Literary Criticism Questions and Answers (PDF)

National University honours 4th year English Literature Department suggestion. honours 4th year literary criticism questions and answers pdf suggestion and question answers. Subject : Literary Criticism, Code : 241115.

literary criticism questions and answers pdf

Part-A : Brief Question with Answer
The Study of Poetry

1. What kind of writing is ‘The Study of Poetry’?
Ans. ‘The Study of Poetry’ a critical writing.

2. What was the occasion of writing this critical essay?
Ans. On the request of T.H. Ward, the publisher of English Poets, an anthology, Arnold wrote this critical writing as a general introduction.

3. Why does Arnold say that ‘the future of poetry is immense’?
Ans. Because, the poetry worthy of its high destinies will offer man spiritual satisfaction in every crisis in future.

4. What is meant by ‘illusion’?
Ans. It means something which does not creates momentary and false impression.

5. What is the difference between ‘idea’ and ‘illusion’?
Ans. Idea is a thought in the mind and exists in reality but illusion is something which does not exist in reality. Idea may be vague but illusion is false.

The Metaphysical Poets

1. Who was T.S. Eliot?
Ans. T.S. Eliot was one of the greatest poets, critics, and dramatists of the 20th century.

2. How does Eliot characterise the work of the seventeenth century?
Ans. Eliot characterizes the poetical work of the seventeenth century as ‘more often named than read, and more often read than profitably studied.’

3. What is Eliot’s brief comment on Grierson’s anthology?
Ans. About Grierson’s anthology Eliot comments that it is a ‘piece of criticism, and a provocation of criticism.’

4. How does Eliot brand Grierson’s ‘Metaphysical Poetry’?
Ans. Eliot brands it as a so-called school of poetry or a movement.

5. What is, according to Eliot, extremely difficult about the metaphysical poetry?
Ans. According to Eliot it is extremely difficult to define metaphysical poetry, and to decide what poets practice it and in which of their verses.

Introduction to Culture and Imperialism

1. What was the result of Said’s research on culture and empire?
Ans. The result of Said’s research on culture and empire was a series of lectures delivered by him at different universities in the United States, Canada and England during the years 1985 and 1986.

2. What does Orientalism mainly deal with?
Ans. Orientalism mainly deals with the affairs of the Middle East.

3. What is Robinson Crusoe about?
Ans. Robinson Crusoe, a modern realistic novel of Daniel Defoe is about a European who establishes a domain of a feudal lord on a distant non-European island.

4. What does Said say about the recent criticism?
Ans. Said says that though much of recent criticism has directed to narrative fiction, its position in the history and imperial world has remained ignored.

5. What did inspire the Americans and the Europeans to fight for equality?
Ans. The grand narratives of emancipation and their protagonists inspired many Europeans and Americans to fight for new narratives of equality and human community.

The Rise of English

1. What kind of writing is ‘The Rise of English’?
Ans. ‘The Rise of English’ is an essay which is the first chapter after introduction in Terry Eagleton’s famous book Literary Theory: An Introduction published in 1983.

2. What did the word literature mean in the eighteenth century?
Ans. In the eighteenth century, literature meant the whole body of valued writing in society: philosophy, history, essays and letters as well as poems. It had to conform to certain standards of ‘polite letters’.

3. What kind of writing was not counted as literature in the eighteenth century?
Ans. Writings such as a street ballad, a popular romance, and even the drama were not counted as literature in the eighteenth century.

4. What did the didactic literature of the eighteenth century include?
Ans. The didactic literature of the eighteenth century included ideological institutions such as periodicals, coffee house, social and aesthetic treatises, sermons, classical translations, guidebooks to manners and morals.

5. When did literature in the modern sense emerge?
Ans. Literature, in the modern sense, really emerged around the nineteenth century during the Romantic period.

Part B : Short Questions
The Study of Poetry

1. What are the limitations of Victorian criticism?
2. Describe in short the different estimates or methods enunciated by Arnold?
3. What is touchstone method?
4. How does Arnold describe the 18th century literature or poetry?
5. Why does Arnold call the 18th century an age of prose and reason?

