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Critical reading outline

Critical reading outline - R Andrew Browns Quick Topics...

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R. Andrew Brown’s Quick Topics Series Critical Reviews A critical review is a careful evaluation of a text, event, object, or phenomenon. Reviews can consider books, articles, entire genres, architecture, art, fashion, restaurants, policies, exhibitions, performances, and many other forms. For a book, as example, a critical review is one in which the writer describes and evaluates the book, in terms of accepted literary and historical standards, and supports this evaluation with evidence from the text. “Critical” refers to close analysis and consideration of a subject under scrutiny; although, many people automatically associate “being critical” as a negative action, it is not. In fact, critical review is necessary for positive refinement of virtually all manner of items, from arts to personal performance. The primary, essential element of a review is that it is a commentary, not a summary: secondarily, it is a descriptive and analytical argument. It allows entering into dialogue and discussion with the subject's owner and with other audiences (such as peers). Continuing the focus on written material, the reviewer offers agreement or disagreement with the novel’s content and message(s), and identifies where the work is exemplary or deficient in contents (such as knowledge, judgments, or organization). The reviewer clearly states his opinion of the work in question, and that statement usually functions as the evaluative thesis (claim). This evaluative thesis becomes foundation for constructing an introduction, which is in turn backed by supporting body paragraphs, and a conclusion. Basic Requirements Simply stated, the reviewer must know two pieces of information to write a critical review: - the work under reviewed and - the requirements of the genre to which the work belongs Knowledge of the work demands not only an attempt to understand the author's purpose and how the components of the work contribute to that purpose, but also some knowledge of the author (fundamental context, such as nationality, time period, other works etc.). Such knowledge is most efficiently achieved by completing a close reading of the text, prior to writing the review itself. Knowledge of the genre means understanding the art form (or established writing conventions of the field) and how it functions. Without such understanding, the reviewer has no historical context nor literary standard upon which to base evaluation. Such is vital for reviews written within academic and professional fields, such as laboratory reports and critical field reports. Essentials of a Critical Book Review Such writing is a description, not a summary, of the book. Sufficient description should be given so that the reader has some understanding of the author's thoughts. This account of the book’s contents can often be woven into critical remarks by exploring a limited number of major threads presented throughout the novel. For fore-thought,
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