Classical and Medevial Literature Criticism

When Aristotle wrote Poetics in the fourth century BCE, he effectively created the field of literary criticism. With this work, Aristotle provided detailed descriptions of literary form and critiques of specific works of art. This essentially gave life to the concepts of mimesis and catharsis, which are still considered pillars within the field of literary studies today.

Later, the study of classical and medieval literature through critical responses expanded to works by writers of all sorts, including poets, playwrights, chroniclers, philosophers, religious figures, and writers from every region of the world. It includes ancient literary criticism, classical criticism, and medieval criticism, allowing for an enthralling introduction to the elements that make this field of study so fascinating and provocative.

Though often focused on religious texts, these later explorations of classical and medieval literature criticism typically focused on the hermeneutics and other religious aspects of writing when studying a secular text. This can be seen quite clearly in the prevailing literary traditions at work within Islamic, Jewish, and Christian literature.

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Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism Resources

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  • Essential Literary Genres: Classic Literature, 1st Edition

    Essential Literary Genres: Classic Literature, 1st Edition

    Essential Library   |   2017   |   ISBN-13: 9781624023019

    This title examines the genre of classic literature in Pride and PrejudiceThe Book ThiefThe Joy Luck ClubBrave New World, and The Handmaid's Tale. It features four analysis papers that consider classic literature, each using different critical lenses, writing techniques, or aspects of the genre. Critical thinking questions, sidebars highlighting and explaining each thesis and argument, and other possible approaches for analysis help students understand the mechanics of essay writing. Features include a glossary, references, websites, source notes, and an index. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards.

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  • Classical Authors: 500 BCE to 1100 CE, 1st Edition

    Classical Authors: 500 BCE to 1100 CE, 1st Edition

    Britannica Digital Learning   |   2014   |   ISBN-13: 9781622750047

    Since ancient times, storytelling has been a valued art form that enables traditions, beliefs, and lessons to be transmitted from one generation to the next. Epics such as Homer’s Odyssey and Virgil’s Aeneid and tales such as those contained in the collected The Thousand and One Nights offer modern-day readers a glimpse into various countries and cultures, as well as different eras. The individuals and works profiled in this absorbing volume have withstood the test of time, remaining culturally significant and influencing authors and readers alike for centuries.

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  • Reading Women in Late Medieval Europe: Anne of Bohemia and Chaucer's Female Audience, 1st Edition

    Reading Women in Late Medieval Europe: Anne of Bohemia and Chaucer's Female Audience, 1st Edition

    Palgrave MacMillan   |   2015   |   ISBN-13: 9781137542601

    Geoffrey Chaucer has traditionally been seen as indebted to the great male writers of medieval Europe: Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Guillaume de Machaut. However, little has been written about the European woman who was Queen of England and Chaucer’s possible patron: Anne of Bohemia, daughter of Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV and wife of Richard II. Although Chaucer explicitly compliments the queen in his work, scholars have been reluctant or unable to engage seriously with the question of her role in Chaucer's oeuvre. This book shows that Anne came from a long line of highly educated and multilingual royal women. The book rereads some of the famous stories from the Canterbury Tales alongside contemporaneous works in Czech, German, and Latin—languages with which the queen was familiar. Alfred Thomas argues that even if she did not commission any of his works, Chaucer seems to have been writing for Anne as an imagined reader and this awareness shaped the way he wrote and what he chose to write.

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