The Mirror and the Lamp – Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition by M.H. Abrams

My Reflection Paper on regards to the text entitled “The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition” by M.H. Abrams

As I’ve read “The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition” by M.H. Abrams, is that I find some words very difficult to understand since I am not really knowledgeable enough and does not have any background when it comes to literary criticism, and as I keep on reading it, my mind feels like full of overflowing new ideas and somehow it makes me frustrated that my forehead wrinkled in thinking how to read it thoroughly because it’s too long, honestly. It’s my first time to read this kind of reading material but I could say that the author who writes this book is so amazing, he has a lot of information and understanding bout literature and organizing his points and ideas to clearly emphasize his dispute, all I could say is that he processes so much information. His vocabulary is very wide wherein I find a lot of fresh words that I only encountered when I read this text, this certain words help me to develop my understanding and for me to be able to know a little bit in terms of making any critiques regarding on various literary works. According to what I’ve read, when it comes to the development of Literary theory, there were a lot of romantic writers who have their own style to provide their own innovations just to take account of those various points of view and procedures which make the characteristic differences between traditional criticism and those criticisms of our own time, even those criticisms which recognizes as an anti-romantic were being include too. It was cited also that, this book deals more on enduring or long-term critics of the time, rather than having with those short-term critics that only lasted for a short period of time but gain more influence on the general reading public.  Meanwhile, Abrams as a writer is very admirable, since he put a lot of good thoughts to clearly show his readers what he is trying to tell us, he uses some theories to serve as his foundation to testify his standpoint, overall his writing style is somehow agreeably and very organized.

The title itself according to the book, was used to pinpoint that the mirror and the lamp were the common and antithetic metaphors which being compared for mind, which it likens the mind as to a reflector of external objects while the lamp was being compared to a radiant projector which makes a contribution to the object it perceives. The author was so clever in making thoughts of comparing the mind to a mirror and a lamp, since it really suits it to the whole context and concepts of this book, somehow it serves as my aid to comprehend more why does he make that title like that. For me, he was able to shows that during that time until the Romantics, most of the people thought literature as a mirror wherein it reflects the world through imitation, which literature mimics the happenings and real-life situations done during that time even now, while literature as a lamp serves as the light of every writer to use their talent and passion in writing to brighten or give light also to the whole world to express their selves and use this as their instrument to make a stand for their own good or for everyone’s betterment. 

The book’s content, includes a lot of information about Romanticism, Abram’s offers evidences and proofs about it and those Romantic writers during this time. This book, gives importance and value the Romantic literature especially he used intense metaphor to describe literature. Which is the mirror and the lamp.

Lastly, through reading this book even though I find it difficult to comprehend some of the theories he mentioned and it takes a lot of time and effort for me to provides reflection on this book since I’m indeed a beginner, no doubt that this book was remarkable to everyone who reads it since it provides us enough information about various English literary works, it’s criticism and the beauty behind those lovely and inspiring literary works. I am certain that this book is indeed great as well as the one who wrote it.

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