the role of a critic in defining a piece of art

Essay by arshpreetA, November 2014

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Submitted to Dr. Surbhi Goel

Submitted by Arshpreet Kaur

MA 1 Roll no:14


I take this opportunity is to express my profound gratitude and deep regards to my Professor Dr. Surbhi Goel for her exemplary guidance and constant encouragement.

"Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters, stationed at the corners of newspapers and reviews, to challenge every new author."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

These are the great minds at work sifting the grain from the chaff, like the beacons of light in the dark alleys and parched valleys, seldom looked down upon with contempt and seldom looked up to with admiration. "Critics are sentinels in the grand army of letters" shouldering the heavy responsibility of evaluation, interpretation and reasoned consideration of the work of art." They view the world through a critical lens gauging every possible facet of the subject in hand.

Criticism is not a recent trend. Literary criticism has probably existed for as long as literature. In the 4th century BC Aristotle wrote the "POETICS", a typology and description of literary forms with many specific criticisms of contemporary works of art. Plato's attacks on poetry as imitative, secondary, and false were formative as well. Around the same time, Bharta Muni, in his "NATYA SHASTRA", wrote literary criticism on ancient Indian literature and Sanskrit drama. Socrates, who was a Greek philosopher, his way of life, character, and thought exerted a profound influence on ancient and modern philosophy. Socrates "Apology" was the first milestone in the history of criticism.

When Socrates was explaining to his judges how it was that he had made himself so unpopular, he told them of his investigations into the wisdom of those whom the world reputed to be wise.