RICHARD L. W. CLARKE


 

 

 

LITS2306 (E23F) HISTORY OF CRITICISM

PAST EXAM PAPERS

2016-2017

Answer TWO questions in all.

Do NOT choose both questions from the same section.

Each answer should refer closely to the work of at least TWO relevant theorists.

Section A: Representation

1. Zola argues that the naturalistic novelist seeks to “conquer truth from the unknown” by submitting “each fact to the test of scientific observation and experiment.” Would Wilde be sympathetic to such a view? (30 marks)

2. How might Zola react to Wilde’s claim that “Life imitates Art, that Life in fact is the mirror, and Art the reality”? (30 marks)

Section B: The Author and Literary History

3. The critic seeks to grasp, Taine argues, the “emotions and conceptions out of which the text has sprung: in short, he unveils a psychology.” Would Eliot and the New Critics agree? (30 marks)

4. What do you understand by the term ‘literary history’? Answer by comparing Taine’s model with Eliot’s. (30 marks)

Section C: The Reader

5. Would Pater concur with Arnold that the goal of criticism is to “see the object as in itself it really is”? (30 marks)

6. How would Richards respond to Wilde’s claim that the “meaning of any beautiful created thing is at least as much in the soul of him who looks at it, as it was in his soul who wrought it”? (30 marks)


2015-2016

This exam is based on Module II.

Answer TWO questions in all.  Do NOT choose both questions from the same section.

Each answer should refer closely to the work of at least TWO of the theorists listed for that question.

Section A: Representation

1. Examine Zola’s claim that the novel is tantamount to a “scientific experiment.”
∙ Zola, The Experimental Novel
∙ Lubbock, The Craft of Fiction
∙ Crane, “The Concept of Plot and the Plot of Tom Jones”
(30 marks)

2. “I consider it useless and tiresome to portray things as they are. . . . Nature is ugly and I prefer the monsters of my imagination to the trueness of actuality” (Baudelaire). Discuss.
∙ Wilde, "The Decay of Lying"
∙ Baudelaire, The Salon of 1859
∙ Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction
(30 marks)

Section B: The Author

3. Would you agree that literature is a “dialogue, that is, an exchange between an ‘I’ and a ‘thou’” (Ong)?
∙ Taine, History of English Literature
∙ Ong, "A Dialectic of Aural and Objective Correlatives"
(30 marks)

4. Discuss Ransom’s distinction between “intrinsic” and “extrinsic” literary criticism.
∙ Arnold, “The Study of Poetry”
∙ Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
∙ Ransom, “Criticism as Pure Speculation”
∙ Wimsatt and Beardsley, “The Intentional Fallacy”
(30 marks)

Section C: The Reader

5. Do you agree that a distinction should be drawn between “what a poem is and what it does” (Wimsatt and Beardsley)?
∙ Arnold, The Function of Criticism at the Present Time
∙ Richards, Practical Criticism
∙ Wimsatt and Beardsley, “The Affective Fallacy”
(30 marks)

6. Explore Wilde’s claim that reading is itself a “creative art.”
∙ Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance
∙ Wilde, “The Critic as Artist”
∙ Rosenblatt, Literature as Exploration
(30 marks)


2014-2015
(Dr. Nicola Hunte)

Answer TWO questions in all. 

All questions refer to the theorists studied in Module II.

1. Comparing the views of Zola and Watt, discuss some of the similarities and differences between ‘naturalism’ and ‘realism.’  (30 marks)

2. On what grounds might one critique the concept of ‘realism’?  Answer by referring to the work of both Baudelaire and Booth.  (30 marks)

3. “For both Taine and Ong, the study of a literary work is inseparable from an understanding of its author.”  Discuss.  (30 marks)

4. Examine the claim that the poet is irrelevant to the poem with reference to the work of TWO of the following theorists:

Eliot

Ransom

Wimsatt and Beardsley

(30 marks)

5. Describe some of the arguments advanced by TWO of the following theorists in support of the view that literary criticism can and should be objective:

Arnold

Richards

Wimsatt and Beardsley

(30 marks)

6. Is literary criticism necessarily ‘perspectival’?   Answer with reference to the views of TWO of the following theorists:

France

Pater

Rosenblatt

(30 marks)


SEMESTER I, 2013-2014
(Dr. Nicola Hunte)

Answer TWO questions in all, ONE from Section A and One from Section B.

