What is a moral criticism? – Literary Terms 101

moral criticism:

“A type of literary criticism that evaluates a work on the basis of the moral elements it contains and their correspondence to the accepted moral standards of the time or to those ethical principles that the critic feels should govern human life. Ideally, the moral critic, in judging a literary work, applies only those moral standards presented in the work itself or, failing that, makes his or her own beliefs clear to the reader.” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms

I’m currently writing an psychoanalysis on the horror/thriller film The Platform directed by Galder Gaztelu-Urrutia currently on Netflix. It’s almost impossible to avoid doing a kind of moral criticism not only trying to interpret the morals addressed in the work itself, but also express your own feelings about the events throughout the story (especially that ending!). Doing my best to stay within the realm of psychoanalysis, I inevitably ran into psychological terms that framed my view of the many facets of morality portrayed in this film. I have no desire to push my views on the audience, but the subjectivity that comes with psychoanalysis and the unreachable idealism of a moral critique makes it difficult to not address my views, which hasn’t been as optimistic as most analyses and reviews.

I’ll definitely share my analysis of The Platform on my Vocal profile when it’s finished.

Do you think being the ideal moral critic, where you’re focusing on the moral standards or ethics of the work itself, is possible?

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Psychology Has Inspired Me To Try NaNoWriMo (and I’m really excited) – [Just Me/News]

Hello, My head has been stuck in the books lately and when that happens blog posts seem to gradually fade, haha. Between studying, blogging, and my other music projects, I’m missing my novel and the VPD entries again. So I thought maybe I should take NaNoWriMo seriously and see how far I get. Once Samhain … Continue reading Psychology Has Inspired Me To Try NaNoWriMo (and I’m really excited) – [Just Me/News]

Mercury Retrograde Killed My Perfectionism (Sort of) – Just Me

I didn’t really notice the Mercury in Scorpio retrograde energy until yesterday and I could only express how the energy messed with me in a silly Tumblr post. Yeah, so that happened and the relief from perfectionism just from the academic aspect has bled into the music aspect as well. I’m so freaking close to … Continue reading Mercury Retrograde Killed My Perfectionism (Sort of) – Just Me

What is modernism in literature? – Literary Terms 101

Modernism: “The term applied to a certain group of tendencies in literature and the arts since the late 19th century, including breaking away from established rules and traditional values, experimenting radically with form and style–sometimes even denying the need for form–and focusing on the subjective, often alienated, consciousness of the individual.” – NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms (1991)

You know… I think I’m going to invest in a more updated dictionary of literary terms because this one doesn’t have “postmodernism” in it and that makes me sad.

My Take On Modernism In Literature

First, I just want to let you know that we wouldn’t have had Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats (1980) with T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats (1939). Just thought that was a cool fun fact. Even posted it on Instagram.

Anyway, modernism was an age I didn’t pay much attention to in college because I was more in love with the romantics. Studying it now, holy crap did I miss a lot. As someone who loves psychoanalytic literary critique, I would’ve had a blast deconstructing James Joyce (my birthday twin, by the way), Virginia Woolf (this lady, omg), Franz Kafka, and Eliot. I remember reading Kafka’s Metamorphosis (1915) and vaguely recall discussing perception and trying to process an unstable identity with my fellow peers. Reviewing the existential turmoil and radical thought in modernism now kind of reminded me of some films from the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. My mother and I enjoy watching Hitchcock’s works, especially Vertigo (1958). There was also Whatever Happened To Baby Jane (1962) and honestly, take your pick of any Joan Crawford movie. Of course, I can’t neglect The Twilight Zone (1958). Modernism certainly had an impact on media that I personally feel, led more to a spiral of one’s personal voids than ground themselves with what is relative to them, like postmodernism sort of does (even though postmodernism is quite paradoxical, the acknowledgement of subjective/multifaceted views can help someone ground themselves a bit, I would say).

I read brief biographies on Kafka, Joyce, Woolf, and Eliot, some of the few who are seen as the pioneers of modernism. Woolf, Kafka, and Joyce had very apparent struggles that somehow polished, or perhaps unraveled, their art according to The Broadview Anthology of British Literature (2007) that I have. Like I said, I didn’t pay much attention to these guys in undergrad, but I’ll be reading their work now. I want to spiral with them and see for myself how postmodernists look back on their work and are proud of themselves for not letting their dreams and nightmares ruin them (but they’re not perfect either, tbh. I would write about postmodernism, but that’s not what the post is about… If you are interested in the comparison of modernism and postmodernism, I found this article to be pretty neat).

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What is Explication de Texte? – Literary Terms 101?

explication de texte: “The detailed analysis, or “close reading,” of a passage of verse or prose… a method of teaching literature in French secondary schools. Such explication seeks to make meaning clear through a painstaking examination and explanation of style, language, relationship of part to whole, and use of symbolism.” – The NTC’s Dictionary of Literary Terms

My Take on Explication de Texte

So, this is basically hardcore literary theory or literary criticism for obsessors or borderline masochists? Perhaps, but I think nerds like us may find it fun. However, it does suck some of the fun out for me because explication de texte focuses more on the literal aspect of a poem or a piece of prose rather than the figurative aspect. This definitely takes me back to my undergrad days studying literary theory, but my favorite forms of literary criticism were deconstructionism and psychological analysis. New Critcism…is something I don’t think I paid much attention to. Britiannica’s definition of New Criticsm is: post-World War I school of Anglo-American literary critical theory that insisted on the intrinsic value of a work of art and focused attention on the individual work alone as an independent unit of meaning. It was opposed to the critical practice of bringing historical or biographical data to bear on the interpretation of a work. (Britiannica).

I know explication de texte basically comes off to me as a very painful book report, but I’d like to hear what you think. Have you done it before? Technically, I have in many papers, but I don’t think I’ve reached the extensiveness this definition implies. I do think you can gain a stimulating understanding of the text itself in its autonomy, but chopping out the essence of the author, their history and life basically, completely out of the criticism seems…cold. Whenever I read something and the author hooks me in, I want to know who the author is, what their life is like, and more. My current example would be Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. After reading halfway through the book, I couldn’t resist listening to a couple of her interviews. I’m also reading her novel The Secret History simultaneously.

If there’s a book you’ve taken the time to break down before explication de texte style, but you want to find an edition of it that’s rare and beautiful, go to abebooks.com. I bet you anything they have it and it looks gorgeous.