This book utilises criticism to cover the following: evaluation, explanation, self-expression, and a way of organising the emotions. By evaluation, it means how works are judged; by explanation, it means how they are determined to be genuine, how they are interpreted, glossed, and put into context; by self-expression, it means criticism as a form of autobiography; and by organising the emotions, it means how critics from Aristotle to Freud have thought of literature as a way of channelling feeling and affect. It is sometimes hard to disentangle concepts of criticism from those of literature, so a history of one all too readily becomes a history of the other. The language of criticism is implicated in capitalist economics, which compromises its ability to articulate notions of human autonomy found in literature. Criticism should be an exploration of values as played out in literature, not a method of imposing them on it.
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