Critical approaches to literature reveal how or why a particular work is constructed and what its social and cultural implications are. Understanding critical perspectives will help you to see and appreciate a literary work as a multilayered construct of meaning. Reading literary criticism will inspire you to reread, rethink, and respond. Soon you will be a full participant in an endless and enriching conversation about literature.

For definitions of critical approaches, click on one of the choices to the left. Accompanying many of the definitions are essays demonstrating how to write about a poem from that particular critical approach.

Contributing authors:
Andrea Kaston, Eastern Michigan University
Michelle Ephraim, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Ross Murfin, Southern Methodist University
Supryia M. Ray
Margaret Wald


Bedford/St. Martin's | Order a Book | Instructor Registration | Contact Us | Contact Your Sales Representative