Paul Nervy Notes
“Jokes, poems, stories, and a lot of philosophy, psychology, and sociology.”

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Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  .This section considers principles and methods of criticism in literature.  ---  12/30/2003

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  .This section is about literary criticism.  Topics include:  ---  1/24/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) Analyze.  (A) One sentence summary of book.  (B) One paragraph summary of book.  (C) Ten page summary of book.  (2) Judge.  (A) Compare to his other works.  (B) Compare to other artists of his time, place and style.  (C) Compare to other artists of other times and places.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) Comparative genres.  Which is best: condensed, organized knowledge.  (2) Comparative styles.  Which is best: complete without wordiness, concise.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) External criticism.  Is this his work?  (2) Internal criticism.  What are the words he is saying?  What does he mean?  Taking things in and out of context.  What is the context of the work?  Context of authors other work.  Context of all history.  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) Meaning.  (A) Author's meaning.  What did the work mean to the author?  Why did the author write the work?  The author as a reader too.  (B) Reader's meaning.  What does the work mean to readers?  What has it meant to people through the ages?  How have views toward the work changed?  What does the work mean to readers today?  Every reader sees the work a little differently.  (2) Effect.  What was the effect of the work on the author?  What was the effect of the work on the reader?  "Effect" includes emotions, and so it is a broader concept than "meaning".  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) Most important lines in work, (or by author, in a literary school, in history).  (2) What is the author saying?  What does he mean?  How clear is it?  How conscious and intentful of it is he?  (3) What are the most important things said in Western Literature (things not said anywhere else), and why?  (Example: On the Road.  Most important line: I think about Dean Moriarity).  ---  04/30/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) New ideas and new ways of saying (i.e., progress) vs. old ideas in old styles (i.e., repetitive, redundant).  (2) Great ideas, communicated greatly.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) What I think I mean vs. (2) What you think I mean vs. (3) What I think you think I mean.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) What is it?  (2) How good is it: compared to what.  (3) Why: arguments.  (4) Criteria for value judgments used by evaluator.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  (1) What said: subject (view, arguments, evidence), emotions, attitudes.  (2) How say: media, structure, diction, style, mood, genre.  (3) How well said it.  (4) Why said it: enlighten, describe, explain, persuade, record, show/tell.  (5) To who said it: audience.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Best writing is philosophical and psychological.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Cannon: the list of great works.  (1) Academic cannon and my criticism of it.  (2) Anyone else's cannon and my criticism of it.  (3) Paul cannon and why.  Bukowski, Kerouac, Ginsberg, Steinbeck, Terkel, Brautigan, Jeffers, Hemingway, Fitzgerald.  (4) Paul criticism of my works, found works, major works.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Cannon.  How is the cannon determined?  Who determines it?  Is it a power play?  Is multiculturalism valid?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Comparison to artist's other works, artists's peers works, and to all time.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Critical acclaim versus popular acclaim.  ---  9/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Criticism (analysis and judgment) can be done on any type of writing (fiction or non-fiction.  Practical or aesthetic.  Crap or excellent).  The questions are, "What is this thing?  What does it say?  What was the author trying to say or meaning?"  These things can not always be figured out by scientific (inductive) or even rational (deductive) means.  They demand an emotional and unconscious "hunch" response.  ---  08/15/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Criticism implies value judgments.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Criticism of essays involves answering questions like, "How to make this essay better?"  "How to make this argument stronger?"  "How to make the communication of the argument better?"  Answering questions about factors like organization, clarity, support, sentence structure, paragraph development, focus, coherence, etc.  What is the author saying?  What is the author's intention or purpose?  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Criticism of stories involves answering questions about theme, plot, character, setting, narrator, voice, etc.  What is the author saying?  What is the author's intention or purpose?  Why did the author make his choices about plot, character, setting etc?  What were his reasons, and what were the causes?  What was the environment the author was working in, natural, social, political, economic, and what was the author's personality, and how did his personality interact with his environment?  What did the author value, and what did the author see as problems in the world, and what were his ideas for solutions to problems?  What is the meaning of the work?  What is the effect of the work?  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Criticism: analysis and judge (compare, evaluate).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Eco-criticism is a form of literary criticism that deals with a work of literature's relation to the natural environment.  ---  4/22/1999

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Freudian criticism of author and reader.  (1) The essence of Freudian criticism in the arts is to say, "The author may have had the intention of saying X but their writing clearly reveals that Y was actually on their mind."  (2) A similar phenomenon occurs on the readers side.  A Freudian criticism of the reader says, "The author may have written A but the reader understood the text to mean B, because the readers's interpretation of the text is actually more revealing about what is on the reader's mind than on the author's mind."  (3) More generally, these phenomena apply to all the arts.  More generally, these phenomena apply to all communications.  People engage in these Freudian criticisms quite naturally.  Freud didn't invent it, he recognized it.  ---  4/15/2005

