New Criticism


: an analytic literary criticism that is marked by concentration on the language, imagery, and emotional or intellectual tensions in literary works
New Critic noun
New Critical adjective

Examples of New Criticism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Read more: The Extreme New Tactic in the Crusade to Ban Books Rosenblatt was pushing back not only against rote learning and the oversimplification of literature in America’s schools, but also against the New Criticism, an approach that was beginning to dominate instruction at the college level. TIME, 6 Oct. 2023 The New Criticism arose at Vanderbilt, in Nashville, where Davidson taught, and nearly all the first generation of New Critics were Southern partisans and Yankee-haters, opponents of secularism, liberalism, and modernity. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, 31 July 2023 First, even when Ozick observes a specific cultural moment fifty years in the past—second-wave feminism; Harold Bloom and the not so New Criticism; the relationship between Black and Jewish writers like Ralph Ellison and Irving Howe—her work is blazingly alive. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'New Criticism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1941, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of New Criticism was in 1941

Dictionary Entries Near New Criticism

Cite this Entry

“New Criticism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jun. 2024.

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