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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Philippine poet and National Artist nominee CIRILO F. BAUTISTA wrote the Introduction to my Aesthetics of Literature. A lot of what he said then, he could still say now because I intended the book to remain fundamental. Before I outline the contents of this book so one can appreciate it as an educational technology, let me mention what Dr. Bautista’s estimate of the book was when it was published at the De La Salle University where we both taught in the 70’s.

The Aesthetics of Literature is both necessary and timely.

Necessary, for in the context of the curricular offerings in the College of Liberal Arts of De La Salle, the book will answer the need, so long unattended, for a comprehensive and practical text on the literary disciplines. Consequently, the students will be better equipped to relate art theories with actual art practice, and to test these theories by the application of aesthetic norms and principles. A look at the table of contents reveals the sequential tactics by which this can be achieved, with appendices that are important in the valuative analyses of the formal elements of fiction and poetry.”

Table of Contents

A Polemical Introduction

Argument for the Relevance of Literature, 5; Literature as a Humanistic Discipline, 9; the Rationale of Literature courses and Studies, 12; The Concept of Literary Appreciation, 15; Fundamental Ideas of Arts and Aesthetics, 24; Notes on the terms used in the Discussions, 29; Guide Questions for the Appreciation of Poetry, 47; Guide Questions for the Appreciation of Fiction (Short Story, Novel, and Drama), 57. Chart 1: Appreciation of the Different fine Arts, 41.

Chapter One: The concept of analysis in an Empirically-Based Appreciation of Literature, 59

Sensory-Impressionistic Level of Analysis, 67; Cognitive Level of Analysis, 73; The Associative Level of Analysis, 82; Poems for analysis, 109: (Carlos Angeles, 109; Cirilo Bautista, 110; Edith Tiempo, 111; Albert B. Casuga, 112; T.S. Eliot, 113; W. H. Auden, 112-113; Rita Gadi, 114; e.e. cummings, 115; Jose Garcia Villa, 116.

Chapter Two: The Concept of Criticism in an Empirically-Based Appreciation of Literature, 117

Nature of Formal and Technical (Empirical) Criticism, 119; Determining the Artistic Purpose, 125; The Nature and Elements of Style, 128; The Nature and Elements of Technique, 137; (Elements of Style Discussed: Use of language—diction, figures, symbols, linguistic devices, and selected details of objectification—in fiction. Elements of Technique in fiction: Point of view (with norms of qualified point of view); Order and Arrangement of actions in the Plot (with norms); Characterization (types, methods, qualities of functional characterization); Scale (arrangement of episodes, length of expository and narrative structures); and Other Techniques. Practicum, 157.

Criticism of Poetry, 185; Style, 190; Symbols, 195; Linguistic Devices, 197; Verbal, 198; Literary Devices, 203; Technique, 211; Selected Structural Parts, 211; Scale, 213; Order, 217;

Appendix A – Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, 225; Literary Trends that Influence Criticism (Realism, Naturalism, Impressionism, Stream-of-Consciousness, and Surrealism) 237.

Chapter Three: The Concept of Evaluation in an Empirically-Based Appreciation of Literature, 259

The Universal values, 265; The formal Values, 272; The Personal Values, and Approaches, 273: The Moral Approach, Sociological, Psychological, Philosophical, and Archetypal approaches, 275; Practicum for Poetry, 279; Practicum for the short Story, 316; Practicum for the Novel, 307; Practicum for the Drama, 327.

Chapter Four: Towards A Relevant Appreciation of Philippine Literature, 337.

Bibliography, 373.

Selected Bibliography for further reading, 376

Aesthetics, 376; Literary Criticism, 376; Poetry, 378; Fiction, 382; The short Story, 383; The Novel, 383; Drama, 386; Suggested Textbooks, 388.

Index of Authors, Titles, and Terms, 390

Essays Included (Illustrative Essays)

Edith Tiempo: The Flaming Heart by E.O. Constantino, 279
After the Quiver, Silence: The Poetry of G. Burce Bunao by Albert B. Casuga, 295
A Red-Blooded Literature by Salvador Lopez, 305
The Finitude of Our Watch: A Criticism of The Bamboo Dancers by Leonard Casper, 307
Bittter Country: An Illusion of Movement by Albert B. Casuga, 316
A Different Breed of Dog (On Calleja’s The Return) by Luis Teodoro Jr., 327

The Aesthetics of Literature is out of print, so this author may be reproducing these chapters in this blog or other websites. The author is also in the process of rewriting the book to include criticism of current literary trends.

Dr. Isagani R. Cruz wrote a chapter on this book in his Beyond Futility (a book on Philippine Literary Criticism and its directions.) --ALBERT B. CASUGA

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