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Good and bad literature.  (1) Good literature has a good theme and expresses it well.  (2) Bad literature has a bad theme and expresses it poorly.  ---  12/28/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Good and bad literature.  Traits of good literature: (1) Informative and entertaining.  (2) Achieves both popular and critical acclaim.  (3) Popular through time and place.  Universal.  (3) Makes literary advances.  Advances in style and techniques.  Advances in ideas, new ideas.  ---  12/28/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Good and bad literature.  What is bad writing?  The traits of bad literature are similar to the traits of bad movies.  (1) Poor ending.  (2) No action.  (3) Fails on the level of components of setting, narrator, characters, plot, theme, or tone.  ( ) Characters not defined.  ( ) Poor story or plot.  ( ) No point.  ( ) Time moves slower.  2 hours feel like 4 hours.  ---  12/28/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Good and bad literature.  What is good literature?  ( ) Classic.  Universal.  Timeless.  All cultures respond to it.  Popular through time and space.  ( ) Popular acclaim and critical acclaim.  ( ) Informative and entertaining.  ( ) Makes advances.  Advances in ideas.  Advances in literary style and technique.  ( ) Does not make the mistakes of bad writing. ( ) Time moves faster.  ( ) On the edge of your seat.  ( ) Totally immersed.  Captures your attention.  Not distracted.  ( ) Laugh, cry and other emotional responses.  ( ) Time moves faster.  2 hours feel like  1 hour.  ---  12/28/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Great literature by subject matter:  List 26 subjects.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Great literature makes an advancement in both ideas and style.  One can see in retrospect how many years ahead of its time was a great work of literature.  ---  9/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Great literature: (1) Great ideas (quantity and quality).  (2) Great expression.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Greatest works.  Greatest authors.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  History: who came before and after the artist?  Artist's effect on society.  Society's effect on artist.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  How close you come to getting the drift of a work.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  How much we value a work depends on how much it can help us.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  I like short and clear.  I don't like long-winded or obscure.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Ideas: attitudes (thoughts and emotions).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Ideas: How many.  How fast get.  How good.  How original.  How important.  How true.  How complex.  How practical.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Interpretation.  Everyone who reads a text forms a slightly different interpretation.  Thirty students in a classroom will produce thirty different interpretations of a text.  There will be some agreement and disagreement about what the author is saying, and how well he is saying it.  Through the process of discussion, the meaning of a text can become more clear.  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Method.  To be able to pick out crucial explicit lines or paragraphs, and implicit ideas (assumptions, conclusions), that are included (or excluded) from a novel.  It's like writing a quote book.  Talking here of wisdom (that is, theme not plot).  How well (complete, clear, short) can you boil it down.  Give each implicit and explicit idea of an author a rating as far as quality.  ---  04/12/1994

