Traditional Approaches to Literature

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Traditional Approaches to the Study of Literature: 

Traditional Approaches to the Study of Literature Steve Wood TCCC

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 2 Textual Scholarship An important type of literary criticism that is primarily of interest to literary scholars is textual scholarship. Textual scholarship is interested in one goal: to establish the authentic text. That is, the goal is to establish the history of a text in terms of its creation and its publishing history.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 3 Textual Scholarship For modern authors, this is less of an issue, but as we go back in history, it can become a crucial issue.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 4 Textual Scholarship For example, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats was the subject of some textual problems in its early publication history.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 5 Textual Scholarship The last stanza of the poem reads: O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,”—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 6 Textual Scholarship In its first publication in 1819, the last two lines of the poem had no quotation marks. Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 7 Textual Scholarship In its next publication in 1820, the last two lines of the poem were enclosed in quotation marks. Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 8 Textual Scholarship Finally, the poem settled into its current form. Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say’st, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 9 Textual Scholarship Even though the placement of the quotation marks is a slight printing difference, the resolution of the poem does change because of the moved punctuation marks.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 10 Textual Scholarship Another example can be found with William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet . The play dates from the years 1600 to 1602, but the exact date of the play is unknown. The play was entered into the Stationers’ Register July 26, 1602, but not marked as a new play.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 11 Textual Scholarship Shakespeare’s sources for the play are difficult to discern exactly. As with most of his plays, there is the issue of originality. The storyline of Hamlet goes back to the 12 th century. Revenge plays were very popular in Elizabethan drama Plays about Hamlet were around from 1589 on (at least ten years before the creation of Shakespeare’s version of the story).

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 12 Textual Scholarship There are three existing texts of the play. There are Quatro editions from 1603 and 1604. Quatro versions were usually unauthorized publications, and were most certainly not overseen by Shakespeare.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 13 Textual Scholarship Then there is the version in the First Folio 1623. Seven years after Shakespeare’s death in 1616, an authorized collection of his plays was published.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 14 Textual Scholarship Here are two examples of textual differences in the versions that must be resolved: In a famous soliloquoy in Act 1, Hamlet talks about the nature of his life and his view of the world around him. In one Quatro, the word “solid” is replaced by “sullied” (1.2.129-131).

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 15 Textual Scholarship “O, that this too too solid [or sullied] flesh would melt Thaw and resolve itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God! How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden, That grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature Possess it merely. That it should come to this!”

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 16 Textual Scholarship A more serious discrepancy can be found in the most famous speech in the play, the “To be or not to be” speech (3.1.55-89). The speech we are all familiar with is from the First Folio.

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 17 Textual Scholarship “To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them?”

Textual Scholarship: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 18 Textual Scholarship However, the Quatro 1 (1603) version of “To be” is very different. “To be, or not to be, I there's the point To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all:”

Slide 19: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 19 First Folio Quatro 1 To be, or not to be: that is the question: Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To be, or not to be, I there's the point To Die, to sleepe, is that all? I all: No, to sleepe, to dreame, I mary there it goes, For in that dreame of death when wee awake, And borne before an euerlasting Iudge, From whence no passenger euer retur'nd, The vndiscouered country, at whose sight The happy smile, and the accursed damn 'd. But for this, the ioyfull hope of this, Whol'd beare the scornes and flattery of the world,

Slide 20: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 20 First Folio Quatro 1 To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause: there's the respect That makes calamity of so long life; For who would bear the whips and scorns of time, The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely, The pangs of despised love, the law's delay, The insolence of office and the spurns That patient merit of the unworthy takes, The widow being oppressed, the orphan wrong'd, The taste of hunger, or a tirants raigne, And thousand more calamities besides, To grunt and sweate vnder this weary life, When that he may his full Quietus make, With a bare bodkin, who would this endure,But for a hope of something after death? Which pusles the braine, and doth confbund the sence, Which makes vs rather beare those euilles we haue, Than flie to others that we know not of.

Slide 21: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 21 First Folio Quatro 1 When he himself might his quietus make With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear, To grunt and sweat under a weary life, But that the dread of something after death, The undiscover'd country from whose bourn No traveller returns, puzzles the will And makes us rather bear those ills we have Than fly to others that we know not of? Thus conscience does make cowards of us all; And thus the native hue of resolution Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment With this regard their currents turn awry, And lose the name of action.--Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sins remember'd. I that, O this conscience makes cowardes of vs all, Lady in thv orizons, be all my sinnes remembred.

Historical-biographical Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 22 Historical-biographical Criticism Historical-biographical criticism involves the relationship between the text, the author, and the world in which the author lived. Studying the life of the author and the world in which he or she lived helps us understand the text. Likewise, the text can help us understand the life of the author and his/her world.

Historical-biographical Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 23 Historical-biographical Criticism One example of this type of criticism was the French critic Hippolyte Taine (1828-1893). In his History of English Literature (1864), he wrote that the study of literature is a study of “race, milleu, et moment.” Race – heritage or genetics Milleu – place Moment -- time

Historical-biographical Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 24 Historical-biographical Criticism Taine compared the work of literature to the fossil of a leaf. Like the fossil, which tells us of the world of a previous age, the literary work can provide important clues to the life and times of the author.

Moral/thematic Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 25 Moral/thematic Criticism Moral or thematic criticism is a common kind of criticism that concerns the relationship of the work and the universe today. It asks the question: “What kind of truth does this work reveal to us?”

Moral/thematic Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 26 Moral/thematic Criticism A famous literary critic who used this approach was the Roman critic Horace (65-8 BC). In his Ars Poetica ( The Art of Poetry ), Horace wrote that literature should be “dulce et utile” or “sweet and useful.” In other words, literature should be both entertaining and enlightening.

Moral/thematic Criticism: 

8/8/2011 Free PowerPoint Template from www.brainybetty.com 27 Moral/thematic Criticism There are two kinds of themes: descriptive and prescriptive. Descriptive themes are the truths that the work tells us about what the world is like. Prescriptive themes are the truths that the work tells us about what we should do, how we should live.