The Metaphysical Poets

1. How does Eliot refute Johnson’s remark about the metaphysical poets that ‘the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together’?
2. What are the influences of Milton and Dryden on the poets of the later ages?
3. How did Eliot assess Johnson as a critic of the metaphysical poets?
4. How does Eliot distinguish between ‘the unification of sensibility’ and ‘the dissociation of sensibility’?
5. Make a comparison between the Metaphysical poets and the Modern poets?

Introduction to Culture and Imperialism

1. How, according to Edward Said, culture serve as an instrument of imperialism?
2. Why does Edward Said admire Joseph Conrad?
3. Why does Edward Said call his Culture and Imperialism an ‘exile’s book’?
4. Trace after Edward Said the relationship between the novel and the Western Empire?
5. What are Said’s main concerns of writing Culture and Imperialism?

The Rise of English

1. What, according to Eagleton, was the literary background of the eighteenth century England?
2. What is Eagleton’s attitude to romanticism?
3. How did the development of English help British Imperialism flourish in the 19th Century and onwards?
4. Why was Scrutiny project an absurd movement in context of ‘The Rise of English’?
5. In what ways did literature serve as a substitute for religion in the Victorian period?


1. The future of poetry is immense, because in poetry where it is worthy of its high destinies, our race, as time goes on, will find an ever surer and surer stay.
2. But for poetry the idea is everything; the rest is a world of illusion, of divine illusion. Poetry attaches its emotion to the idea, the idea is fact. The strongest part of our religion to-day is its unconscious poetry.
3. In poetry, as a criticism of life under the conditions fixed for such a criticism by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty, the spirit of our race will find, we have said, as time goes on and as other helps fail, its consolation and stay.
4. In the seventeenth century a dissociation of sensibility set in, from which we have never recovered.
5. But a degree of heterogeneity of material compelled into unity by the operation of the poet’s mind is omnipresent in poetry.

Short Notes

1. Victorian Criticism
2. Geoffrey Chaucer
3. Donne
4. Colonial Discourse Theory
5. Post-colonial Theory
6. Neoclassicism
7. Romanticism
8. New Criticism
9. The Historical Method or Estimate
10. Metaphysical Poets
11. Abraham Cowley
12. Milton
13. Johnson
14. Hegemony
15. Contrapuntal Reading

Part C : Broad Questions
The Study of Poetry

1. ‘Poetry is the criticism of life, governed by the laws of poetic truth and poetic beauty.’ -Discuss. / Do you agree with Matthew Arnold that poetry is the criticism of life? Give reasons for your answer.
2. Discuss Mathew Arnold’s views on characteristics of good poetry. / What, according to Matthew Arnold, are the functions of poetry? How far are they acceptable?
3. What does Arnold expect from a classic? Examine Arnold’s assessment of Chaucer. Do you agree with his evaluation of Chaucer?
4. Critically analyse Arnold’s assessment of the poetry written in the 17th and 18th centuries in England. / How does Arnold evaluate Dryden, Pope, Gray and Burns? Do you agree with him?

The Metaphysical Poets

1. Why does T.S. Eliot praise Donne’s ability to unify the intellectual thoughts and sensation of feeling?
2. How does Eliot refute Johnson’s remark on the poet whom he classified as metaphysical?
3. What does Eliot mean by ‘Dissociation of sensibility’? Discuss.
4. How does Eliot distinguish between ‘unification of sensibility’ and ‘dissociation of sensibility’ in The Metaphysical Poets?
5. What method does Eliot suggest for the assessment of the poets wrongly called the metaphysicals by Johnson? What would such method lead to?

Introduction to Culture and Imperialism

1. Discuss the role of the English novels in perpetuating imperial rule.
2. What nature of Western Imperialism is highlighted by Edward Said in his ‘Introduction to Culture and Imperialism’?
3. What made Said write his book Culture and Imperialism?
4. What is the influence of post-colonialism on Edward Said?
5. How does Edward Said show culture as an instrument of imperialism?

The Rise of English

1. Discuss, after Eagleton, how the ‘Rise of English’ is connected with the growth and consolidation of Imperialism.
2. Discuss the prose style of Terry Eagleton with reference to ‘The Rise of English’.
3. Bring out how Eagleton links the rise of English to the crisis in modern civilization.
4. Discuss the evolution of English from the 18th century to the present with reference to Terry Eagleton’s The Rise of English.
5. Discuss after Terry Eagleton ‘The Rise of English’ as an academic discipline.

Answer Sheet

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