Many of you would be interested in reading novels, poems, short stories, nano tales etcetera and somewhere you must have judged it. Well, it’s human nature to pass our judgment on any theory or art or literally anything existing in this world but the judgment or criticism should be in a positive way. So our today’s subject matter is about How To Consider a Poem Or Story ?
While reading a novel or listening to a poem we often find ourselves in favor of our personal feelings during judging. There may be some novels that you read that are not popular but still, they manage to leave a deep imprint on your heart. May be some works are popular but still, you are not even 1% interested in reading that. You can be influenced by your personal feelings or writer’s background but you know, this is not the correct way to judge(while being biased).
So, what is the correct way? How should we appraise?
First of all, I’ll be talking about the type of judgments that we pass and you know one thing, this theory was given by MATTHEW ARNOLD, who was a well-known poet and cultural critic of the 19th century. In his most famous piece of literary criticism The Study Of Poetry, he explained the theory of judgment.
Although this theory was only given for judging poetry in my point of view you can use it in judging any work. So, basically, we can divide our judgment into three sections:
1) Personal Estimate :
The personal estimate depends on your personal taste, your likes, and dislikes. Arnold says that our personal likings and circumstances have great potential to sway our estimate.
Let’s just suppose, you are scrolling Instagram or youtube and you find a poem or tale which will be so much relatable to you. Now, what will happen? You will definitely love the work much more than you should, right?
2) Historic Estimate :
The second one, a historic estimate depends on the historical background of the author or work. It deals with the writer’s past or the events that happened while writing the work. We may easily consider their work of more importance than in reality it is while affected by a writer’s background. The historic estimate is likely to affect our judgment when we deal with the ancient poets. It affects our judgment while dealing with the ancient poets or ancient works.
This type of estimate is also fallacious.
3) Real Estimate :
This type of interpretation is non-biased. When you estimate any work without being influenced by any other factor, it is the Real estimate.
Now the question is, how should we interpret the work correctly just like the Real estimate?
So, Arnold gave the TOUCHSTONE METHOD for this. The touchstone method helps you to understand the difference between good and poor literary work. It compares one work to another best work in the same genre. According to the Touchstone method:
- First of all, you should select some of the best lines from well-known poetry or any other work.
- Then compare it to the work of another writer.
- Define and evaluate various aspects.
- And pass the judgment, that’s all.
Here, Arnold considers Shakespeare, Homer, Milton, and Dante as touchstones in the field of poetry. The thing which should be noted is the lines which you will be comparing may be different, but there will be one thing in common in them, The Very highest work quality.
Often interpreting the work while being influenced by our own personal feelings is the most common fallacy in judging but by using the Touchstone method you can get rid of this habit.