Literary Approach - Pluralism

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

The Norton Introduction to Poetry: Pluralism

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.

“Many approaches overlap. Pluralists contend that they make use of promising insights or methods wherever they find them and argue that putting together the values of different approaches leads to a fairer and more balanced view of texts and their uses.”

Like any scientific or artistic inquiry, the method used is at an individual's discretion. Rather than asserting that one approach has value over another, a pluralist scrutinizes a text from various angles, even opposing viewpoints, to create a broader perspective than a limited school of thought can accomplish. The result may be enlightening or contradictory, an impression created at the critic's volition.