Bedford/St. Martin's virtuaLit Interactive Fiction Tutorial Notebook VIEW SEND
Fiction in Depth Approaches and Contexts
Select a StoryElements of FictionCultural ContextsCritical Approaches
Feminist Criticism
The New Historicism
Psychoanalytic Criticism
Reader-Response Criticism
Marxist Criticism
The New Criticism
Postcolonial Criticism

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
Supriya M. Ray
Margaret Wald

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