent History of Rhetoric: An Overview 30 The Legacy of Rhetoric 31 3 Greek and Latin Criticism During the Roman Empire 35 Horace (65 8 BC) 35 Longinus (First Century AD) 37 Neo-Platonism 39 Part II The Medieval Era 47 4 The Early Middle Ages 49 Historical Background 49 Intellectual and Theological Currents 51 5 The Later Middle Ages 57 Historical Background 57 Intellectual Currents of the Later Middle Ages 58 The Traditions of Medieval Criticism 60 Transitions: Medieval Humanism 71 Part III The Early Modern Period to the Enlightenment 77 6 The Early Modern Period 79 Historical Background 79

10 viii Contents Intellectual Background 80 Confronting the Classical Heritage 86 Defending the Vernacular 89 Poetics and the Defense of Poetry 91 Poetic Form and Rhetoric 94 7 Neoclassical Literary Criticism 98 French Neoclassicism 100 Neoclassicism in England The Enlightenment 114 Historical and Intellectual Background 114 Enlightenment Literary Criticism: Language, Taste, and Imagination The Aesthetics of Kant and Hegel 129 Immanuel Kant ( ) 129 Hegel ( ) 134 Part IV Romanticism and the Later Nineteenth Century Romanticism 145 Germany 148 France 151 England 153 America Realism, Naturalism, Symbolism, and Aestheticism 168 Historical Background: The Later Nineteenth Century 168 Realism and Naturalism 169 Symbolism and Aestheticism The Heterological Thinkers 181 Arthur Schopenhauer ( ) 181 Friedrich Nietzsche ( ) 182 Henri Bergson ( ) 185 Matthew Arnold ( ) 185 Part V The Twentieth Century: A Brief Introduction 189 Introduction From Liberal Humanism to Formalism 193 The Background of Modernism 194 The Poetics of Modernism: W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot 196 Formalism 197 Russian Formalism 197 The New Criticism 202

11 Contents ix 14 Socially Conscious Criticism of the Earlier Twentieth Century 206 F. R. Leavis 206 Marxist and Left-Wing Criticism 207 The Fundamental Principles of Marxism 208 Marxist Literary Criticism: A Historical Overview 210 Early Feminist Criticism: Simone de Beauvoir and Virginia Woolf Phenomenology, Existentialism, Structuralism 219 Phenomenology 220 Existentialism 220 Heterology 223 Structuralism The Era of Poststructuralism (I): Later Marxism, Psychoanalysis, Deconstruction 230 Later Marxist Criticism 231 Psychoanalysis 233 Deconstruction The Era of Poststructuralism (II): Postmodernism, Modern Feminism, Gender Studies 247 J urgen Habermas (b. 1929) 250 Jean Baudrillard ( ) 251 Jean-François Lyotard ( ) 252 bell hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins; b. 1952) 253 Modern Feminism 253 Gender Studies The Later Twentieth Century: New Historicism, Reader-Response Theory, Postcolonial Criticism, Cultural Studies 264 The New Historicism 265 Reader-Response and Reception Theory 268 Postcolonial Criticism 270 Cultural Studies 276 Epilogue New Directions: Looking Back, Looking Forward 279 Index 289

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13 Acknowledgments I would like to thank the following people for their encouragement, inspiration, and support or endorsement: Michael Payne, John Carey, Mughni Tabassum, Joe Barbarese, Robert Grant, Ron Bush, Peter Widdowson, Frank Kermode, Emma Bennett, and Yasmeen.

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15 Introduction Our English word criticism comes from the ancient Greek noun krites, meaning judge. But what does it mean to be a judge of literature? We might break this down into several basic questions: what is the purpose of literary criticism? How broad is this field of inquiry, and who gets to define it? What are its connections with other disciplines such as philosophy and religion? How does it relate to the realms of morality, of knowledge, and of learning? Does it have any political implications? How does it impinge on our practices of reading and writing? Above all, what significance does it have, or could it possibly have, in our own lives? Why should we even bother to study literary criticism? Is it not enough for us to read the great works of literature, of poetry, fiction, and drama? Why should we trouble ourselves to read what people say about literature? And surely, after all the obscure theory of the last 50 years or so, what we need to get back to is the texts themselves. We need to appreciate literature for its beauty and its technical artistry. In short, we need to read literature as literature without the interference of some judge telling us what to look for or how to read. How can we answer such skepticism? We might begin by recalling that theory and critical reflection on literature began at least 2500 years ago, and have been conducted by some of the greatest Western thinkers and writers, ranging from Plato and Aristotle, through Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas, Johnson, Pope, and the great Romantics to the great modern figures such as Locke, Hume, Kant, Hegel, Freud, W. B. Yeats, and Sartre. Until 200 years ago, most great thinkers, critics, and literary artists would not have understood what was meant by reading literature as literature. They knew that literature had integral connections with philosophy, religion, politics, and morality; they knew, in other words, that literature was richly related to all aspects of people s lives. If we had no tradition of critical interpretation, if we were left with the texts themselves, we would be completely bewildered. We would not Literary Criticism from Plato to the Present: An Introduction Ó 2011 M. A. R. Habib M. A. R. Habib

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