Modern schools of interpretation


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Modern schools of interpretation

  1. 1. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel1
  2. 2. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel2• An interpretation is an explanation of themeaning of some work of art.• An interpretation expresses an understanding ofa work of art, a poem, performance, or piece ofliterature.
  3. 3. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel3• Structuralism (1950s–1960s): An intellectualmovement that made significant contributions notonly to literary criticism but also to philosophy,anthropology, sociology, and history.• Structuralist literary critics, such as Roland Barthes,read texts as an interrelated system of signs thatrefer to one another rather than to an external“meaning” that is fixed either by author or reader.• Structuralist literary theory draws on the work ofthe Russian Formalists, as well as the linguistictheories of Ferdinand de Saussure and C. S. Peirce.
  4. 4. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel4• Post-structuralism (1960s–1970s): A movementthat comprised, among other things,Deconstruction, Lacanian criticism, and the laterworks of Roland Barthes and Michel Foucault.• It criticized structuralism for its claims toscientific objectivity, including its assumptionthat the system of signs in which languageoperates was stable.
  5. 5. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel5• Deconstruction (1967–present): A philosophicalapproach to reading, first advanced by JacquesDerrida that attacks the assumption that a text hasa single, stable meaning.• Derrida suggests that all interpretation of a textsimply constitutes further texts, which means thereis no “outside the text” at all. Therefore, it isimpossible for a text to have stable meaning.• The practice of deconstruction involves identifyingthe contradictions within a text’s claim to have asingle, stable meaning, and showing that a text canbe taken to mean a variety of things that differsignificantly from what it purports to mean.
  6. 6. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel6• Feminist criticism (1960s–present): An umbrella term fora number of different critical approaches that seek todistinguish the human experience from the maleexperience.• Feminist critics draw attention to the ways in whichpatriarchal social structures have marginalized womenand male authors have exploited women in theirportrayal of them.• Although feminist criticism dates as far back as MaryWollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman(1792) and had some significant advocates in the early20th century, such as Virginia Woolf and Simone deBeauvoir, it did not gain widespread recognition as atheoretical and political movement until the 1960s and1970s.
  7. 7. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel7• Marxist criticism: An umbrella term for a number ofcritical approaches to literature that drawinspiration from the social and economic theoriesof Karl Marx.• Marx maintained that material production, oreconomics, ultimately determines the course ofhistory, and in turn influences social structures.These social structures, Marx argued, are held inplace by the dominant ideology, which serves toreinforce the interests of the ruling class.• Marxist criticism approaches literature as a strugglewith social realities and ideologies.
  8. 8. Modern Literary Movements, Dr. abdel-Fattah Adel8• New Historicism (1980s–present): An approachthat breaks down distinctions between“literature” and “historical context” byexamining the contemporary production andreception of literary texts, including thedominant social, political, and moral movementsof the time.• Stephen Greenblatt is a leader in this field,which joins the careful textual analysis of NewCriticism with a dynamic model of historicalresearch.