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Criticism is an integral part of the literary world. The importance of professional literary criticism is invaluable because a critic sees the work as a whole and at the same time takes into account its individual elements: the plot, composition, image system and language. The most important thing for a critic is the main idea of a literary work, which the authors tries to explain to the reader.
Generally literary criticism is defined as the analysis and judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. Literary criticism has at least three primary purposes. The first purpose is to help us resolve a question, problem, or difficulty in the reading. The second one is to help us decide which is the better of two conflicting readings. And the third purpose is to enable us to form judgments about literature.
There are different theories of criticism in the modern world. One of them is Historical or Biographical approach. Historical critics see works as the reflection of an author’s life and times. Knowing about the authors and the political, economical and sociological context of his times, we can truly understand why such events happened and why the characters behaved like this. It must be useful to take this approach in order to place allusion in the proper, classical, political, or biblical background of a work. However New Critics believe that historical approach tends to reduce art to the level of biography and make it relative rather than universal.
There are many other theories of criticism in modern literature such as Formalist Criticism or New Criticism, Psychological, Mythological and Feminist approaches.
We also can’t ignore the readers’ role in producing the meaning of a literary work. In reader response criticism, the text has no meaning until it’s read by a reader who creates the meaning. According to this theory, the reader imposes his identity on the work. Different people view works differently and interpretations of the text change over time. This type of literary criticism insists that works are not universal and they won’t always mean more or less the same thing to readers everywhere.
To sum up, we should underline the social role of criticism is to show what book is one of the best or one of the law prestige. People don’t have to be professionals to express their own opinion about literary works. Everybody could write about how the author evokes a particular reaction in you as the reader, what features of your own identity influence you in creating interpretation, and how another reader in a different situation might interpret the work differently. Personally I absolutely agree that the role of amateur criticism as well as of professionals is very important.
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