Critical Approaches to Literature HUMA3300.001
Critical Approaches to Literature HUMA3300.001 HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu)
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HUMA 1301 (Chinese Humanities with Ming Dong Gu)
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HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu)
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Nicholas Notetaker on Tuesday April 5, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to HUMA 3300.001 (Ming Dong Gu) at University of Texas at Dallas taught by Dr. Ming Dong Gu in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 124 views. For similar materials see Critical Approaches to Literature in Arts and Humanities at University of Texas at Dallas.
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Date Created: 04/05/16
Critical Approaches to Literature February 4th9th, 2016 Chapter 4 Materialistic approach Materialism overview What is materialism? contrast between materialism and idealism Marxism Marxism holds that economics is the driving force in history. Capitalism creates class hierarchies and discord. Literary texts often analyze society from a Marxist perspective. Marxists are less interested in form than in content or message. Economic theory of Karl Marx: Base and superstructure class struggle between the bourgeoisie and proletariat or between capital and labor Marxist terms: dialectic is how historical transformation takes place; Thesis, antithesis, synthesis Life has a materialist base; spiritual expressions constitute a culture's ideology division of labor alienation of labor use value (what it is used for) and exchange value (price and profit) commodity fetish/worship Marxist literary theory: "old" or "vulgar" Marxism versus American liberals (Trilling, Kazin and Irving Howe); "slice of life" (Trotsky) versus "forces" and "reification" (Lukacs) Leon Trotsky held that mimesis in literature should give us a "slice of life" without necessarily commenting on it Lukacs held that authors must take pains to portray not the slice of life but the forces that act on society and that bring about social change. Reflection theory (Lukacs) Bourdieu's cultural capital: Our tastes in everything are defined not by economics capital but by factors like family and education Through aesthetic choices, art reproduces and legitimizes class. British cultural materialism: British cultural materialism argued that culture belongs to the working classes as well as to the elite. These critics used Marxism to reinterpret high and low culture. There is no stable cultural center in a society New Historicism: New historicism looks for surprising coincidences and correspondences between literature and history and how literature and history resemble each other: "The text is historical and history is a text" New historic it is see literature and history as narratives of power and exchange. This approach differs from the old historicism by politicizing the historical context and its effects on the work Differences with old historicism: history differs from literature only in degree, but not in kind Literature and history influence each other; history as complex and unstable textually as literature; Ecocriticism: A new field but one growing fast applies ecology and ecological concepts to the study of literature. Eco critics believe their field is fundamental and are often activists for the environment. An offshoot is ecofeminism, which argues that there are parallels between how women and the environment are treated in a patriarchy. Relationship between literature and the natural environment Joseph Carroll: "Green cultural studies: in a threatened natural world at forefront of criticism due to urgent environmental problems; Divided between study of nature writers and ecological theme Literary Darwinism: Based on Darwin's theory of natural selection, this approach argues that the human mind is constructed to think in stories and that literature like human behavior can be best interpreted by reference to its evolutionary features. Evolution precedes and explains literary discourse, which so often centers on selective mating, kin preference, adaptability, child rearing, competition for resources, cooperation, and other Darwinian concepts. Related to studies in sociobiology, evolutionary psychology, genetics and epicene tics, this is an instance where the sciences and humanities can interact. Darwinist critics ask: why does literature continue to exist. Darwin's theory of evolution based on natural selection and evolutionary fitness Difference from postmodern theory: Opposed to prevailing postmodernist theory, especially the argument that discourse constructs reality instead, evolution precedes and to some extent determines discourse: Humans share a common nature C.F. Mythological approaches; theories that deny the biological basis of behavior are unsound; evolutionary purposes of literature; evolutionary fitness Consilience: unity of all things Materialism is associated with ideals and Marxism Has to take into account the writer's experiences and life when analyzing the text Gothic dark reform: Immoral didacticism or lip service to didacticism. Sinful churchgoer; evil preacher o The devil as a reformer or a positive character? Sensationalism sells: demonstrates his fitness for classical literature and contemporary market place via complex and multilayered ironies Materials versus exchange value in "everyday use" The Churn and Quilt: use value versus exchange value; commodity fetish, cultural capital Du Bois, "Double consciousness" Dee, and African and an American; treats the quilt as a status symbol She goes through four Marxist principles: competition, commoditization, American Dream, and individualism Mrs. Johnson and Maggie hold different values for those everyday things form Dee