Archive

Tag Archives: David Daiches

“A critic is one who expresses a reasoned opinion on any matter especially involving a judgment of its value, truth, righteousness, beauty, or technique;  one who engages often professionally in the analysis, evaluation, or appreciation of works of art or artistic performances.”  [standard dictionary definition]

But what gives them the right to say those things?

They have the job!  We do not…

We give them the power over us–or at least over what we read, see, and hear.  Nevertheless, they are also expressing their own opinions–as we have opinions.

Whom to believe?  For the most part, it’s a matter of taste and style.  A good critic likes what we like and hates what we hate, writes the way we would like to and reviews the things we like to read about.  A bad critic doesn’t.

THERE ARE FEW ESTABLISHED RULES IN THE FIELD OF CRITICISM–AND FEWER CRITICS’ TRAINING INSTITUTES.

Yet we can look at training in the field of alleged expertise and the ability to communicate effectively when judging the critics we read or listen to.

And what about their reputation among peers?  the effort they expend?  their “readability”?

We have to decide whether we want to read the work of others.  We must be critical of the critics, though, if we have our own standards.  And standards we MUST have.

BE READY TO BE YOUR OWN CRITIC.

“Every effective…critic sees some facet of…art and develops our awareness with respect to it; but the total vision, or something approximating it, comes only to those who learn how to blend the insights yielded by many critical approaches.”  –David Daiches

GOOD PEDAGOGY: “Tell ‘em what you told ‘em”:  [See https://memoriesofatime.com/category/artistic-ventures/ ] HISTORICAL (H): concerned with historical “facts”; FORMALISM (F): concerned with the text (alone); SOCIO-CULTURAL (S): concerned with the text as social commentary; PSYCHOLOGICAL (P): [FREUD]: studies author/artist, work/characters, reader/viewer; MYTHOPOEIC (M): [JUNG]:  tries to present a work as the verbal aspect of ritual. 

CRITICAL READING SKILLS: Seeing/reading what’s there for sure; understanding what we put there; and what it means to us in the greater scheme of things, the “big” picture.”

Finally, review “Comprehension and Critical Reading”: https://memoriesofatime.com/2015/06/30/comprehension-and-critical-reading/

and

“Critical Reading and Skills”: https://memoriesofatime.com/2015/07/11/critical-reading-and-skills/

Finally,

“The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art–and, by analogy, our own experience–more, rather than less, real to us.  The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.”  — Susan Sontag
Question_mark_(black_on_white)  

 

Advertisements

Is there such a thing as a “right” way of literary criticism or critical theory?

Do you want/need a sound (old), “common sense” approach, among so many other “theories”?

David Daiches is (was) one of my critical heroes who told me “there is no single right method of handling literary problems. There is no single approach to works of literary art that will yield all the significant truths about them.” (This certainly goes for movies/film, too.)

I learned (and taught) these five: Historical, Formalist, Sociocultural, Psychological, and Mythopoeic (and maybe something like “Eclectic”).

But, since “art is greater than its interpreters…all criticism is tentative, partial, oblique.” (Studying the five MAY help us find our way.)

Criticism should be a MEANS to greater understanding and appreciation–not an end in itself.

“We turn to criticism [if we want] to develop and strengthen the ‘civilized’ approach to the arts: to enjoy with discrimination, to discern value, to recognize and reject the spurious, to respond maturely to the genuine, never to be fooled by the shabby and the second hand.”

“Every effective…critic sees some facet of…art and develops our awareness with respect to it; but the total vision, or something approximating it, comes only to those who learn how to blend the insights yielded by many critical approaches.”

Epilogue to Critical Approaches to Literature (1956; 1981) by David Daiches [1912-2005]

Question_mark_(black_on_white)

%d bloggers like this: