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How does New Criticism approach critique a poem?

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The New Critical approach to criticism arose in the early part of the twentieth century, starting around 1930 and associated with a journal called Scrutiny. The crucial focus of New Criticism is the text or words of the poem. Before New Criticism, the old criticism focused  the biography of the author and the sources that influenced the author's work. In biographical criticism, people asked, how does what we know about the life of the author inform the poem we are reading? In source studies, people would ask, what poems or other literature did the writer read that influenced how he wrote the poem? Is she imitating another poem or poetic style?

New Criticism thrusts all that aside and asks "How can we interpret the poem solely based on the words in the poem?" What if we knew absolutely nothing about the life of the poet or what he read? What meaning could we construct if all we had were the words on the page?

Therefore, New Criticism focuses on the words in the poem. How does the poet use language: Does he use similes or metaphors? Does he or she use vivid images? Does he or she use irony? What is the theme of the poem? What is the subject? What is the setting? What are the characters like? All of these are what the New Critic examines, or as the name of the journal Scrutiny suggests, scrutinizes deeply. 

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