top of page
MEG-05: Literary Criticism and Theory

MEG-05: Literary Criticism and Theory

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2022-23

If you are looking for MEG-05 IGNOU Solved Assignment solution for the subject Literary Criticism and Theory, you have come to the right place. MEG-05 solution on this page applies to 2022-23 session students studying in MEG, PGDWI, PGDBLT, PGDNOV, PGDWM, PGDAML, PGDNLEG courses of IGNOU.

Looking to download all solved assignment PDFs for your course together?

MEG-05 Solved Assignment Solution by Gyaniversity

Assignment Solution

Assignment Code: MEG-05 / TMA / 2022-23

Course Code: MEG-05

Assignment Name: Literary Criticism & Theory

Year: 2022 -2023

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Answer all questions.


Q 1. Discuss Aristotle's view of literature as imitation. 20

Ans) The idea that Aristotle had about literature being imitation. The art of word imitation is extremely significant in literature. As part of his defence of poetry, which is now known as Aristotle's concept or theory of imitation, Aristotle provided an explanation of the meaning of this word. Even though he was not the first person to use this word, he is the first person to redefine the meanings of its components. Before Aristotle, the term "imitation" was frequently used interchangeably with "copy of copy." The first time that word was ever used was by Plato. He held the significant viewpoint that poetry was a shadow of a shadow, meaning that it was twice as removed from reality as reality itself.


Aristotle provided a response to Plato and defended poets against the charge. He gave new meaning to several idioms and phrases. Even though Aristotle viewed literature as a form of imitation, the overall concept of idea and copy remained the same. To put it another way, Aristotle believed the world was created from an idea, and that the world itself was a copy of the idea. He also agreed that a poet imitated reality or nature, but he clarified that the definition of the word "imitation" does not mean a straightforward copy. He did not differentiate between reality and poetry in his mind at all.


According to Aristotle, the process of imitation can be considered creative. Instead of comparing poetry to painting, he does so with music. According to what he has said, poetry has a soothing quality, much like the sound of a flute that is rich in harmony. As a result, it would be inappropriate to compare poets to painters and poetry to painting. According to Aristotle, furthermore, a poet does not present things as they are, but rather endows them with his or her imagination. As a result, writing poetry is not simply a matter of observing the world around you and putting your observations into words; rather, a poet reimagines the world around him using his experiences and his imagination.


History and Imitation Vs Reality

If emulating someone else's style is the same as copying their facts, then there is no room for originality in poetry. As was mentioned earlier, Aristotle contends that a poet shows men acting in their natural environments. He portrays men in the light of who they were, who they are now, or who they should be. If men are portrayed exactly as they are, devoid of any mixture of imagination and the power to create, then what is being presented is not poetry but history. The creative process is what sets poetry apart from history. It's possible for a historian to write about the anguish and suffering that humans have endured throughout history, but their writing won't necessarily be emotional. To transform mundane and straightforward occurrences into extraordinary happenings that result in "catharsis," one needs a powerful power of imagination. It is only through Aristotle's reinterpretation of the term "imitation" that poetry can achieve its full potential as an art form.


The conclusion that can be drawn from the discussion up to this point is that Aristotle supported the poets in their efforts to compose poetry. He breathes fresh life into the meaning of the word "imitation." Aristotle, in his book titled "Poetics," was able to successfully refute the accusations that Plato had made against the poets. Imitation, according to Aristotle's concept and theory of it, is not simply a matter of copying things but rather a creative process that calls for a high level of imaginative capacity on the part of the imitator. As a result, this cannot be considered the same as duplicating things. It is the process of constructing something extraordinary out of mundane elements with the assistance of a sharp imagination. A poet, therefore, brings things closer to reality through imitation rather than taking them twice as far away from reality as they were before.


Q 2. What do Wordsworth and Coleridge have to say on poetic diction. 20

Ans) Wordsworth himself is subject to criticism. Coleridge is the first critic to criticise his views in "Preface to the Lyrical Ditties." He is especially critical of his argument for lyrical diction and his defence of metre. He exposes numerous flaws in Wordsworth's proposal. Addresses of a named and purified language by Wordsworth Coleridge contends that similar types of language would be indistinguishable from the language of any other firm men. There would be no distinction between the rustic language and the language used by common men in their daily lives after a similar selection.


Again, Wordsworth allows the use of metre to infer a specific order and arrangement of words. As a result, Coleridge concludes that there is and should be a fundamental difference between prose and rhythmic composition. Metre heals the entire atmosphere, and poetry's language is bound to differ from prose's. The use of metre, like the use of lyrical diction, is artificial. However, if one is permitted, it is absurd to forbid the use of the other. Both provide inversely good lyrical pleasure.


