The Function of Literary Criticism

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Literary criticism is a hard study to grasp because of the numerous explanations that must make sense for the critic’s view to be comprehensible to readers. Understanding the role of the critic is vital. The critic is second most important aspect, next to the author and the work itself. In this course, we have read many critics, that all have valid points. The critic’s prospective is the second most important element of literary criticism, next to the author and the work itself. In this course, we have read many critics’ opinions who all have valid points. The critics are what make the works understandable sometimes. Most, if not all, of the critics have particularly interesting ideas on the purpose of the critic. The materials in this course give the reader many things to ponder, concerning the role of the critic. In class, we discoursed how nothing is original, and one must agree with that statement; however, the critic’s opinion is valid in the sense that it is told from a different angle or perspective. This reader feels that the critics can be harsh in some cases, but the harshness may be necessary. The purpose of the critic is not always viewed as black and white; but may be gray by nature. The uneasiness about the critic is so complex that it forces the readers to rely on other critics’ profound knowledge of the material. Literary scholars Matthew Arnold and Alexander Pope both have differing views concerning the necessity of the critic, his role, and his power that he wields over the work/text. While Pope and Arnold are excellent critics, they each bring something different to the playing field. Arnold brings the idea of disinterestedness and Pope outlines the true characteristics of a “good” critic. Although, both crit... ... middle of paper ... ... by nature, but Arnold and Pope present their readers with knowledge that make the concept of the critic more understandable. Each critic leaves an indelible mark in the reader’s mind. Matthew Arnold’s mark is the concept of disinterestedness and Alexander Pope’s is the idea of a “good” critic. One must contend that without such scholars as, Arnold and Pope, literary criticism would remain a mystery to readers. Arnold and Pope make the uneasiness about the critic dissipate enormously. Works Cited Arnold, Matthew. "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd. ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. 695-714. Print. Pope, Alexander. "From An Essay On Criticism." The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism. Ed. Vincent B. Leitch. 2nd. ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. 349-362. Print.

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