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The Critical PulseThirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics$
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Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161152

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.001.0001

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Criticism Is Vital

Criticism Is Vital

(p.202) 28 Criticism Is Vital
The Critical Pulse

David R. Shumway

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents the author's defense of the importance of criticism. He believes that criticism is vital because the world is comprehended most of the time not by means of science or simple experience but through the lens of representations received in the form of what we call art, culture, religion, and entertainment. Criticism increases the pleasure we take in culture, helping us understand the value we as individuals and as a society find in it. Criticism helps us understand how familiar fictional or artistic representations of the world influence our beliefs. It helps us to think about our beliefs in comparison to others. He concludes that criticism and the humanities are more essential to genuine democracy than humanism ever was to the tyranny of Renaissance princes.

Keywords:   criticism, literary critics, academic humanists, humanities, democray

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