Wordsworth's views on the use of common language irritate Coleridge. He claims that the views are only applicable in certain circumstances. Again, when the rustic language is cleansed of its crassness and oddities, it is nearly identical to the language used by any other class of men. Similarly, Coleridge believes that the language of the countrymen would be too limited to provide adequate diction for the expression of various gests. He also chastised the Preface for the unnecessary obscurity of its final half. The diction used is also overly elaborate and constrained.


Coleridge once again rejects the notion that the stylish corridors of our language are derived from nature. Abstract nouns and generalities are the fashionable words. These are derived from the mind's reflective acts. This reflection deepens as man progresses beyond the so-called primitive state. As man has progressed in his studies, he has acquired new ideas and generalities that cannot be expressed using rustic language, which is primitive and undeveloped. However, if the minstrel wishes to use rustic language, he must also imagine himself as a countryman. The countrymen's language is strangely affordable. It would be returning the timepiece. Regression would be preferable to progression.


Coleridge challenges Wordsworth's assessment of Gray's sonnet. He also quotes extensively from Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen. He demonstrates that the language used in them is far from ordinary. This is not a language that would be used in prose. Coleridge also claims that Wordsworth's overemphasis on his lyrical style was a reaction to the garish pretensions of the kind of style that was popular in poetry in the 18th century.


The flaws in Wordsworth's proposal are similar. It must also be acknowledged that he did not adhere to his proposition in practise. His poetry frequently employs reversed and lyrical constructions. His vocabulary is not always drawn from rural life. He does not always speak in the language of real Cumberland men. In his "Tintern Abbey," "Eternity Ode," and "The Prelude," he does not put his own proposition into practise. The language of the runes is not common man's language. As a result, his propositions are frequently inconsistent with his practise or simply shy as a proposition.


Sull, Wordsworth's lyrical diction proposition is significant and far-reaching. However, it is riddled with inconsistencies and limitations. Wordsworth also fails to keep it in his own runes. As a result, Preface to the Lyrical Ditties is weak in argument and clumsy in expression. Coleridge severely criticises Wordsworth's proposal of lyrical diction. His assessment isn't entirely correct. We can all agree that there is a distinction to be made between prose and poetry language. At the same time, we must respect Wordsworth's lyrical diction proposition.


Q 3. Write short notes on the following: 4 x 5 = 20

Q3. a) Catharsis

Ans) The profoundly affecting emotional response that a tragedy elicits in its audience is known as a catharsis. Catharsis is the release of pent-up emotions felt by an audience because of experiencing an emotionally taxing event, such as watching a tragic drama. The goal of the dramatic device known as catharsis is to provide viewers with a sense of release or purging of pent-up feelings that have been accumulating throughout the course of a drama. In most stories, this sort of cleansing takes place after the protagonist has been through a significant tragedy or setback of some kind. This tragic event is typically something that the audience can relate to on some level, such as death or the passing of a loved one.


It's possible that you've had a cathartic experience if you've ever found yourself crying to release pent-up feelings. It means purging oneself of unfavourable feelings and thoughts. It has the potential to result in both the easing of tension and the instillation of a sense of renewal. Experiencing catharsis typically entails letting go of one's history to make room for new beginnings.


  1. In psychology, catharsis means a release of often-repressed emotions that leaves you feeling calmer.

  2. In drama, catharsis refers to the impact art forms like tragedy and comedy make on the audience.

  3. In general use, catharsis can also mean an emotional moment that brings clarity.


Catharsis is a word with Greek roots. Directly translated, it means cleansing or purifying. It’s easy to see how this is a metaphor for emotional cleansing.


Catharsis Literary Definition

Poetics was the first place where Aristotle discussed the concept of catharsis as it relates to literature. In particular, he discussed Greek tragedy and the impact it had on the audience.

"Tragedy, then, is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude; in language embellished with each kind of artistic ornament, the several kinds being found in separate parts of the play; in the form of action, not of narrative; through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation [catharsis] of these emotions," says Aristotle. "In other words, tragedy is an imitation of an action that is serious, complete, and of a certain magnitude


The concept of catharsis is critical to the study of literature. It provides a psychological release of the emotional tension that has been building up throughout the course of the storey or play. Tears are one form that this kind of emotional release can take, but it's also possible for it to happen without any obvious outward display.


Q3. (b) Auchitya

Ans) The origin of the word Auchitya can be traced back to Sanskrit. It refers to justification, proper conduct, and decent behaviour. In this context propriety can be understood to refer to the specifics or rules of behaviour that are generally accepted to be correct. Or that which is right, acceptable, and suited to the situation. The word "appropriate" can also be translated from the Hindi word "Uchit," which is included in the word "auchitya."


