Which Book Should Someone Read to Broaden their Understanding of Literary Criticism?

    What's one book that you always recommend to someone looking to broaden their understanding of literary criticism?

    Diving into the depths of literary criticism can be a transformative journey, and to guide you, we've gathered recommendations from esteemed academics and creative leaders. From exploring A Room of One's Own to considering the Maus graphic novel, here are the top four books suggested by a Professor of English Philology and a creative director to expand your literary horizons.

    • Explore A Room of One's Own
    • Delve Into Ways of Seeing
    • Reflect with To Kill a Mockingbird
    • Consider the Maus Graphic Novel

    Explore A Room of One's Own

    This essay is based on two papers read by the Arts Society at Newnham in October of 1928. It speaks on the issues of being a woman writer in an academic society, solely defined by men.

    Another good choice is The Invention of the Human by Harold Bloom.

    Elizabeth TroshanoffProfessor of English Philology

    Delve Into Ways of Seeing

    Ways of Seeing by John Berger delves into the visual interpretation of art, but its principles can be applied to literature as well. Berger's exploration of how we perceive and analyze images provides valuable insights into the subjective nature of interpretation, inviting readers to rethink their approach to literature and other forms of art.

    The book encourages a critical examination of the ways cultural and social contexts shape our understanding, making it a thought-provoking and accessible entry point for anyone interested in literary criticism.

    Marissa Sabrina
    Marissa SabrinaCreative Director, LeadLearnLeap

    Reflect with To Kill a Mockingbird

    The novel I have recommended (and read) throughout my life is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Aside from Lee's “smack you in the face” portrait of racial injustice and discrimination in the 1930s American South, she also manages to include themes of moral courage, empathy, and lawyers as champions for justice.

    That the novel tells its story through the eyes of a child increases its impact, as we can only hope and pray that future generations will be better than the ones that came before.

    Mark M. Bello
    Mark M. BelloAttorney/Author, Mark M. Bello Attorney/Author

    Consider the Maus Graphic Novel

    I always recommend individuals looking to broaden their understanding of literary criticism to explore different formats and genres, and one unconventional yet enriching suggestion is to delve into a graphic novel or a comic book. Often overlooked in traditional literary circles, graphic novels offer a unique blend of visual storytelling and narrative depth that can be a breath of fresh air for readers seeking a new perspective.

    One such recommendation is Maus by Art Spiegelman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel that explores the Holocaust through anthropomorphic characters. This not only introduces readers to the power of visual storytelling but also challenges preconceived notions about the scope of literature, fostering a broader and more inclusive approach to literary criticism.

    Brent Moeshlin
    Brent MoeshlinCEO & Founder, Quality Comix