GRE : Reading Comprehension
An important development in the twentieth century literary criticism was the growth of the New Criticism. The New Critics assumed that the methods devised for reading long poems could be applied to novels. In practice, this meant a new emphasis in the reading of fiction on scrupulous textual analysis as a prerequisite for biographical and ideological commend. A novelist’s ideas were now significant mainly as components of his or her writing technique. Insisting on close attention to a text, the New Critics analyzed long passages of a novel and concentrated on discerning the development of symbolic patterns. By analyzing symbols in this way, the critic could show how the meaning of symbol accrued as it was repeated in different passages. This permitted a more complete understanding of the symbol to emerge than that which could be discovered through isolated symbol-hunting. One novelist who benefited from this new emphasis on text was D.H.Lawrence, whose work was rescued from hostile critics who had attacked as mere ideology.
The difficult words in this passage are scrupulous (careful), prerequisite (precondition), components (parts), discerning (carefully identifying) and accrue (add up).
The passage implies that the New Critics would be most likely to agree with which of the following
(A) Critical speculation on the connection between a novelist’s childhood and his or her writing is irrelevant
(B) The most scrupulously complete criticism is that which emphasizes connection between a novelist’s life and his or her writing
(C) A novelist’s life experiences can contribute to an understanding of his or her novels, but treatment of these experiences must be preceded by textual analysis
(D) Information about a novelist’s life can provide important critical insight into his or her novels, but such information should be subordinated to ideological investigation
(E) Biographical criticism that can reveal a developing pattern in a novelist’s is usually preferable to criticism that isolates only key events in that life
The word Biographical
appears only in the third sentence, and this reads, “In practice, this meant a new emphasis in the reading of a fiction on scrupulous textual analysis as a prerequisite for biographical and ideological commend”.
Among the choices, it is (C) which paraphrases this neatly, and is the answer.
GRE : Model Questions Index