In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

SECTION ONE

1. "Nature is only a dictionary” (Baudelaire).  Compare Baudelaire’s views on the relationship between nature and art with those of Oscar Wilde in “The Decay of Lying/” [30 marks]

2. “To see the object in itself as it really is” (Arnold).  Compare Arnold’s views on the technique of literary criticism with those of I. A. Richards in Practical Criticism. [30 marks]

3. In what ways does the writer “consciously or unconsciously . . . impose his fictional world upon the reader”?  Illustrate your answer with reference to Wayne Booth’s The Rhetoric of Fiction AND R. S. Crane’s “The Concept of Plot and the Plot of Tom Jones.” [30 marks]

SECTION TWO

4. Percy Lubbock argues that “in the fictitious picture of life the effect of validity is all in all.”  Discuss the concept of realism in the novel with reference to TWO of the following:

Emile Zola “From The Experimental Novel

E. M. Forster Aspects of the Novel

Percy Lubbock The Craft of Fiction

Wayne Booth The Rhetoric of Fiction

[30 marks]

5.  “[W]hen the work is finished it has . . . an independent life of its own” (Wilde).  Discuss this statement with reference to TWO of the following:

Oscar Wilde “The Critic as Artist”

Louise Rosenblatt Literature as Exploration

I. A. Richards Practical Criticism

Wimsatt and Beardsley “The Affective Fallacy”

[30 marks]

6.  How do any TWO of the following aid in your understanding of the nature and function of art:

Leo Tolstoy “What is Art?”

Zola “From The Experimental Novel

Wilde “Decay of Lying”

R. S. Crane “The Concept of Plot and the Plot of Tom Jones

[30 marks]


SEMESTER I, 2012-2013

Answer TWO questions in all.

All questions refer to the theorists studied in Module II.

In each answer, you should refer to at least TWO relevant texts.

1. Compare the views of EITHER Zola OR Baudelaire with Wilde’s claim that authors "only discover in nature what they bring to her. She has no suggestions of her own" ("The Decay of Lying"). (30 marks)

2. Referring closely to the views of Lubbock and Forster, discuss TWO of the following topics:

  • the distinction between ‘picture’ and ‘drama’;
  • point of view;
  • the distinction between ‘story’ and ‘plot’;
  • character.
  • (30 marks)

    3. Why have Crane and Booth been described as ‘neo-Aristotelians’? (30 marks)

    4. Tolstoy claims that the "art of a given place and time seeks to communicate the sense of what is good and bad common to that society." Would EITHER Lawrence OR Wimsatt and Beardsley agree? (30 marks)

    5. How would EITHER Pater OR Wilde (in "The Critic as Artist") respond to Arnold’s view that "disinterestedness" allows the critic to "see the object as in itself it really is"? (30 marks)

    6. Would Richards side with Rosenblatt’s claim that a literary work "remains merely inkspots on paper until a reader transforms them into a set of meaningful symbols"? (30 marks)


    2011-2012

    Answer TWO questions in all.

    In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

    1. What do you understand by the term ‘rhetoric’? Answer with reference to at least TWO of the following thinkers:

    Gorgias, Encomium of Helen;

    Protagoras;

    Plato, "Gorgias";

    Aristotle, "Rhetoric";

    Quintilian, "Institutio Oratorio."

    (30 Marks)

    2. Would you agree that Longinus is a "rhetorical critic"? Answer by comparing his views with those of at least ONE rhetorician read in this module. (30 Marks)

    3. What do you understand by the term the ‘Counter-Enlightenment’? Answer with reference to at least TWO of the following thinkers:

    Montaigne, An Apology for Raymond Sebond;

    Vico, The New Science;

    Herder, Ideas for a Philosophy of the History of Man.

