Practical Criticism, Paperback
5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Practical criticism underlies everything students of English literature do.

It is a way of reading the text closely, but with a grasp of the larger issues involved.

This book is a practical, step-by-step guide which shows the student how to gain a sense of what a poem or passage of prose or drama is about, how to analyse it and how to build a successful essay.

Easy to read and uncluttered by technical vocabulary, it will prove an invaluable resource for any student.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 232 pages, further reading
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Writing & editing guides
  • ISBN: 9780333632253



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Wow, a non-fiction book review for once. This book was written by lecturers from my university, John Peck and Martin Coyle. Actually, I think John Peck has retired now, but Martin Coyle is still going strong. I just had him for a first year module, so I know he's brilliant. In his lectures he talks about the ideas they set forth in this book a lot, so it does make a good companion to the course.<br/><br/>It's also generally a good book for getting to grips with practical criticism generally. I feel it's particularly strong on analysis of poetry, although I've also had the benefit of Martin Coyle's lectures on that front. The book offers tips both on how to get hold of a poem and what to do once you have a hold of it, and describes simple ways to write a good, clear, concise essay. There are also examples of essays written by real first year students, with explanations of their strengths and weaknesses.<br/><br/>I also have How To Study A Poet by John Peck, which seems to have much the same kind of advice in it, so I don't think you need to read both. So far, I'd favour Practical Criticism of the two, because of the range of advice it offers, but I haven't finished How To Study A Poet, yet.

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