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).


According to the passage, the New Critics considered the ideas found in a novelist’s work to be

(A) equally conductive to treatment in a poetry or fiction

(B) important primarily as aspects of the novelist’s style

(C) ambiguous and therefore stumbling blocks to informed critical judgment

(D) most easily analyzed when embodied in a symbol

(E) open to biographical speculation on the part of a critic


The third sentence says “A novelists ideas were now significant mainly as components of his or her writing technique". By substituting synonyms of the words in this sentence, it can be rewritten as “A novelist’s ideas were now important primarily as aspects of his writing style".

This is what is stated in (B). So, that is the answer.

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