Turn on thread page Beta
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    EDIT: with the response lacking, remov'd the passage is.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Oh what a great idea, thank you! I would write something meaningful but at the moment I have a cold and I'm off school ill so I'm not in my most insightful mood.
    Offline

    12
    ReputationRep:
    Good God, that looks like work!
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    I know how practical criticism basically works but would it help your analysis if you made suggestions as to what the era the poem belongs to could be, or other contextual things like whether the poet was male or female, what sort of events might they be referring to? I mean to ask about any poem that you might have to criticise like this. I have never properly done prac.crit. and just trying to see what the rules are. Does anyone actually have the "unseen" poem part in their a-level exams anymore? I know OCR scrapped it, which is sad I think as I think more students should know how to do it.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    yeh, anything like that could help. particularly at interviews, questions regarding when it was possibly written, and who possibly by.

    that kind of stuff could allow you to put the themes into context - i.e. if you read a poem and it's about war, the problem is that there have been many wars throughout history. if you noticed it was written in heroic couplets, you could (possibly, but maybe wrongly) say that it's a simialr style to Pope, and perhaps form the early-mid 18th century. it's not always the case, but it can be sometimes. likewise, if you saw 14 lines and language seeming archaic enough, you could say that it was perhaps written a hundred or so years earlier. obviously, poets will try to revive older forms and for "stylish" purposes or to get random points across, but yes - trying to work out the author who wrote it and when it could have been written can help.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by silence)
    yeh, anything like that could help. particularly at interviews, questions regarding when it was possibly written, and who possibly by.

    that kind of stuff could allow you to put the themes into context - i.e. if you read a poem and it's about war, the problem is that there have been many wars throughout history. if you noticed it was written in heroic couplets, you could (possibly, but maybe wrongly) say that it's a simialr style to Pope, and perhaps form the early-mid 18th century. it's not always the case, but it can be sometimes. likewise, if you saw 14 lines and language seeming archaic enough, you could say that it was perhaps written a hundred or so years earlier. obviously, poets will try to revive older forms and for "stylish" purposes or to get random points across, but yes - trying to work out the author who wrote it and when it could have been written can help.
    Woah... I so can't do that I'm so bad at dating things!!
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    Maybe I've just got this all completely wrong but I thought the point of Practical Criticism was not to take time into consideration? Help! Confused now lol.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Lady Raven)
    Maybe I've just got this all completely wrong but I thought the point of Practical Criticism was not to take time into consideration? Help! Confused now lol.
    Does anyone actually have the "unseen" poem part in their a-level exams anymore? I know OCR scrapped it, which is sad I think as I think more students should know how to do it.

    Yeah, we haven't been told anything about what this "unseen" part consists of, but it will be in my exam, Edexcel. I agree, and think that it's excellent to include.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by The Lady Raven)
    Maybe I've just got this all completely wrong but I thought the point of Practical Criticism was not to take time into consideration? Help! Confused now lol.
    i suppose you are right to an extent, maybe to quite a great one for that matter. but i think that at interviews, you can get asked things like "who you think wrote it", "when it was written", and looking at stylistic aspects particular to a certain time/canon/author can help there. but being asked to do that wouldn't necessarily be practical criticism.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    Wow, that sounds difficult. Is there anywhere with a cheat sheet type creation detailing what styles fit what period/authors etc? I have a VERY vague idea, but something like that would help if it exists.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    it's such a broad spectrum, but i'd prepared to put something together and post it up on here? i.e. how to possibly identify a sonnet's writer by it's rhyme scheme, certain writers' traits when writing.. it could be a good and/or bad idea.
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    That sounds amazing, but are you sure you have enough time? I don't want to put you out...
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    i've got some time. i'll work at something over the next few days and get it up.
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by supercat)
    Wow, that sounds difficult. Is there anywhere with a cheat sheet type creation detailing what styles fit what period/authors etc? I have a VERY vague idea, but something like that would help if it exists.
    Dudes! Practical criticism is about concentrating on the language - WHAT the poem is saying and HOW. It is not an opportunity for you to try and impress the reader/ interviewer with your amazing and broad knowledge of different periods - if you waffle on about how this might be by shakespeare and thus the sonnet might be dedicated to a man instead of the traditional object of affection, a woman, you will just look like you can't read closely.