Harmony is one definition of aucitya, and one interpretation of this concept is proportion between the whole and the parts, as well as between the primary and the secondary. The morals and beauty of art are all summed up in this proportion. Aucitya is mentioned by nearly all the aestheticians, including Bhamaha, Dandin, Lollata, Rudrata, and Abhinava Gupta. Anandavardhana did not make use of this term because it was not in common usage during his time period.


Kshemendra: In his book titled Auchutiya Vichar Charcha, he was the one who first mentioned Auchitya. Kshemendra was born in the region of Kashmir that is known today as Kashmir. He is considered to be one of the most talented poets to write in Sanskrit during the 11th century. Kshemendra was one of Abhinavgupta's students, and Abhinavgupta was a well-known philosopher and poet.


Anandavardhana asserts that Rasa or Rasa-dhwani is the "essence" of poetry. [Citation needed] The most important component of rasa is known as aucitya. The derivation of rasa requires the Aucitya of character and action, which are both essential components. There is nothing that is as detrimental to rasa as anauchitya or improper conduct. The most important component of rasa is aucitya, also known as propriety. The author of Kavya-mimamsa, Rajasekhara, discusses Anucitya in the context of poetic culture and leaning, and he concludes that all poetic culture is nothing more than the discrimination between the appropriate and the inappropriate or Ucita and Anucita.  Abhinava Gupta bases his aesthetic position on the three pillars that make up the tripod: Rasa, Dhwani, and Aucitya.



Emotions are an integral part of humans. Many times, words are not sufficient to describe everything. This is where Auchitya comes into the picture enabling the writers/authors to silently nudge the readers towards the direction they want us to stir in.


Q3. (c) Superstructure

Ans) Karl Marx, a sociology founder, linked base and superstructure. Base is the materials and resources that produce society's goods. All social aspects are superstructure. Culture, ideology, norms, and identities form society's superstructure. Social institutions, political structure, and the state are also included. Marx said the superstructure grows from the base and reflects ruling-class interests. The superstructure defends elite power by justifying the base's operations. Base nor superstructure are natural or static. Both are social creations resulting from people's social interactions. Marx said the superstructure was entirely man-made, unlike the base, which was largely natural (inanimate and animate). Superstructure interprets, explains, and justifies the distribution of social surplus, while base manifests men and women planned collective labour. As people fight for survival in the base, they become aware of its nature (superstructure).


Law as Superstructure

Modern law, like the modern state, is part of the "superstructure" and is structurally rooted in the capitalist mode of production, i.e., the "base." Law is given superstructural status in the theory of historical materialism, which is an application of dialectical materialism to social relations. Marx defined the economic structure of society as "the totality of these production relations, the real basis from which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond specific forms of social consciousness."


Marx insists in many of his writings that the ideologies of law and the state are products or reflections of the material conditions of society.


The Political Superstructure

Marx gave the political realm of human existence a prominent place. Politics, he believes, is the primary arena in which people fight for change. Political formations such as parties play such an important role in the life of a society that each formation is expected to project the viewpoint of a specific class and mobilise masses on its behalf. Marx and later radical thinkers assigned the political superstructure supremacy because it acts directly on the base to transform its functioning. Politics has the most sense of immediacy and urgency because it is completely present-centered and contemporary. Indeed, it is politics that gives philosophy, ideology, religious beliefs, culture, and literature an activist edge.


The Religious Superstructure

It may appear strange that the divine and Godly aspects have a tangible link with the social structure, that historical and universal-appearing religious principles have deep roots in their respective societies. These principles forge concrete connections with the societies in which they exist and play a distinct role. They have an impact on change and can change or strengthen people's opinions. Without a doubt, religion appears to be placed far above people's mundane existence and appears to guide them from a distant spiritual position. It would be fascinating to study religious principles from this perspective, where the norms and ideas underlying people's general spiritual responses reflect a plethora of facets of a historical social belief.


The religious superstructure has two distinct ends: the first touching on ordinary people's emotional-spiritual states, and the second compelling religious thinkers, poets, and writers to correlate new responses to the already established Marxist View of spirituality and religiosity.