    (30 Marks)

    4. To understand a text, Schleiermacher argues, one must always relate it to both the language in which it is expressed and the mind of its author. Compare this view to that of at least ONE of the following theorists:

    Taine, The History of English Literature;

    Spitzer, "Linguistics and Literary History."

    (30 Marks)

    5. It is not the verbal "structures present on the page," Fish claims, but the "reader’s experience" of those structures which the critic should seek to describe. Examine the reaction of at least ONE of the following theorists to this view:

    Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance;

    Rosenblatt, Literature as Exploration.

    (30 Marks)

    6. Discuss the response of at least ONE of the following theorists to Baudelaire’s rejection of the view that the goal of all art is to produce "an excellent copy of nature" (622):

    Ong, "A Dialectic of Aural and Objective Correlatives";

    Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction.

    (30 Marks)


    2010-2011

    Answer TWO questions in all, ONE from Section A and One from Section B.

    In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

    SECTION A: THE ‘PHILOSOPHICAL’ TRADITION

    1.    Discuss the view that the "intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art" (Wimsatt and Beardsley) with reference to TWO of the following works:

    • Arnold, "The Study of Poetry";
    • Eliot, "Tradition and the Individual Talent";
    • Wimsatt and Beardsley, "The Intentional Fallacy."

    2.    What you understand by Arnold’s concept of ‘disinterestedness’? Discuss its importance for literary criticism with reference to TWO of the following works:

  • Arnold, "The Function of Criticism at the Present Time";
  • Richards, Practical Criticism;
  • Wimsatt and Beardsley, "The Affective Fallacy."
  • 3.    EITHER

    Why is it ‘heretical’ to paraphrase a poem? Answer with reference to Ransom’s "Criticism as Pure Speculation" and Brooks’ "The Heresy of Paraphrase."

           OR

    Discuss the difference between the concepts of ‘realism’ and ‘naturalism’ with reference to Zola’s The Experimental Novel and Watt’s "Realism and the Novel Form."

    SECTION B: THE ‘RHETORICAL’ TRADITION

    4.    Compare Spitzer’s view, in "Linguistics and Literary History," that it is possible to "grasp the spirit of a nation in the language of its outstanding works of literature" with that expressed in ONE of the following works:

  • Taine, The History of English Literature;
  • Dilthey, "The Development of Hermeneutics."
  • 5.    "What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to me? What effect does it really produce on me? Does it give me pleasure? And if so, what sort or degree of pleasure? How is my nature modified by its presence, and under its influence? The answers to these questions are what the aesthetic critic must explore. . . ." (Pater).  Compare Pater’s view of criticism with that expressed in ONE of the following works:

  • Rosenblatt, Literature as Exploration
  • Fish, "Interpreting the Variorum"
  • 6.    EITHER

    On what grounds does Ong, in "A Dialectic of Aural and Objective Correlatives," criticise the tendency of the New Critics to "draw an analogy between a poem and an object"?

          OR

    Explain Booth’s claims in The Rhetoric of Fiction that his concern is with the "art of communicating with readers – the rhetorical resources available to the writer of epic, novel, or short story as he tries, consciously or unconsciously, to impose his fictional world upon the reader."


    2009-2010
     

    Answer TWO questions in all, ONE from Section A and ONE from Section B.

    In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

    SECTION A: THE EARLY MODERN PERIOD AND THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

    1. “Two radically opposed worldviews.” Discuss this view of Neoclassicism and Romanticism by comparing TWO theorists studied in this module.

    2. Referring closely to the views of TWO of the following theorists, discuss Pope’s contention that nature is the “source, and end, and test of art”:
    ∙ Alexander Pope
    ∙ Samuel Johnson
    ∙ Edward Young

    3. Is Taine’s view that “you study the document only in order to know the man” characteristic of Romantic literary theory? Answer with reference to the work of TWO theorists studied in this module.

