Literary Approach - Objectivism

The Norton Introduction to Poetry
Editor: J. Paul Hunter, University of Chicago
(Norton & Company, 1999)


The Norton Introduction to Poetry: Objectivism


University of Chicago professor emeritus J. Paul Hunter defines critical approaches to evaluating poetry and prose in this excellent text published by Norton & Company. The book is now in its ninth edition with contributing editors Alison Booth, University of Virginia, and Kelly J. Mays, University of Nevada.

“Objectivist critics believe that a text is an independent object, free from the subjectivity of author and reader.”


An author's ability to write without the influence of emotion and experience requires discipline. A reader's tendency to project philosophical beliefs and to analyze must be restrained. If accomplished, then objectivism is possible, taking interpretive power away from the reviewer. This type of criticism holds value, but remains difficult to implement even among journalists. A writer's words may carry a passionate charge, yet the text is removed from the creator's private world.