Q3. (d) 'Pleasure' and 'instruction' as ends of literature

Ans) Classical ideas include 'pleasure' and 'instruction' in their respective senses. Their relationship with the written word has a long and illustrious history that can be traced all the way back to antiquity. According to Aristotle's Poetics, one of the earliest and most influential works of literary theory, the purpose of tragedy is catharsis, also known as the emancipation of the audience's mind through the viewing experience. This psychological redemption is accomplished by first arousing, and then purging the audience of, intense fear and pity; it is from this business of arousal and purification that the audience derives the true tragic pleasure. In addition, what makes a tragedy enjoyable for the audience is not only the poet's flawless technique of imitation, also known as the "reproduction of objects with minute fidelity," but also the audience's recognition of the model that is being imitated. As a result, Aristotle's theory of tragedy places an emphasis on enjoyment rather than morality or education.


In this way, Longinus demonstrates that ecstasy is superior to both persuasion and pleasure. He contends that even though one can exercise control over their reasoning in terms of what to admit and what to deny, the ecstasy-inducing force that is exerted by the sublime cannot be resisted. It is comparable to a lightning strike that disperses everything in its path with a single blow. Additionally, even though he acknowledges in section seven that "the beautiful and genuine effects of sublimity... please always, and please all," Longinus simply undermines the concept of "pleasure." The explanation for this is that "when writers try hard to please or to be exquisite, they fall into affectation." True sublimity bestows upon us something far in excess of simple pleasure; rather, it induces in us a state of ecstasy or rapture. It "lifts us up" to the point where "uplifted with a sense of proud possession, we are filled with joyful pride, as if we had ourselves produced the very thing we have heard," which describes how we feel when we are "elevated" by something.


Q 4. What does I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism? 20

Ans) Practical criticism is, like the formal study of English literature itself, a relatively young discipline. It began in the 1920s with a series of experiments by the Cambridge critic I.A. Richards. He gave poems to students without any information about who wrote them or when they were written. In Practical Criticism of 1929 he reported on and analysed the results of his experiments. The objective of his work was to encourage students to concentrate on ‘the words on the page’, rather than relying on preconceived or received beliefs about a text.


For Richards this form of close analysis of anonymous poems was ultimately intended to have psychological benefits for the students: by responding to all the currents of emotion and meaning in the poems and passages of prose which they read the students were to achieve what Richards called an ‘organised response’. This meant that they would clarify the various currents of thought in the poem and achieve a corresponding clarification of their own emotions. I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism.


In the work of Richards’ most influential student, William Empson, practical criticism provided the basis for an entire critical method. In Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930) Empson developed his undergraduate essays for Richards into a study of the complex and multiple meanings of poems. His work had a profound impact on a critical movement known as the ‘New Criticism’, the exponents of which tended to see poems as elaborate structures of complex meanings. New Critics would usually pay relatively little attention to the historical setting of the works which they analysed, treating literature as a sphere of activity of its own. In the work of F.R. Leavis the close analysis of texts became a moral activity, in which a critic would bring the whole of his sensibility to bear on a literary text and test its sincerity and moral seriousness. I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism.


Practical criticism today is more usually treated as an ancillary skill rather than the foundation of a critical method. It is a part of many examinations in literature at almost all levels and is used to test students’ responsiveness to what they read, as well as their knowledge of verse forms and of the technical language for describing the way poems create their effects. I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism. The process of reading a poem in clinical isolation from historical processes also can mean that literature is treated as a sphere of activity which is separate from economic or social conditions, or from the life of its author. I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism.


Practical Criticism

Richard’s influence rests primarily on his Practical Criticism (1929) which is based on his experiments conducted in Cambridge in which he distributed poems, stripped of all evidence of authorship and period, to his pupils and asked them to comment on them. He analyses factors responsible for misreading of poems. Even a “reputable scholar” is vulnerable to these problems.

  1. First is the difficulty of making out the plain sense of poetry. A large proportion of average-to-good readers of poetry simply fail to understand it.  They fail to make out its prose sense, it’s plain, overt meaning. They misapprehend its feeling, its tone, and its intention. Parallel to the difficulties of interpreting the meaning are the difficulties of sensuous apprehension. Words have a movement and may have a rhythm even when read silently. Many a reader of poetry cannot naturally perceive this.

  2. There are difficulties presented by imagery, principally visual imagery, in poetic reading. Images aroused in one mind may not be like the ones stirred by the same line of poetry in another, and both may have nothing to do with the images that existed in the poet’s mind.

  3. Then comes the persuasive influence of mnemonic irrelevancies i.e., the intrusion of private and personal associations.

  4. Another is the critical trap called stock responses, based on privately established judgments. These happen when a poem seems to involve views and emotions already fully prepared in the reader’s mind.

  5. Sentimentality, i.e., excessive emotions

  6. Inhibition, i.e., hardness of heart are also perils to understanding poetry.

  7. Doctrinal adhesions present another troublesome problem. The views and beliefs about the world contained in poetry could become a fertile source of confusion and erratic judgment.