    SECTION B: THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

    4. No poet, Eliot argues, “has his complete meaning alone” because his “significance . . . is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.” In the light of this claim, compare the views of TWO of the following theorists:
    ∙ Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent”
    ∙ Spitzer, “Linguistics and Literary History”
    ∙ Brathwaite, “History of the Voice”
    ∙ Walcott, “The Muse of History”

    5. The goal of literary criticism, Richards asserts, is to “avoid misunderstanding the true meaning of a work.” Compare the response of ONE of the following theorists to this view:
    ∙ Rosenblatt, Literature as Exploration
    ∙ Brathwaite, “Caribbean Critics”
    ∙ Ramchand, “Concern for Criticism”

    6. The Modernists and New Critics "consider the work as an object, a whole made up of inter-related parts to be studied as a thing in itself regardless of the artist or of any response that the work may evoke in an audience" (Zahava McKeon).  Discuss, in the light of this claim, the views on either poetry or prose fiction of TWO of the following theorists:
    ∙ Ransom, “Criticism as Pure Speculation”
    ∙ Brooks, “The Heresy of Paraphrase”
    ∙ Ong, “A Dialectic of Aural and Objective Correlatives”
    ∙ Rohlehr, “West Indian Poetry: Some Problems of Assessment”
    ∙ Watt, “Realism and the Novel Form”
    ∙ Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction
    ∙ Ramchand, The West Indian Novel and its Background
    ∙ Brathwaite, “Jazz and the West Indian Novel”
     


    2008-2009

    Answer TWO questions.

    In each answer, you should refer closely to the arguments advanced by the theorists in question.

    Do not repeat substantially the same material in both answers.

    1. Would you agree that "Longinus, by emphasising both the source and the impact of literature, stands at the head of a critical tradition very different from that admired by the Modernists and New Critics"? Answer by comparing Longinus’ views with those of ONE other theorist studied in Module 2.

    2. Explain TWO of the following terms by referring closely in each case to the views of ONE relevant theorist studied in Module 2:

  • Hermeneutics
  • Historicism
  • Poeticism
  • Relativism
  • Rhetoric
  • Skepticism
  • 3. "The reader brings to the work personality traits, memories of past events, present needs and preoccupations, a particular mood of the moment, and a particular physical condition. These and many other elements in a never-to-be-duplicated combination determine his response to the peculiar contribution of the text." Compare Louise Rosenblatt’s claim here with the views of ONE of the following theorists:

  • Walter Pater, Preface and Conclusion to Studies in the History of the Renaissance
  • Kamau Brathwaite, "Caribbean Critics"
  • 4. Criticism, according to Walter Ong, must be based on the fact that "literature exists in a particular relationship to the interior of man." Discuss Ong’s statement with reference to the views of ONE of the following theorists:

  • Friedrich Schleiermacher, "Outlines of the 1819 Lectures"
  • Kamau Brathwaite, "The African Presence in Caribbean Literature"
  • 5. Literary History "relies on two assumptions: that each work is the product of a specific place and time and that literature as a whole is accordingly dynamic, rather than static." Discuss with reference to the views of TWO of the following theorists:

  • Hippolyte Taine, Introduction to History of English Literature
  • Karl Vossler, selections from The Spirit of Language in Civilisation
  • Kamau Brathwaite, "History of the Voice"
  • 6. There are "two ways of conveying a story, one all good, the other all bad; one all art and form, the other all clumsiness and irrelevancy; one all showing and rendering and drama and objectivity, the other all telling and subjectivity and preaching and inertness" (Wayne Booth). With which view of storytelling do TWO of the following theorists side?

  • Henry James, "The Art of Fiction"
  • Wayne Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction
  • Chinua Achebe, "An Image of Africa: Racism in Conrad's Heart Of Darkness"

  • 2007-2008

    Answer TWO questions in all. In each answer, you should compare the views of at least TWO theorists.

    1.    Discuss the meaning of the term ‘Romanticism’ with reference to the views of TWO of the following: Vico, Herder, Humboldt, Du Bois, Brathwaite.