    reading texts and trying to infer something from them about their context (ie. who wrote it and when and whether their boyfriend was going through a particularly down period cos he just got sacked) is from a v old hat school of criticism which isn't really going to impress anybody. if you are worried that there may be a specific reference that is really obtuse and you couldn't possibly understand the poem without it - don't worry. a) no one would give you a poem like that or b) they would understand if you didn't understand that reference and c) it may be a test of whether you can do close reading with even that sort of obstacle.

    and lastly, cross referencing is interesting, ie. this is similar/ v different to so and so; but only if you don't go overboard (eg. this poem is about love. lots of other people have written about love....) and b) you have something interesting to say about the work you are comparing it to.

    hope this helps. it was what i was taught as gospel at school, and whenever i have followed this thinking for my close reading based essays, i have done well; when i haven't and pontificated about the period etc i've done badly.

    practical criticism - criticise the text in front of you.
    • Thread Starter
    Offline

    2
    ReputationRep:
    perhaps, but if, for example, you notice something like an uneven iambic pentameter in a sonnet, wyatt might spring to mind and you wouldn't be stupid if saying something about that. and although practical criticism is fra from any approach of historicism, it doesn't have to entirely formalist.
    Offline

    1
    ReputationRep:
    reading texts and trying to infer something from them about their context (ie. who wrote it and when and whether their boyfriend was going through a particularly down period cos he just got sacked) is from a v old hat school of criticism which isn't really going to impress anybody.
    I think you're confusing the issue here. Firstly, practical criticism *is* a very old school of criticism. It dates from the 1920s!

    Secondly, 'practical criticism' refers to a very particular school of thought - whereby originally the whole point was precisely not to judge the work based on 'background' knowledge about the author, but simply to judge it from the words on the page. The whole point was *not* to be historicist about it.

    That said, it *is* relevant to make a stab at guessing period - but the idea is absolutely not one of getting it 'right'. If you think a poem is like another that you know, then that's a worthwhile piece of linguistic analysis. You may get the period wholly wrong, but as long as you've backed up your assertions of period it's still a valid comment.

    For those of you worried about what practical criticism is. There is an excellent summary here.

    The Cambridge website also has a Virtual Classroom which has an online 'class' in prac crit. I recommend...
    Offline

    0
    ReputationRep:
    thanks for clearing that up! i was just trying to reassure those who don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of literature that they do have something to offer in terms of doing a close reading of a text given to them in interview or exams. in terms of -isms, i would tend towards a mixture of new criticism's concetration on the text, and reader-response criticism's acknowledgement of the reader creating the text through the act of reading (although i know they are in conflict with each other). i just find historicism really weak, and offputting.

    it would be a bit odd not to note period - it just isn't a particularly good idea to base your whole response on how the text is similar to other texts of the period/ dissimilar/ conforms to expectations etc.
 
 
 
Reply
Submit reply
Turn on thread page Beta
Updated: November 28, 2005

University open days

  • University of East Anglia
    UEA Mini Open Day Undergraduate
    Fri, 23 Nov '18
  • Norwich University of the Arts
    Undergraduate Open Days Undergraduate
    Fri, 23 Nov '18
  • Edge Hill University
    All Faculties Undergraduate
    Sat, 24 Nov '18
Poll
Black Friday: Yay or Nay?

The Student Room, Get Revising and Marked by Teachers are trading names of The Student Room Group Ltd.

Register Number: 04666380 (England and Wales), VAT No. 806 8067 22 Registered Office: International House, Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XE

Write a reply...
Reply
Hide
Reputation gems: You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.