Critical reading for
Critical Over View of the Text
To look at the text from a distance
Questioning the Author
is the author's purpose?
•What is the author doing in this paragraph?
•Why did the author put this information here?
•What is being compared/contrasted here?
•What alternatives does the author offer?
•What is the author implying?
•What is the author not telling you?
•What is the author's tone?
Apply the Questions: text 1
The new religion of Christ and the translation of its Scriptures
into the other languages of the followers, helped to promote
the tradition of writing literature. European scholars started
knowing the basics of so many other languages along with
their own native languages during Middle Ages. This access
to several languages set scholars to thinking about how
languages might be compared. Encyclopedia (1995) in this
connection gives us the information that the revival of
classical learning in the Renaissance laid the foundation for a
misguided attempt by grammarians to fit all languages into
the structure of Greek and Latin. More positively, medieval
Christianity and Renaissance learning led to 16th- and 17thcentury surveys of all the then-known languages in an
attempt to determine which language might be the oldest. On
the basis of the Bible, Hebrew was frequently so designated.
Other languages—Dutch, for example—were also chosen
because of accidental circumstances rather than linguistic
Shakespeare Through the Ages presents not the most
current of Shakespeare criticism, but the best of
Shakespeare criticism, from the seventeenth century to
today. In the process, each volume also charts the flow
over time of critical discussion of a particular play. Other
useful and fascinating collections of historical
Shakespearean criticism exist, but no collection that we
know of contains such a range of commentary on each
of Shakespeare’s greatest plays and at the same time
emphasizes the greatest critics in our literary tradition:
from John Dryden in the seventeenth century, to
Samuel Johnson in the eighteenth century, to William
Hazlitt and Samuel Coleridge in the nineteenth century,
to A.C. Bradley and William Empson in the twentieth
century, to the most perceptive critics of our own day.
This canon of Shakespearean criticism emphasizes
aesthetic rather than political or social analysis.