• Stages of Literary Criticism

    The four stages of literary criticism according to M. H. Abrams are as follows:
    1. Mimetic Stage:
        Art + Universe.
        Locates literary work in the nature it copies.
        Poem seen as imitation.
    Exhibits itself in Classical (5th Century BC) thinkers like Plato and Aristotle.
    2. Didactic/Pragmatic Stage:
        Art + Audience.
        Locates literary work in the audience it finds.
        Poem seen in the moral message it leaves the reader.
    Exhibits itself in Renaissance (16th/17th Century) thinkers like Sir Philip Sidney.
    3. Expressive Stage:
        Art + Artist.
        Locates literary work in the author.
        Poem seen as an expression of the author's thoughts.
    Exhibits itself in Romantic (19th Century) thinkers like William Wordsworth.
    4. Formal Stage:
        Art alone.
        Locates literary work in its own verbal structure.
        Poem seen as an object.
    Exhibits itself in Modern thinkers like Henry James.