How to Write Critical Essays: A Guide for Students of by David B. Pirie

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By David B. Pirie

This worthy publication deals the scholar of literature distinctive recommendation at the complete technique of severe essay writing, from first dealing with the query throughout to generating a good reproduction for ultimate submission to the instructor.

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Extra info for How to Write Critical Essays: A Guide for Students of Literature

Sample text

Observe how its prose-style claims a given personality for its author and constructs one for its reader. There are, for instance, critics who make assumptions about the social class and even the gender of the people who will read their essays. Notice, too, the relative weighting of different stages of the argument and the sequence in which these have been arranged. Observing techniques of style and structure will save you from mistaking one person’s effort for the word of God. It should also give you useful tips as to how you can make your own criticism more persuasive or amusing.

Nevertheless, you can use your own experience as a writer to see that even the most honest attempts at self-expression are shaped not only by the author but by the readers he or she anticipates. Think of the strikingly distinct prose-styles that you use in writing letters. The joky one to an old schoolfriend, where your syntax and vocabulary are designed to show that you still speak the same language, will obviously be quite different from the style in which you try to persuade either a stranger that you deserve a job, or a distant relative that you are grateful for a present.

Of course, if you believe in genius and its magically transforming power, you may want to concentrate upon the originality with which a gifted author deploys that vocabulary. Even this, however, requires some knowledge of what all members of a given social group once defined as sensible or senseless. Only those who have learnt to speak a common language can measure the extent to which some texts put it to uncommon use. Published criticism Some students find that the wider their wanderings among the critics the more they can discover in the text itself.

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