Literary criticism

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John Hollander, poet and literary critic.

Literary criticism is usually itself considered a form of literature. It is the study, and evaluation of texts of literature.

Literary criticism is an attempt to evaluate and understand the creative writing, the literature of an author. Literature includes plays, essays, novels, poetry, and short stories. Literary criticism is a description, analysis, evaluation, or interpretation of a particular literary work or an author's writings as a whole. Literary criticism is usually expressed in the form of a critical essay. In-depth book reviews are also sometimes viewed as literary criticism. Literary Criticism


  • "The stories of James tend to be records of seeing rather than of doing. The characters are more like patients than agents; their business seems to be to register impressions; to receive illumination rather than to make up their minds and set about deeds. But this is a way of conceiving our human business by no means confined to these novels; is it not more or less characteristic of the whole period in which James wrote? One passes by insensible degrees from the world of Renan to that of Pater and Swinburne, and thence to that of Oscar Wilde and of writers yet living, in whom the cult of impressions has been carried to lengths yet more extreme." Peculiarity of the Henry James method.
  • "Still a third writer, Washington Irving, exerted a notable influence as the originator of a literary form which, for want of a better phrase, might be called the story-essay, wherein the narrative element runs its gentle course over a bed of personal reflections and descriptive comment of individual flavour. He had a whole school of followers, and even Hawthorne for a time moved among them; while two more natural inheritors of his moods of tender sentiment and gentle satire are Donald Grant Mitchell (1822–1908) and George William Curtis, with whom the history of our later essayists may well begin." Types of American Essayists.
  • "Until 1900 the modern American drama advanced by fashions; managers followed like sheep in the wake of a popular success until the vein was exhausted. The dramatized novel went through its many phases of popular taste, beginning with Anthony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda, Stanley Weyman’s Under the Red Robe, and Mrs. Burnett’s The Lady of Quality, and passing to Paul Leicester Ford’s Janice Meredith, which as a novel competed with S. Weir Mitchell’s Hugh Wynne." Successful Novels on the Stage.

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