Literary criticisms are scholarly interpretations of literature, including fiction and poetry. Literary criticisms can be found in books and essays, frequently published in academic journals, especially those dedicated to literature, but can also be found in such popular journals as the New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, and The New Yorker magazine.
Literary criticisms are as old as books themselves. Aristotle’s Poetics is often considered to be one of the first instances of literary criticism. Other works by Plato, Horace, St. Augustine, Dante and Boccaccio, exist through the ancient and medieval history of writing.
In the 19th century, the Romantic Movement held that literature itself could elevate a common subject into the realm of the sublime. In America, even Edgar Allan Poe was known for literary criticism in his career, including his non-fiction work The Poetic Principle.
In the later 20th century, several different academic schools of literary criticism emerged at universities. Literary criticism has moved into such subgenres as film, media, and even comic books.
Literary criticisms are not without their critics. Vladimir Nabokov, author of Lolita, claimed that very few people pick up any novel with the intent of indulging in academic generalizations, preferring instead simply to read for enjoyment.