    2.    "Originals are the fairest flowers: Imitations are of quicker growth, but fainter bloom" (Young). To what degree is an emphasis on originality characteristic of Romantic and neo-Romantic views of literature? Discuss with reference to the views of TWO such theorists studied (e.g. ‘Longinus,’ Young, Schleiermacher, Brathwaite).

    3.    Compare and contrast the views of TWO of the following theorists on the question of literary history: Taine, Arnold ("The Study of Poetry"), Eliot, Brathwaite (e.g. "Sir Galahad and the Islands," "Roots" and "The African Presence in Caribbean Literature").

    4.    Discuss the difference between ‘realism’ and ‘naturalism’ by comparing the views of TWO of the following: Zola, Watt, Ramchand (The West Indian Novel and its Background).

    5.    "What is this song or picture, this engaging personality presented in life or in a book, to me? What effect does it really produce on me?" (Pater). Would Arnold (in "The Function of Criticism"), Richards and/or Ramchand (in "Concern for Criticism") agree that this is the crucial question for the critic?

    6.    "Form expresses the spirit of each artist. . . . Just as every artist has his message, so has every race. . . . This relationship is reflected in form and is called nationality" (Kandinsky).  Discuss the response of ONE of the following to this claim: Ransom, Brooks, Walcott.


    2006-2007
    (Dr. Nicola Hunte)

    Answer TWO (2) questions.  Please do EITHER 5 OR 6, but NOT BOTH.

    Each question requires that you demonstrate knowledge of at least TWO thinkers studied in Module 2 of this course. The two thinkers that you use to answer your first question should not be used to answer your second question. Your answers are to be in essay format.

    1.    Contrast the notion of an ‘essential self’ with that of a ‘socially constructed self’ with reference to the views of at least TWO (2) critical thinkers.

    2.    "Genius occurs at the expense of judgment." Discuss with reference to the views of at least TWO (2) theorists.

    3.    To what extent can the literary text be expected to offer an objective representation of nature? Answer with reference to at least TWO (2) theorists.

    4.    Taine declares that "I am about to write the history of a literature, and to seek in it for the psychology of a people." Discuss, with reference to any TWO (2) of the following literary critics:

    • Hippolyte Taine
    • Kamau Brathwaite
    • Matthew Arnold
    • Virginia Woolf
    • T.S. Eliot.

    5.    EITHER Discuss Matthew Arnold’s concept of ‘disinterested criticism’ with reference to ONE (1) of the following:

    • Judith Fetterley
    • Chinua Achebe
    • Kenneth Ramchand

    OR "The theory of criticism is largely a subjective process." Critically assess this statement with reference to any TWO (2) of the following critics:

    • Anatole France
    • Walter Pater
    • Judith Fetterley
    • Chinua Achebe
    • Kenneth Ramchand
    • Matthew Arnold
    • I. A. Richards.

    2005-2006

    Answer two (2) questions.

    1.    Compare the views of two of the following on the nature of identity: Herder; Hegel; Du Bois; Wollstonecraft.

    2.    "This living reading, this divination into the soul of the author, is the sole mode of reading" (Herder). Compare the views of two of the following on how this may be accomplished: Longinus; Young; Schleiermacher.

    3.    Literature offers us insight, Taine argues, into the "psychology of a soul, frequently of an age, now and then of a race." Compare Taine’s view with that of one of the following: Arnold (in "The Study of Poetry"); Eliot; Brathwaite; Woolf.

    4.    "The true artist, the true poet, should paint only in accordance with what he sees and what he feels. He should be really true to his own nature" (Baudelaire). Can literature offer an impartial representation of reality? To answer this question, compare the views of two of the following: James; Zola; Ramchand (in The West Indian Novel and its Background); Register.

    5.    "The critic ought to say: ‘Gentlemen, I am going to talk about myself on the subject of Shakespeare, or Racine, or Pascal, or Goethe’" (Anatole France). Comparing the views of two of the following, discuss whether criticism can be objective: Arnold (in "The Function of Criticism"); Richards; Achebe, Ramchand (in "Concern for Criticism"); Fetterley.


