What is practical criticism

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hunibuni
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#1
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#1
Hi everyone!

I hope this is the right forum to post in! I was reading on the ELAT discussion about some people saying they haven't done much practical crit at school and I was just wondering (probably is a very stupid question!) what is it exactly? I mean, I looked it up on the internet and it just went on about analysing how far the language conforms to a genre and words like allegory, metaphor etc. but that's what we do normally when we analyse texts/poems etc. right? And so practical crit must be different? And are there any particularly good books other people have found helpful for preparing for the ELAT? (on practical crit or other topics).

Thanks for any help!
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tommorris
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#2
Report 14 years ago
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From what I can gather (it is after 1am and I've been busy all day), practical criticism is the development of the skill of being able to do critical analysis on texts (usually poetry) on early readings. The idea as far as I can gather is that it's the way that one can come up with interesting and useful things to say about a piece on first reading - the sort of practical training one might have for, say, writing a review rather than getting in to the academic exercise of theoretical criticism.

The idea behind it is as this article points out to try and look at "the words on the page", as opposed to the author.

Of course, those with theoretical bents may not like it. It's not a bad skill to have though...
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Profesh
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#3
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#3
Criticism that makes use of modern methods, e.g. word-processing; as opposed to impractical criticism, which typically involves typewriters, quills, blunt 6B pencil and vague, expansive gestures accompanied by the phrase "...know what I mean?"
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Laevis
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#4
Report 14 years ago
#4
:rofl: at Profesh.

OP, you were pretty much right first time round. It's the practice of writing a critical analysis of a text you haven't seen before.

The name can be a little misleading as it suggests there can be such an activity as impractical criticism (see Profesh's illustration).

Think of it as close analysis rather than practical criticism :yy:
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hunibuni
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#5
Report Thread starter 14 years ago
#5
Thanks everyone for your help! I was getting quite worried then wondering how this seemingly alien branch of English suddenly managed ot creep in. That's a great article tommorris - rep coming your way. I really appreciate you all taking the time to help!

And profesh, :p:
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thgrbe
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#6
Report 8 years ago
#6
From what I've gathered when writing a Practical Criticism you are only expected to take into account what the words on the page mean, rather than any social context imposed by the era in which it was written as well as by who the author was. Thus you are to focus on how technical devices, form and the theme help shape YOUR perception of what the poem means.
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