The Function of Literary Criticism Essay

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Literary criticism is a hard study to grasp because of the numerous explanations that must make sense for the critic’s view to be comprehensible to readers. Understanding the role of the critic is vital. The critic is second most important aspect, next to the author and the work itself. In this course, we have read many critics, that all have valid points. The critic’s prospective is the second most important element of literary criticism, next to the author and the work itself. In this course, we have read many critics’ opinions who all have valid points. The critics are what make the works understandable sometimes. Most, if not all, of the critics have particularly interesting ideas on the purpose of the critic. The materials in this …show more content…
The essay “The Function of Criticism at the Present Time” he outlines the strong feelings that he has against the critical power, he believes “everybody, too, would be willing to admit, as a general proposition, that the critical faculty is lower than the inventive,” with that being said, one derives from the statement his true feelings toward the critic (Arnold 696). Even though, Arnold later discusses the requirements one should possess to be a true critic, the main thing he must possess is curiosity, “But criticism, real criticism, is essentially the exercise of this very quality” (702). Curiosity is a taboo virtue to possess in the American culture, at times, while in many other cultures it is seen as a great attribute to have. Arnold even agrees with the notion that the word “has in our language no sense of the kind, no sense but a rather bad and disparaging one” (702). The idea that the word curiosity has a negative connation speaks volumes of his innate feelings toward the critic’s opinion. It seems his negative idea of curiosity stems from the danger of lurking too hard. He also argues the idea of free play, which the critic must have. We discussed in class what free play actually consists of, which is one must permit the material to flow freely through the mind in order to have a precise or non-biased point of view.
However, now that the idea of free play is known, Arnold introduces the concept of

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