Different approaches to literary critisism, speculations on Susan Sontag's theory.

Essay by narayanaUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, June 2003

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Different approaches to literary criticism and my point of view on this matter.

Following the main idea of the indentation from the " Handbook of critical approaches to literature" I may assert that there is a disagreement among critics not only about the subject of inquiry but also about the whole purpose of critical activity. It is here that debates can become especially acrimonious. In particular, there is disagreement about the proper relation between the critic and interpretation, and consequently about the descriptive nature of the critical enterprise.

The two critics described believe that literary criticism is growing increasingly destructive towards the very works of art that they, supposedly, so greatly "appreciate" and "respect". To some extent I agree with Susan Sontag, who, takes a very interesting critical standpoint on the idea of literary interpretation. From her conclusions I can assert that our task is not to find the maximum amount of content in a work of art, much less to squeeze more content out of the work than is already there.

Our task is to cut back content so that we can see the thing at all.

But reading her work generates numerous questions, the most important of which is quite possibly, "How are we to take her final statement, 'In place of a hermeneutics we need an erotics of art.' ?"

First when I read this statement and tried to interpret it I gave in to despair, but then an idea struck my mind, according to Sontag, no work of art, especially literature, can escape the surgical eye of the modern critic, therefore, nothing would stop her own work from coming under this blade of criticism, so it might have been Sontag's preparation for this criticism in the inclusion of her final statement. I personally didn't...