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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

Biographical criticism is a method which uses personal data about the author in order to understand better his works. Biographical criticism assumes that life has influence on the literary work of the author. Knowing facts from his life can give readers and critics a better understanding of his works. A life of an author may reflect literary tendencies of his era. Knowing about the epoch, during which the author lived and worked, the readers may better understand certain words, allusions, themes and characters from his works. In addition, we can get an idea about the audience to which the author wrote his books. This also may be very useful for better understanding of the literary works. In addition, many authors include autobiographical information, inner thoughts and feelings in their works.

That is why knowing about their lives may add to understanding of their literary works. On the other hand, there are possible counterparts in the use of this approach. In some cases the readers who know the biography of the author expect to meet some autobiographical information in his works and get disappointed when do not meet these correlations. On the other hand, biographical information can interfere sometimes with the perception of the literary work. Sometimes readers make stronger accent on the biographical data and miss literary value of the work the read.

In order to escape these possible problems it is necessary to make the difference between the author’s life and his work. Biographical data should be used only in order to expand the vision of his literary work. In this case biographical criticism becomes a useful method which helps to get a better understanding of literary works.

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