Why we need Literary Criticism

“Writers may loathe the criticism of their works, while critics may loathe the literary works. Without the existence of both, however, it would be hard to recognize the texts as ― respectively ― literary works or critical pieces.

…why do we adhere to the notion that a literary work needs commentary and interpretation ― that it cannot be read independently, unaccompanied by criticism? And why is it that we rarely, if ever, read criticism ― a comment on another text ― as a literary work? If criticism, as Chesterton would have it, either gets it wrong or merely paraphrases the literary work, why do we still keep alive the tradition of interpreting literature?

The simple answer is that literary works are never quite what they initially appear to be. Interpreting a literary work thus involves more than merely understanding what the text literally attempts to do or say. The literary work invites criticism and interpretation. As a critic, one accepts this invitation to engage with the literary work’s otherness, its ambiguity. The literary work’s ambiguity haunts us, like a ghost whose presence we desperately attempt to capture and strap down, once and for all.”

More: m.koreaherald.com

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