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Biographical / Historical Criticism

Biographical / Historical criticism takes its name from where emphasis is placed when trying to understand the true meaning in a work of literature. The word Biographical comes from the emphasis placed on the author, while the word Historical comes from the emphasis placed on an age or era that the author lived in. This is also known as genetic criticism because of the idea that the author and his/her work are the offspring of an age. Studying the age in which an author lived can be helpful in understanding the author’s intention of a work. The purpose of this type of criticism is to be as accurate as possible when trying to locate meaning in literature. To do this Biographical / Historical criticism must ask what the author meant when he/she created it. It is the search for the author’s true intention, if in fact there even was one. This concept is the result of two main influences. The first was a change from the reflection of nature to the reflection or expression of the individual. This concept dominated at the beginning of the 19th century. The author was now seen as an individual and as being unique. The second influence was the idea that each age has different assumptions and different values. This appeared in the 18th century, but didn’t dominate or become accepted or well known until the beginning of the 19th century. An age’s values were now seen as being specific but not timeless. In other words, the age was now individual and unique as well, instead of there being some timeless truth. Another aspect was academic rigor and respectability. Scholarship was concerned with the facts and literary study on an academic level had to be encompassed by history in order to hold any ground at a university. This is why biographical / historical criticism reigned unchallenged in the 19th century. Biographical / Historical criticism is helpful for many reasons. First of all this type of criticism goes right to ...

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Biographical / Historical Criticism. (1969, December 31). In DirectEssays.com. Retrieved 19:44, December 17, 2014, from http://www.megaessays.com/viewpaper/85744.html