    2004-2005

    Answer two Questions.  In questions 2 and 3, you should compare the views of one Anglo-American theorist with those of one Post-colonial theorist.

    1.    ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.’  Would Kant agree with this assertion?

    2.    “To see the object as in itself it really is” (Arnold).  In the light of this comment, compare the views of two of the following on the function of criticism: Arnold, Richards, Achebe, and Ramchand.

    3.    The issue foregrounded by the novel, Watt asserts, is the “problem of the correspondence between the literary work and the reality which it imitates.”  Discuss with reference to the views of two of the following theorists: James, Watt, Achebe, and Ramchand.

    4.    Eliot contends that the “significance” of a poet “is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.”  Compare Eliot’s views with Brathwaite’s on the relationship of the author to tradition.

    5.    Is it fair to say that the New Critics make a “fetish of form” (Kazin)?  Answer with reference to the views of at least two of the following theorists: Ransom, Wimsatt and Beardsley, and Brooks.


    2003-2004

    Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE from section A and THE OTHER from section B.

    Section A: the Early Modern Period: 17th and Eighteenth Centuries:

    1.    Discuss a possible contradiction between Johnson’s view that it is the "greatest excellency of art to imitate nature" and his view that it is vital to "distinguish those parts of nature which are most proper for imitation."

    2.    Examine Mary Wollstonecraft’s views on the effect that reading has on the female character.

    3.    In what ways is Wordsworth’s theory of literature Neo-classical and in what ways is it Romantic?

    Section B: the Nineteenth Century (and After):

    4.    Discuss Shelley’s view of the poet’s Imagination as the main "portal of expression from the caverns of the spirit . . . into the universe of things."

    5.    Explain Arnold’s notion of "disinterestedness" in criticism.

    6.    Discuss Ramchand’s view that critics must adopt a "larger contextual view of modern West Indian writing" given the "deterministic effect" which "social factors" have on it.


    2002-2003

    Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE from section A and THE OTHER from section B.

    Section A: the Early Modern Period:

    1.    Discuss some of the causes of "judging ill" listed by Pope.

    2.    The Romantic theorist Shelley defines poetry as the "expression of the imagination." In what ways does this formula mark a significant departure from the Neo-Classical model of literature?

    3.    Taine argues that literary works reveal the "psychology of a soul, frequently of an age, now and then of a race." Discuss the implications of this view for critical practice.

    Section B: the Modern Period:

    4.    Discuss Eliot’s "view of the relation of the poem to its author" in "Tradition and the Individual Talent."

    5.    In what ways, according to Watt, does the modern novel reject traditional "formal conventions"?

    6.    Either Discuss the implications for feminist criticism of Showalter’s distinction between ‘gynocriticism’ and ‘feminist critique.’  

    Or  Discuss Ramchand’s view that the West Indian novelist is both "familiar with the main pattern of" and "naturally departs from" the nineteenth century novel.


    2001-2002

    Answer TWO (2) questions in all, ONE from section A and THE OTHER from section B.

    Section A: Module 3: the Author (The Expressive Approach)

    1.    Discuss the five main sources of the sublime in literature, according to ‘Longinus’?

    2.    Discuss either Taine’s model of literary history or Brathwaite’s in "Caribbean Critics."

    3.    What are the principal questions, according to Woolf, which arise in relation to women’s literary history prior to the twentieth century? How does she answer her own questions?

    Section B: Module 4: the Literary Work (The Objective Approach)

    4.    What do you understand by Ransom’s distinction between the ‘logical core’ and ‘local texture’ of a poem? How does Brooks build upon this distinction in his own theory of poetry?

    5.    Using the attached short story ("The Bridge" by Janice Shinebourne) to illustrate your answer, outline the principal objectives of and characteristic steps taken by Neo-Aristotelian critics (e.g. Crane, Booth) interested in analysing plot-structure.

    6.    "Few, if any, theorists in either the feminist or the Anti-colonial camp have sought to focus exclusively on matters of literary form." Referring to the work of two (2) such theorists whom you have studied at any time this semester, discuss some of the reasons why this might be the case.


