Explain the liberal humanism approach to analyzing a poem in layman's terms.

Asked on by kojo324

1 Answer | Add Yours

jgeertz's profile pic

jgeertz | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted on

Liberal humanism is a literary theory that was popular at the end of the 1800's and beginning 1900's. Liberal humanism understands literature/poetry to be timeless. It must reveal a constant or universal truth about humanity. Also, it contains meaning without regard to other works. Liberal humanists analyze the text of a poem with no predetermined ideas or bias. Therefore a Marxist or Feminist could not in fairness call themselves a liberal humanist. Liberal humanists attempt to understand the individual's identity by excluding environmental circumstances. Additionally, the content of a poem is seen as a product of form, e.g. e.e. cummings' poems are a product of his artistic style. Finally, liberal humanists view poetry and literature as an artistic celebration that elevates humanity.


In order to analyze a poem using the liberal humanism approach, follow these guidelines:

1. find the poem's universal truth

2. analyze the text with no bias

3. look for the individual's identity

4. understand that content follows form


We’ve answered 319,822 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question