Monday, April 28, 2014

What does all of this mean today?

Michael Martin hits the nail on the head in his article "Taking on Being: Getting Beyond Postmodern Criticism".

The entire concept of literary criticism is rather disgusting as it is thought of today.
It's judgmental. It's rather rude. Or it can be.

Martin, a critic himself, states that "My immediate inclination is to blame criticism's parasitic nature: That
it lives at the expense of another, or, more properly, "the other". But at best this is only a partial truth"
(Martin 71).

He then tries to define a term with no agreed upon definition: Postmodernism-
"Postmodernism is not a system of thought, not a philosophy, not a world view,  but an attitude"
(Martin 72).

Martin believes that postmodernism and the postmodern habit of literary criticism is fragmented, uncertain and ironic, much like the way Plato felt about art.

Once again, the same questions that Plato and Aristotle pondered are still being asked today.

The only thing that has changed is the time period and the art form that is being questioned.

Now, a lot of art and literature is digital. This not only changes the way we think and the kind of art that is produced, it changes the kind of criticism. Analysis of works and critiques are more easily completed because the works are more widely and readily available to the masses. Everyone is a critic.

Martin notes that Postmodernism's treatment of literature is quite disturbing, although depressingly accurate:

"The sad thing about this is that the people thus heroically scrutinizing and pimple squeezing, especially many of those in college and university literature departments, started out for the most part as kids who indeed wanted to forge the uncreated consciences of their races. They were kids who loved books and writers. Now they're grown-ups who deconstruct tests and believe the "author" is fiction's greatest fiction"
(Martin 75).

Human nature, emotion, the failure of the "American Dream", the desire for more, the urge to rise above adversity, and the negativity we feel towards people who wrote things we can not write. These plague modern literary criticism. Judgement, jealousy, inadequacies, failing education systems, pop culture, materialism, pollution, and a disconnect between man and nature.

What a depressing list.
But it's just a few of the problems present in today's society, which thus contaminates literature and the criticism thereof.

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