Before entering fully into the definition of the term literary criticism, we are going to know the etymological origin of the two words that give it shape:
-Crítica comes from the Greek, exactly from “kritikos”, which, in turn, derives from “krites”, which is the result of the sum of two clearly defined components: the verb “krinein”, which means “to decide”, and the suffix “-tes”, which is used to indicate “agent”.
-Literaria, on the other hand, can be translated as “related to literature” and derives from the Latin “litterarius”, which was used to establish “proper to writing and reading”.
The idea of criticism has several uses. On this occasion we will stay with its meaning as the judgment that is issued regarding a work or a show. Literary, on the other hand, is that which is linked to literature : the art that consists of verbal expression.
- Abbreviationfinder: Find definitions of English word – Literature. Commonly used abbreviations related to word are also included.
Literary criticism, therefore, consists of the evaluative analysis of works of literature (novels, stories, poems, etc.). The concept is usually used with reference to the newspaper article or the media discourse that is carried out on one of these works, highlighting its positive aspects and its negative characteristics according to the opinion of the critic in question.
Linguistics, rhetoric and aesthetics are some of the aspects that literary criticism considers when assessing works. There are literary criticisms based on methodological rigor and others more focused on subjectivity.
It can be said that literary criticism analyzes and exposes: it carries out a study of the characteristics of the texts and then disseminates its successes and failures. The result supposes the positive or negative valuation of the works.
It is important to highlight that literary criticism must substantiate its claims. It is not about arguing that a book is good “just because”, but the critic must develop the reasons that led him to estimate the literary work in this way.
When carrying out a literary criticism, it is necessary to proceed to follow several steps or fundamental advice such as these:
-Of course, it is essential to previously read the entire book that is going to be reviewed.
-In the event that there are prejudices with the work or with its author, they must be openly acknowledged.
-Never be dishonest with the opinion you have after reading the work. Therefore, it must be exposed, but always with respect and without cruelty.
-It is necessary to establish if the story it tells is interesting, if it is original or not, if it manages to “hook” the reader…
-You have to analyze the characters: if they are attractive and convincing, what values they transmit or what sensations they generate in the reader…
-The knot of the story and, of course, the outcome are other fundamental aspects that must be analyzed in the same way in literary criticism.
Throughout history, important writers ventured into the field of literary criticism. Among them we can name the Mexican Alfonso Reyes, the Frenchman Paul Valéry, the Italian Benedetto Croce and the German Walter Benjamin.