Thus Criticks, of less Judgment than Caprice,
Curious, not Knowing, not exact, but nice,
Form short Ideas; and offend in Arts
(As most in Manners) by a Love to Parts.
Whoever thinks a faultless Piece to see,
Thinks what ne'er was, nor is, nor e'er shall be.
In ev'ry Work regard the Writer's End,
Since none can compass more than they Intend;
And if the Means be just, the Conduct true,
Applause, in spite of trivial Faults, is due.
As Men of Breeding, sometimes Men of Wit,
T' avoid great Errors, must the less commit,
Neglect the Rules each Verbal Critick lays,
For not to know some Trifles, is a Praise.
Most Criticks, fond of some subservient Art,
Still make the Whole depend upon a Part,
They talk of Principles, but Notions prize,
And All to one lov'd Folly Sacrifice.
When considering the work of Emily Dickinson, psychoanalytic criticism comes into play with the role of explaining the many meanings behind her poetry, as to make the reader relate to such poetry on a deeper level or not to who she was as a human being....
Social criticism is the practice of analyzing a literary work by examining the cultural, political and economical context in which it was written or received.
Some ne'er advance a Judgment of their own,
But catch the spreading Notion of the Town;
They reason and conclude by Precedent,
And own stale Nonsense which they ne'er invent.
Some judge of Authors' Names, not Works, and then
Nor praise nor blame the Writings, but the Men.
Of all this Servile Herd the worst is He
That in proud Dulness joins with Quality,
A constant Critick at the Great-man's Board,
To fetch and carry Nonsense for my Lord.
What woful stuff this Madrigal wou'd be,
To some starv'd Hackny Sonneteer, or me?
But let a Lord once own the happy Lines,
How the Wit brightens! How the Style refines!
Before his sacred Name flies ev'ry Fault,
And each exalted Stanza teems with Thought!
Magill, Frank N., Critical Survey of Long Fiction, English Language Series, Revised Edition and Critical Survey of Long Fiction, Foreign Language Series
These two series have short biographical and in-depth critical essays on major authors and their works. Each essay also includes a brief annotated bibliography of further readings.
Magill, Frank N., Masterplots: 2010 Plot Stories and Essay Reviews from the World's Fine Literature, Revised Edition
Plot synopses and brief critical evaluations of major works of international literature.
There are lots of series which include plot synopses and basic criticism of famous novels. Frank Magill's Masterplots and Critical Surveys are reasonably reliable and most articles are written by scholars. Other sources, like Cliff's Notes, are sometimes also written by scholars, but be sure and check to see that the author has good credentials (for example, a master's degree or PhD in literature).
This site offers biographical and critical essays on a range of authors from Medieval, Renaissance, and seventeenth century Europe. The essays themselves are written by a variety of people, many of whom are scholars in their field. The amount of documentation (bibliographies, footnotes, etc.) varies between essays.
In this essay, Wagner draws attention to the complexity of Plath's poetry in Ariel which, as the critic notes, invokes archetypal imagery and the paradoxical portrayal of suffering as survival to create depth of feeling and insight.
Absolutely, most critics have adapted psychoanalytic literary criticism theory based upon the works of psychoanalysis by famous psychologists Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, and Jacques Lacan to literary works....
While most criticisms focus on individual characters, a more insightful criticism of the true nature of Hamlet can be drawn simply by analyzing the key relationships in play....
"The text of the project is divided into five sections, and each has an introductory page that can be accessed from the title page. Each section is then broken down into subtopics that include excerpts from both primary and secondary (critical) texts."
But you who seek to give and merit Fame,
And justly bear a Critick's noble Name,
Be sure your self and your own Reach to know.
How far your Genius, Taste, and Learning go;
Launch not beyond your Depth, but be discreet,
And mark that Point where Sense and Dulness meet.