Literary theory and literary criticism are interpretive tools that help us think more deeply and insightfully about the literature that we read. Over time, different schools of literary criticism have developed, each with its own approaches to the act of reading.
Schools of Interpretation
Cambridge School (1920s–1930s): A group of scholars at Read more
Literature constantly evolves as new movements emerge to speak to the concerns of different groups of people and historical periods.
Absurd, literature of the (c. 1930–1970): A movement, primarily in the theater, that responded to the seeming illogicality and purposelessness of human life in works marked by a lack of clear Read more
Figures of Speech
Figures of speech are expressions that stretch words beyond their literal meanings. By connecting or juxtaposing different sounds and thoughts, figures of speech increase the breadth and subtlety of expression.
Alliteration: The repetition of similar sounds, usually consonants, at the beginning of words. For example, Robert Frost’s poem “Out, out—” Read more
A narrative is a sequence of events that a narrator tells in story form. A narrator is a storyteller of any kind, whether the authorial voice in a novel or a friend telling you about last night’s party.
Point of View
The point of view is the perspective that a narrative takes toward the events it describes.
First-person Read more
Allegory: A narrative in which literal meaning corresponds clearly and directly to symbolic meaning. For example, the literal story in John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress—Christian’s journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City—is an allegory for the spiritual journey from sin to holiness.
Anecdote: The brief narration of a single event Read more
Poetry is a literary form characterized by a strong sense of rhythm and meter and an emphasis on the interaction between sound and sense. The study of the elements of poetry is called prosody.
Rhythm and Meter
Rhythm and meter are the building blocks of poetry. Rhythm is the pattern of sound created by the Read more
In the 1970s and 1980s, multinational corporations bought and merged many movie studios, ending the period of artistic experimentation in Hollywood. The industry has returned to financial success and global dominance through the development ofblockbuster franchises, large-scale marketing campaigns, and content aimed at children. It also has placed increasing emphasis on spectacular special Read more
By the 1960s, Hollywood was in decline, unable to keep up with the radical political and cultural developments transforming American society. European films, however, fueled by government funding of film production, achieved unprecedented levels of critical acclaim and box-office success. The sophistication and creativity of these films led to Read more
World War II left the European film industry in ruins, as only Italy’s production facilities avoided devastation. The war also affected American filmmakers and audiences, leading to the production of dark, morally ambiguous and socially critical films in the film noirstyle. As a result of the House Un-American Activities Committee(HUAC) hearings, Read more
The transition from silent to sound films caused great upheaval in the film industry, requiring costly renovation of production facilities and movie theaters, ending the careers of many silent film stars, and making it more difficult to market films abroad. Hollywood took some time to overcome the artistic and technical challenges Read more