    2000-2001

    Answer TWO (2) questions in all, each from a different section.

    Section A: The Expressive Approach (The Author)

    1.    Using the attached poem (Shakespeare's sonnet #130) to illustrate your answer, discuss the principal objectives of and characteristic steps taken by a critic who practices what Coleridge would call a ‘genial criticism.’

    2.    Referring closely to the views of TWO (2) of the following theorists, discuss what you understand by the concept of literary history:

    • Friedrich von Schlegel;
    • Hippolyte Taine;
    • T. S. Eliot;
    • W. E. B. DuBois;
    • Virginia Woolf.

    Section B: The Objective Approach (The Work)

    3.    Discuss Aristotle’s concept of plot and show how ONE (1) of the following theorists has sought to apply his insights to the study of narrative:

    • R. S. Crane;
    • Wayne Booth;
    • Northrop Frye.

    4.    Using the attached poem (Shakespeare's sonnet #130) to illustrate your answer, discuss the principal objectives of and characteristic steps taken by a critic who practices what has come to be called New Criticism.

    Section C: The Pragmatic Approach (The Reader)

    5.    Discuss the views of TWO (2) of the following theorists on the formative effect of literature upon the reader:

    • Plato;
    • Sir Philip Sidney;
    • Samuel Johnson;
    • Mary Wollstonecraft;
    • Percy Bysshe Shelley.

    1999-2000
    (Dr. Carl Wade)

    Answer any TWO questions.  Do not use substantially the same material for both answers.

    1.    Either "Comprehensive, but not infallible." Consider this view of Aristotle’s Poetics.

    Or Briefly explain the differences in the way in which Plato and Aristotle conceive of imitation (mimesis) and how these influence their divergent views on the importance of imaginative writing.

    2.    Either "The pragmatic orientation characterized the greatest part of criticism from the time of Horace through the eighteenth century." Explain what you understand by "pragmatic orientation." And referring to at least three critical statements, say how far you agree with this assertion. 

    Or What do you consider to be the major differences between Renaissance and Neoclassical criticism? Refer to one critic for each period.

    3.    Either "A comprehensive and insightful view of the critical process." Do you agree with this assessment of Abrams’ scheme for identifying various kinds of critical theory and practice? Refer to your own reading and to the critical statements studied for this course. 

    Or Say which of the literary critics studies for this course have influenced your practice as a critic. Explain how and why, referring to specific literary texts that you have read.

    3.    Either "The history of literary criticism is a footnote to the Poetics." Examine the influence of Aristotle’s ideas about imaginative literature in the light of this comment. 

    Or  Discuss the importance and influence of Longinus as a literary critic.

    4.    Either Explain what you understand by the expressive theory of imaginative literature as outlined by the Romantic critics and discuss its strengths and weaknesses.  Refer to the statement of one Romantic critic. 

    Or Outline the basic argument of the New Criticism, and suggest an approach to the poem below based on this theory.  Briefly state what do you consider to be the main strengths and/or weakness of this theory.

        "FUTILITY" by Wilfred Owen

        Move him into the sun --
        Gently its tough awoke him once,
        At home, whispering of fields unsown,
        Always it woke him, even in France,
        Until this morning and this snow.
        If anything might rouse him now
        The kind old sun will know.
        Think how it wakes the seeds, --
        Woke, one, the clays of a clod star.
        Are limbs, so dear-achieved, are sides,
        Full-nerved-still warm-too hard to stir?
        Was it for this the clay grew tall?
        -Or what made fatuous sunbeams toil
        To break earth’s sleep at all?

    4.    Either "Ordering the aim of the artist and the Character of the work to the nature, the need, and the wellsprings of pleasure in the audience, characterized by far the greatest part of criticism from the time of Horace through the eighteen century." Discuss with specific reference to the work of at least two critics. 