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Most important lines in a work.  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  New ways of looking at the same old shit.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Number of epiphanies per page: epiphanies of thought, and epiphanies of emotion.  Quality of epiphanies.  Epiphany = revelation of idea (theme).  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Originated an idea vs. perfected the idea.  Shed new light on older works.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  People are very good at criticizing other people.  People are not that good at criticizing themselves.  Read your work to others and consider what others have to say about your work.  Try to give fair criticism of other's work.  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Philosophical literary criticism.   Categories are a metaphysical issue.  Values are an ethical issue.  Standards of reasoning and proof are an epistemological issue.  Every individual and society has categories, values and standards of reasoning.  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Philosophical literary criticism.  Everyone has a philosophy, including the author, the characters, and the reader.  One's philosophy is often hazy, vague, containing many hidden assumptions, hidden implications, and habitual automatic thinking.  Our purpose is to expose, examine, and make clear the philosophy of everyone in the literary process, including author, characters, readers.  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Philosophical literary criticism.  What's an essay about?  What to write about?  The answers to these questions depend on categories and category systems of the author and reader.  Every individual has a category system.  Each society has a category system.  Categories change over time.  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Philosophy, psychology, sociology, and literary criticism.  (1) Philosophy and literature.  Terms include: Metaphysics.  Epistemology.  Ethics.  (2) Psychology and literature.  Psychological novels.  Human versus self.  Interior life.  Terms include: Senses, emotions, memories, thoughts, personality.  (3) Sociology.  Human versus human.  Terms include.  Macro-sociology.  Politics.  Economics.  Gender.  Ethnicity.  Microsociology.  Love.  Hate.  (4) Technology, nature and literature.  Human versus nature.  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Philosophy, psychology, sociology, and literary criticism.  Using terms from these other subject areas to help us discuss and understand the subject of literature.  (1) Philosophy: metaphysics, epistemology, ethics.  (2) Psychology: sense, emotion, memory, thinking, personality.  (3) Sociology: macro-sociology, society, culture, micro-sociology, friends, lovers, family.  ---  8/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Picking the "most important passages" is a big task.  Different people will think different passages are most important.  ---  12/29/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Power of ideas vs. power of communication.  Ex. Some people have weak ideas, but powerful communication.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Prolific authors versus one hit wonders.  ---  9/20/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Question for all styles, authors, works.  (1) Good and bad points.  Pros and cons.  Advantages and disadvantages.  (2) Why important.  How important.  (3) Elements and principles.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  The basic questions of literary criticism are "What is the author saying, or trying to say?", and "How well is he or she saying it?"  The first is a question of interpretation.  The second is a question of evaluation.  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  The language of criticism is similar across the various arts.  For example, movie criticism, music criticism, and literary criticism share numerous concepts.  Many people today have developed concepts and skills in movie criticism that can be transfered to use in literary criticism.  ---  9/8/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  The value or worth of any written statement or group of statements, to any individual, to any society, or to mankind in general, depends on the degree of truth, and the importance of the truth.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Tools for literary analysis.  (1) Questions for any work of art, even if its not literature, for example, music, visual arts, movies, etc.  (2) Questions for any written work, even if its not art literature.  (3) Questions for any work of artistic literature.  ---  9/8/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Traits of bad writing.  Too long.  Too short.  Boring, uninteresting, not compelling.  Unintelligible.  ---  8/16/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Traits of good writing.  Strong and powerful, yet also subtle and sensitive.  Moving, emotionally powerful.  Intellectually powerful.  True.  Enlightening.  Interesting, compelling.  ---  8/16/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Traits of great, good, mediocre, and bad writing.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Two problems.  (1) Some people read too much into stories.  That is, some people see things in a story that are not really there.  (2) Some people read too little into stories.  That is, some people do not see the things that actually are in the story.  ---  12/29/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Two types of criticism.  Criticism of nonfiction.  Criticism of fiction.  ---  10/18/2004

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Two types of writers.  Introvert: what's happening to me.  Extrovert: what's happening to my generation.  ---  01/01/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Types of  literary criticism schools in rough chronological order.  (1) Traditional, Aristotelian.  (2) Neoclassical.  (3) Romantic.  (4) Historical, contextual, comparative vs. isolationist (New Critics, Chicago school).  (5) Psychoanalytic, biographical.  (6) Deconstruction.  ---  08/15/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Types of literary criticism theory. (see also sociology communication language).  Psychological.  Biographical.  Historical.  Marxist.  Economic.  Political.  Social.  Gender and sex (male and feminist criticism).  Racial.  Ethnic.  Age.  Hermeneutics.  Deconstruction.  Author/text/audience.  Interpretation.  Formalism: new criticism.  ---  10/23/1993

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Types of literary criticism.  (1) New criticism: the work alone.  (2) Romantic hermeneutics: the work affected by intent of author and the culture that shaped him (and it).  (3) Post-Heidegger hermeneutics (e.g. Gadamer): the author and work, and its reader or interpreter, are products of a historical psychological and social process.  (4) What happens when two conceptual schemata meet?  ---  01/28/1994

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What is good literature?  (1) Society has a view of what are its most pressing problems, and what are the best solutions to those problems.  Society values works of literature that present the best solutions to the most pressing problems.  (2) The view of what is the most pressing problems and best solutions changes through time as society changes.  Thus, the answer to to the question, "What is good literature?" changes through time.  (3) This view of good literature seems to conflict with the "classic, timeless" view of good literature.  ---  9/12/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What is good literature?  Good literature has universal appeal.  Classics endure through time and space.  ---  9/12/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What is good literature.  (1) Literature can be critiqued on the level of thought and ideas.  Society considers good the literature that present good views on important topics.  (2) Literature also has an emotional component.  Society considers good the literature that has the appropriate emotional response to the issues at hand.  (3) Attitudes are the result of the combination of thought and emotion.  Great literature has great attitudes.  ---  9/12/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What is this work or text about?  ---  9/4/2006

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What subject are they talking about?  What is their attitude (thought plus emotion)?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What's the subject?  What is his view and argument, and what is my view and argument?  What is my view and argument of his views and arguments?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  What's worth reading and not?  Not the great books, stupid!  Logical outlines, history outlines, and importance outlines of great works abstracted.  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Who wrote it?  Why did they write it: for money, for fame, to say something?  How well does it accomplish authors goals, intention?  ---  12/30/1992

Arts, literature, criticism.  ---  Why are people so critical about books?  Because you ingest a book, and before doing so you give the book a good sniff.  ---  1/1/2001

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Paul Nervy Notes. Copyright 1988-2007 by Paul Nervy.