LITS2306 TERM PAPER 2008-2009


Answer ONE (1) of the following questions, referring closely to the text(s) of the theorist in question:

1.  Referring closely to the work of at least ONE theorist which you have studied in this module and illustrating your answer with reference to ONE (literary) work of your choice, carefully explain one of the following approaches to criticism:

  • the mimetic;
  • the pragmatic;
  • the objective;
  • the expressive.

2.    What do you understand by the terms 'realism' and 'naturalism'?  Answer by comparing the views of at least TWO of the following theorists on the novel:

  • Ian Watt The Rise of the Novel
  • Emile Zola  The Experimental Novel
  • Ken Ramchand The West Indian Novel and its Background

3.    Criticism, Cleanth Brooks contends in "The Formalist Critics," is a "description . . . of its object" (1366) and, to this end, is primarily concerned with the "problem of unity -- the kind of whole which the literary work forms or fails to form, and the relation of the various parts to each other in building up this whole" (1366).  Referring closely to the arguments of at least TWO of the theorists below, say whether or not this is an adequate summary of the New Critical approach to the study of poetry:

  • John Crowe Ransom "Criticism as Pure Speculation"
  • Cleanth Brooks "The Heresy of Paraphrase"
  • William Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley
    • "The Intentional Fallacy"
    • "The Affective Fallacy"

4.    The Modernist approach to criticism, in its various manifestations, is concerned to "underscore the relative unimportance of the author as an individual" and to "replace the notion of 'literary history' with what Eliot terms the 'literary tradition.'"  In the light of this claim, say whether you think it is appropriate to characterise the views expressed in at least TWO of the following essays as broadly 'Modernist':

  • T. S. Eliot "Tradition and the Individual Talent"
  • Northrop Frye "The Archetypes of Literature"
  • Derek Walcott "The Muse of History"

5.    Would it be fair to say the theorists below are of the view that misunderstanding in reading can be avoided and interpretation should strive to be objective and impersonal?  Answer with reference to at least TWO of the following essays:

  • Matthew Arnold
    • "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time"
    • "The Study of Poetry"
  • I. A. Richards Practical Criticism
  • Ken Ramchand "Concern for Criticism."

6.    Referring closely to the views on plot advanced by Aristotle in the Poetics, identify the emotional impact of a novel or play of your choice and discuss the precise role played by the plot-structure in the production of this effect.

7.    [this question is for the philosophically adventurous] All of the theorists studied in Module One may be said to strive to turn criticism into a 'science.'  By comparing the views expressed by ONE literary theorist studied in the first module with those of ONE of the following philosophers, show how the approach to criticism in question is predicated on a certain conception of the mind, of the self, of knowledge, and/or of language that are all in varying ways conducive to a 'scientific' outlook:

  • Aristotle
    • Categories
    • Posterior Analytics
    • Physics
  • Francis Bacon The New Organon
  • John Locke An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
  • René Descartes Meditations on First Philosophy
  • Immanuel Kant Critique of Pure Reason
  • I. A. Richards The Meaning of Meaning: Chapter 1 "Thoughts, Words and Things"

8.    On what grounds does Plato decide to expel poets from his ideal state?


DEADLINE: 6 pm, Thursday, November 13, 2008

LENGTH: 5 - 7 pages (double-spaced)

Please click here for essential advice on writing the term paper.


This site was last updated: February 03, 2011

Please direct all queries


Philosophy's Other: Theory on the Web

↑ Grab this Headline Animator