Discuss subjectivity and objectivity and its examples

The terms subjective and objective were imported into England from the post-Kantian German critics of the late 18th c.

Subjectivity, when applied to writing, suggests that the writer is primarily concerned with conveying personal experience and feeling – as in autobiography or in fiction which is thinly concealed autobiography. Examples are James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Samuel Butler’s The Way of All Flesh, and Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel.

Objectivity suggests that the writer is ‘outside’ of and detached from what he is writing about, has expelled himself from it, is writing about other people rather than about himself, and by so doing is exercising what Keats called “negative capability”, and preserving what is described as “aesthetic distance”. The novels of Henry James and, to a certain extent, the poems of Philip Larkin show marked objectivity.

In fact, any writer of any merit is simultaneously subjective and objective. He is subjectively engrossed in his work and the quality and intensity of his personal vision will be dictated in a subjective way. At the same time, he must be removed from and in control of his material. Thus he is involved in a paradoxical activity: an intellectually creative balancing act in which invention and judgement coalesce or co-ordinate to achieve and preserve equilibrium.

Also read: A short note on the concept “Subtext” or What is Subtext?

Also read; Discuss the term “Carpe-diem”