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  • 1. EWRT 1C Class 14
  • 2. Agenda  Questions about essay #1  Literary Theory: The Extrinsic Lens  Feminist Criticism
  • 3. Categorizing Literary Theories  In his book, An Essay on Criticism (1966) Graham distinguishes two categories of literary theories. The first category—the intrinsic theories—is concerned with the moral nature of literature. Theories in this category primarily emphasize the total essence of literature. The second is what he describes as the extrinsic theories, which talk about the formal nature of literature and more specifically what it is.
  • 4. Intrinsic Theories  The intrinsically inclined literary theory isolates a work of literature from its external reality. The supporters of this classification see a text of literature as having no relationship, either intended or implied, with the external world. They assert that a work exists in its own world. The critical theorists in this category are the Formalists (The New Critics), Structuralists and Post-structuralists or the Deconstructionists.
  • 5. The Extrinsic Theories  The extrinsically inspired literary theories tend to associate a literary piece with its external world. We see a departure from the isolationist philosophy of the intrinsic critics. Extrinsic criticism generally asserts that a work of literature is both a representation of the age and a reflection of the world in which it operates. Extrinsic theories value a text of literature as a product of the external world: the creator’s vision, imagination, and understanding. In this kind of criticism, the artist is said to be inside of the literary production, creating characters to carry out his mission. Some modern literary theories in this category are Psychoanalytical, Marxist, Feminist and Post-colonialist criticism.
  • 6.  Feminist criticism is concerned with “the ways in which literature (and other cultural productions) reinforce or undermine the economic, political, social, and psychological oppression of women" (Tyson). This school of theory looks at how aspects of our culture are inherently patriarchal (male dominated) and “this critique strives to expose the explicit and implicit misogyny in male writing about women" (Richter 1346). This misogyny, Tyson reminds us, can extend into diverse areas of our culture: "Perhaps the most chilling example [...] is found in the world of modern medicine, where drugs prescribed for both sexes often have been tested on male subjects only" (83). Feminist Theory and Criticism
  • 7. The objectives of the criticism include the following:  To uncover and develop a female tradition of writing  To interpret symbolism of women’s writing so that it will be lost or ignored by the male point of view.  To rediscover old texts  To analyze women writers and their writing’s from a female perspective  To increase awareness of the sexual politics of language and style.
  • 8. Feminist criticism has, in many ways, followed what some theorists call the three waves of feminism:
  • 9. First Wave Feminism  Ran from late 1700s-early 1900's: writers like Mary Wollstonecraft (A Vindication of the Rights of Women, 1792) highlight the inequalities between the sexes. Activists like Susan B. Anthony and Victoria Woodhull contribute to the women's suffrage movement, which leads to National Universal Suffrage in 1920 with the passing of the Nineteenth Amendment
  • 10. Second Wave Feminism  From early 1960s-late 1970s: building on more equal working conditions necessary in America during World War II, movements such as the National Organization for Women (NOW), formed in 1966, cohere feminist political activism. Writers like Simone de Beauvoir (Le deuxième sexe, 1972) and Elaine Showalter established the groundwork for the dissemination of feminist theories dove-tailed with the American Civil Rights movement 
  • 11. Third Wave Feminism  From early 1990s-present: resisting the perceived essentialist (over generalized, over simplified) ideologies and a white, heterosexual, middle class focus of second wave feminism, third wave feminism borrows from post-structural and contemporary gender and race theories to expand on marginalized populations' experiences. Writers like Alice Walker work to “reconcile [feminism] with the concerns of the black community [and] the survival and wholeness of her people, men and women both, and for the promotion of dialog and community as well as for the valorization of women and of all the varieties of work women perform" (Tyson 97).
  • 12. Questions Feminist Critics Ask about Literary Text