Archive | September, 2013


28 Sep


24 Sep


The psychological perspective of literary criticism explores the emotional scaffolding on which both our characters and authors hang. What is it that makes them tick? How are they affected by their inner desires and torn by their post traumatic experiences? Literature offers a glimpse into mind that isn’t normally revealed in quotidian drudgery, by lifting the veil on one’s inner thoughts and other self. Normally closeted and for personal viewing only, the author in committing thought to paper, whether intentionally or not, reveals the slings and arrows of inner psyche; a tantalizing glimpse of that which normally lays well hidden in the back of the sock drawer. That being said we have to question whether or not literature is simply words on a page, or if it truly holds some deeper more significant connotation? This is what psychological criticism is about, the search for the clues that open windows on personal conflicts, identity crisis’s, moral arrogance and ultimately the essence of self.

Very often characters, as we are accustomed to in the theatre, hold mirrors up to their readers so that the balance of character profile can be reflected upon. After all, when considering characters aren’t we judging them by our own values and experiences? In order to assist in character analysis the application of Freudian method is used to discover the personality or personalities within the personality. By way of the Id, the Ego and the Super Ego psychological critique helps us understand the Oedipal and Electra complexes, the revelation of arrested development and an innate narcissistic adherence to the Pleasure Principle. Psychological criticism is nothing more than applying laymen’s observations and pseudo psychology in order to understand that which is important to us. One might question the methodology and ask, “Are we interpreting neurosis or simply applying our own?”

The process is subjective and, although we are offered early twentieth century quackery, is dependent upon one’s own experience. After all what else does the reader have to compare his characters to? Do we appreciate a character because he reminds us of ourselves or because of who we would like to be? Should we be repulsed or are we simply following super-ego tramlines and acknowledging that which societal conditioning has already dictated?

Freud was once asked whilst posing with a cigar in his mouth what the connotation of this symbolism might infer. Freud simply smiled, took the cigar from his mouth and said, “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!”

 Does the mind rule the body, or the body rule the mind? I don’t know.


15 Sep



The Formalistic movement of literary critique was a reaction to the cold, calculated method of viewing literature through the eyes of supposed political motivation, biographical nuance and historical interpretation, the verbiage laid open like a cadaver on a slab to be viewed as individual pieces. Instead of the detractive pseudo-science of literary vivisection, the text was considered by the Formalists in its entirety as a work of literary endeavor; the product of its parts rather than the sum of them.

Formalism allows one to avoid the clutter of political climate and social adaptation, a novels provenance and the atmosphere in which it was created. Unhindered by such motivations we, the reader, are observers of the words in the work and what it is they say to us and of the author. It isn’t about situational context or trying to put one’s self in the position of the writer but to understand that which they have written, rather than that which has caused the author to write it. We are not applying a deconstructed analysis but taking the body of text as the sum of its parts and viewing it in its totality. What is denotative and what is connotative, what metaphors are being used, can we recognize themes through either allusion or simile and is there an etymological significance with regard to word usage?  Simply put, it’s is not why we think it’s being said but how it’s being said.

The beauty of the formalistic criticism is its simplicity. To add biographical bias or to presume the authors intent is to step outside its bounds, to presuppose their mind and reason is to analyze and dissect. Instead, by utilizing the text as a metaphorical murder site, we can sift through the clues, peruse the D.N.A. and formulate an opinion. When one observes a painting one may choose to contrast the quality of lead based paints over modern oils or perhaps compare the use of horse hair instead of synthetic bristles. But what of its body and what does it reveal of itself? Is the painting beautiful, what does it mean to you, what in its composition evokes an emotion or causes a reaction?

Close reading of a text will reveal such things as tone and mood, metaphors and allusions, indications of intent and innate symbolism. Through the analytical observance of text we can discover its secrets, what it is that underlies the work and what is written between the lines, so to speak. To use the old adage of “It isn’t what we say but how we say it,” that is the crux of formalistic critique. The focus of the formalist is the text, the whole text and nothing but the text.




12 Sep



Masseur Invades Game, Avoids Crucial Goal And Qualifies His Football Team In Brazil (HD)