What are the features of traditional criticism?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Traditional criticism requires a critic, or analyst, to examine a text in regards to both the author's history and the relevance of the original text to those who read it during the time period it came out. This criticism ignores Reader-Response (how a reader interprets a text) and, instead, focuses upon the author, time period, and text alone. Essentially, traditional criticism places the text back into the period which it came from in order for the reader to better understand the intent of the author.

That said, when examining a text using traditional criticism, one must examine how the life of the author is represented in the text itself. By doing this, one can find how the author's life, ideologies, and the times influenced his or her work. Also, by examining a text this way, one can come to conclude an author's biases towards life, gender, and societal influence.