    Or "The Neo-Classical and Renaissance periods of criticism do not represent a rebirth of Classical premises, forms and values, but rather new births that came through and by means of them."  Examine the critical statements of Samuel Johnson, and either Sidney and/or Ben Johnson in light of this statement.


    1998-1999

    Course not offered.


    1997-1998
    (Dr. Carl Wade)

    1.    Either  "Comprehensive, but not infalliable." Consider Aristotle’s Poetics in the light of this statement. 

    Or  Briefly explain the difference in the ways Plato and Aristotle conceive of imitation (mimesis). Show how these differences affect their views on the importance of imaginative literature.

    2.    Either "From Horace to Samuel Johnson there is no real advancement or innovation in literary theory, only restatements and refinements of Aristotle and Plato." Discuss with reference to work of at least two critics from the following list: Horace, Sidney, Ben Jonson and Samuel Johnson. 

    Or  What do you consider to be the major differences between the critical orientations and principles of Renaissance and Neoclassical theorists? Refer to one critic from each period.

    3.    Either In what ways does the critical theory of the Romantic period illustrate an "expressive" orientation? Refer to the critical statement of one writer. 

    Or With specific reference to the work of one critic, outline the basic arguments of the New Criticism, discussing what you consider to be the main strengths and/or weaknesses of this theory.

    4.    Either Say which of the theorists for this course have influenced your own practice as a critic. Explain how and why with reference to literary texts you have read. 

    Or "Ordering the aim of the artist and the character of the work to the nature, the need, and the springs of pleasure in the audience, characterized by far the greatest part of criticism from the time of Horace through the eighteenth century." Discuss specific reference to the work of at least three critics.


    1996-1997
    (Dr. Carl Wade)

    Answer any TWO questions.

    1.    Either "The history of literary criticism is a footnote to the Poetics."  Examine the influence of Aristotle’s ideas about imaginative literature in the light of this comment. Refer to the critical statements of at least two periods. 

    Or Write as essay on what you consider to be the importance of EITHER of the following as a literary critic.

    • Longinus

    • Horace

    2.    Either Write an essay on what you consider to be the major differences between the critical theories of the Renaissance and those of the Neoclassical age. Refer to one statement from each period. 

    Or Argue the case that either Ben Jonson or Alexander Pope or Samuel Johnson has not merely restated the views of the classical writers but has added something new to our understanding of literature and criticism.

    3.    Either "The literary theory of the Romantics represents a complete break with the past."  Discuss this remark with reference to the work of one Romantic critic. 

    Or To what extent do you agree with the view that the New Criticism illustrates an "objective" theory of imaginative writing?  Refer to the critical statements of either John Crowe Ransom or Cleanth Brooks.

    4.    Either Say which literary theorist studies for this course have influenced your own practice as a critic.  Explain how and why. 

    Or "A comprehensive and accurate view of the critical process."  Do you agree with this view of Abrams’ scheme for identifying various kinds of critical theory and practice?


    1995-1996
    (Dr. Carl Wade)

    Answer any TWO questions.

    1.    Either "Aristotle’s Poetics is neither an infallible guide nor an outdated textbook, but for breath of outlook and sanity of judgement, for sheer penetrating power into the mysteries of imaginative writing, the work is unrivalled." Discuss. 

    Or Briefly explain the differences in the ways in which Plato and Aristotle conceive of imitation (mimesis) and how these influence their divergent views on the importance and role of imaginative writing.

    2.    Either What do you consider to be the essential differences between the critical theories of the Renaissance and those of the Neoclassical period? Refer to at least one statement from each era. 

    Or  Write an essay on what you consider to be the importance of any one of the following as literary theorist.:

    • Horace
    • Ben Jonson
    • Alexander Pope
    3.    Either "The Romantic period formulated its new doctrine in conscious opposition to Neoclassicism." Discuss with reference to at least one critic from each era. 

          Or In what ways do Romantic critical statements illustrate an "expressive" theory of imaginative writing? Refer to the work of at least two Romantic writers.

    Or  Say which of the literary theorists studies on this course have influenced your practice as a critic.  Explain how and why.

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