This chapter asks the question of what aesthetic and hermeneutic principles guide literary criticism in this day and age. The chapter thus provides an evaluation of two ruling methodologies of the era: the historical methodology and the formalist methodology—or the schools of culture studies and deconstruction. The chapter goes on to discuss their weaknesses and how they neglect the aesthetic dimension and unique value of literature. The chapter also asks the question of what are the standards and criteria for good art—a question that critics often ask of literature but also one that does not add value to literary criticism. The question that should be asked, therefore, is what critics and the general public indirectly value as great art. The chapter suggests three criteria. First, is the process of a work's production (the author's gender, race, or class). The second is the worth of an idea, characterized by its truth in the real world. The third is to give female and minorities models to follow.
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