  8. Technical presuppositions too can pose a difficulty. When something has once been done in a certain fashion, we tend to expect similar things to be done in the future in the same fashion and are disappointed or do not recognise them if they are done differently. This is to judge poetry from outside by technical details. We put means before ends.

  9. Finally, general critical preconceptions resulting from theories about its nature and value come between the reader and the poem. I. A. Richards talk about in Practical Criticism.


Q 5. Comment on Lacan's main contribution to critical theory. 20

Ans) Lacan made a significant leap after describing the Mirror Stage. He proposed that the child's false perception of self in the mirror is typical of one of the three registers, or orders, through which humans experience the world. He dubbed the first register "Imaginary," referring to the word image rather than "imagination" or "imagining." The "imaginary" register is the world of sensations—visual, olfactory, auditory, and tactile—that we use to compare ourselves to others. When we first meet a patient, or anyone else for that matter, our first impression is recorded in the "imaginary register." We are, after all, "judging a book by its cover."


Symptoms and speech

In his Studies on Hysteria, Freud made a strong link between symptoms and speech in 1895. Lacan went even further, describing symptoms as "words trapped in the body." This isn't as strange as it appears. We all believe that when patients talk to us and their words leave their mouths and bodies, it contributes to them feeling better and making positive changes in their lives over time.


Lacan even claims, "We are our words, not the other way around." We do not speak our words; rather, the words we speak define who we are. That is a novel idea! And yet, as soon as we speak, we are misunderstood by the listener, because we all attach our own individual meanings to the words we use, which will always be more or less different from how the listener understands them. "Language is meant to be misunderstood," said Jacques Lacan. Much of psychotherapy involves asking our patients to clarify and elaborate on what they have just told us so that we can gain a better understanding of what they are thinking.


The symbolic register

In the 1950s, Lacan proposed the concept of the "symbolic register," which includes language, culture, laws, traditions, rituals, and religion. When we are born, this symbolic register awaits us. Our parents frequently choose a name for us, we learn our family's language, we participate in our family's traditions and rituals, and so on. Our future has frequently been mapped out for us. It's no coincidence that the children of musicians, doctors, and even morticians frequently follow in their parents' footsteps.


The symbolic register is increasingly coexisting with the imaginary register. In another example from Introducing Lacan, a mother tells her child, who is being held up in front of a mirror, "You have grandma's eyes," "You look exactly like your father," and so on. With what it has absorbed through the symbolic register, the child will later identify with, rebel against, or do some of both.


One of Lacan's therapeutic goals was to assist the patient in gradually shifting from the imaginary to the symbolic register. "I look forward to a day when people will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character," Martin Luther King, Jr. said.


The real register

Lacan identified a third register of human existence, the "real," in 1953. Whereas the imaginary is the world of immediate sensory perceptions and the symbolic is based on language and gives meaning to everything around us, the real is everything else that is meaningless. "The real is all that cannot be symbolised and is excluded from the symbolic and imaginary registers," says Lacan.


A baby who has not yet acquired words or language is entirely in the real register before and shortly after birth. The baby has begun to participate in the symbolic register that "makes a cut in the real" as soon as it learns to say "mama" and other signifiers.


When we speak, there is always much more that is left unsaid, and what is left unsaid and unsymbolized exists in reality. Patients with advanced Alzheimer's disease, for whom words have mostly lost their meaning, are increasingly living in the register of the real.


Lacan’s diagnostic categories

Following Freud, Lacan had three major diagnostic categories: (1) Neurosis, which he divided into Obsessive and Hysteric personalities; (2) Perversion; and (3) Psychosis. For Lacan, all DSM V categories collapse into these three major categories of diagnosis.


A quote by Jacques Lacan came to mind: "The patient knows everything, and the analyst knows nothing," which means that a patient's conflicts exist entirely within his or her own unconscious and not in the therapist's mind. As a result, I informed the patient that I couldn't advise her because only she knew the answer to this question. She immediately expressed relief from the self-destructive thought she had been entertaining.

100% Verified solved assignments from ₹ 40  written in our own words so that you get the best marks!
Learn More

Don't have time to write your assignment neatly? Get it written by experts and get free home delivery

Learn More

Get Guidebooks and Help books to pass your exams easily. Get home delivery or download instantly!

Learn More

Download IGNOU's official study material combined into a single PDF file absolutely free!

Learn More

Download latest Assignment Question Papers for free in PDF format at the click of a button!

Learn More

Download Previous year Question Papers for reference and Exam Preparation for free!

Learn More

Download Premium PDF

Assignment Question Papers

Which Year / Session to Write?

Get Handwritten Assignments

bottom of page