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Glossary of Literary Theory
by Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown

Objective criticism:

A term used to describe a kind of criticism that views the aesthetic object as autonomous and self-contained. Because a work of art contains its purpose within itself (is, in Eliot's phrase, autotelic), analysis and assessment of it can take place only with reference to certain intrinsic criteria -- form, coherence, organic unity (the interdependence of parts and whole). Extrinsic criteria -- poet, audience, sociohistorical context, external reality -- are deemed to be out of order. Objective criticism thus includes the New_Criticism, Neo-Aristotelianism, contextual criticism, and Formalism.

© Greig E. Henderson and Christopher Brown,
University of Toronto
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University of Toronto English Library
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Last modified: March 31, 1997