The Chicago School of literary criticism was a form of criticism of English literature begun at the University of Chicago in the 1930s, which lasted until the 1950s. It was also called Neo-Aristotelianism, due to its strong emphasis on Aristotle's concepts of plot, character and genre. It was partly a reaction to New Criticism, a then highly popular form of literary criticism, which the Chicago critics accused of being too subjective and placing too much importance on irony and figurative language. They aimed instead for total objectivity and a strong classical basis of evidence for criticism. The New Critics regarded the language and poetic diction as most important, but the Chicago School considered such things merely the building material of poetry. Like Aristotle, they valued the structure or form of a literary work as a whole, rather than the complexities of the language. Despite this, the Chicago School is considered by some to be a part of the New Criticism movement.
Ronald Salmon Crane (1886–1967) is considered the founder of the Chicago Aristotelians. He began teaching at the University of Chicago in 1924, was made a professor in 1925, and chaired the English department there from 1935–1947. In 1935, he wrote “History versus Criticism in the Study of Literature” (published in English Journal 24 :645-67), in which he defined literary criticism as “simply the disciplined consideration, at once analytical and evaluative, of literary works as works of art.” Crane was greatly influenced by Richard McKeon, a professor of philosophy at the University, who stressed Aristotle's idea of "pluralism," which says that many systems of criticism are necessary to completely understand literature, specifically poetry, or in the case of philosophy, the world. Crane said that “the only rational ground for adhering to one [form of criticism] rather than to any of the others is its superior capacity to give us the special kind of understanding and evaluation of literature we want to get, at least for the time being.”
The question for the Chicago School (as it was for Aristotle) was always what the purpose of the theory of criticism was, what hypotheses were brought to bear by the theory about the nature of literature (for instance, whether it consisted of the words alone, or whether it was to be thought of as part of a larger context such as an era or an artist's life), and the definitions of words (such as the definition of tragedy or comedy).
The Chicago School claimed not to preclude other theories of criticism. It did, however, criticize those who were not clear or consistent about the initial hypotheses and definitions behind their theories. It thus appeared to many of the proponents of those theories that the Chicago School was claiming that theirs was the only good and effective approach to literature. For this reason, they were considered by some critics (including W.K. Wimsatt, whose essay "The Chicago Critics" is a critical assessment of their work) to be hypocritical, although they would vehemently deny this.
Many of the ideas of the Chicago School are thought to have come out of the reorganization of undergraduate education at the University of Chicago by Robert Maynard Hutchins, then President there. He placed great importance on primary sources and interdisciplinary studies for all students. Crane and his colleagues were forced to defend English as a valid topic of study, and the Chicago School might have developed partly from this pressure to put the study of English on a sound classical basis.
Other key figures in the Chicago School were W.R. Keast, Norman Maclean, Elder Olson, William Rea Keast and Bernard Weinberg. After this first generation, the most important critics to carry on the theory were Wayne C. Booth (who taught at the University of Chicago from 1947-1950 and again from 1962 until his death in 2005) and his contemporaries, Richard L. Levin, Sheldon Sacks, Robert Marsh, Arthur Heiserman, Ralph W. Rader, and Mortimer J. Adler. Booth loosened the rigid categories of genre originally set forth by the Chicago School, and moved the concentration away from poetry towards rhetoric. The Chicago School has demonstrated continuing importance, and continuing flexibility, in the work of the third-generation Chicago critics, including Michael Boardman, Barbara Foley, Walter A. Davis, Dorothy Hale, Elizabeth Langland, James Phelan, Peter J. Rabinowitz, David H. Richter, and Harry Shaw, among others.   
Notable works in the Chicago School include Critics and Criticism (Crane, ed. Chicago, 1952), The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry (Crane, Toronto, 1953), and The Rhetoric of Fiction (Booth. Chicago, 1983).
Aristotle was an Ancient Greek philosopher and polymath. His writings cover a broad range of subjects including physics, biology, zoology, metaphysics, logic, ethics, aesthetics, poetry, drama, music, rhetoric, psychology, linguistics, economics, politics, meteorology, geology, and government. As the founder of the Peripatetic school of philosophy in the Lyceum in Athens, he began the wider Aristotelian tradition that followed, which set the groundwork for the development of modern science.
A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two different ideas. Metaphors are often compared with other types of figurative language, such as antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy, and simile. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature comes from the "All the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:
Rhetoric is the art of persuasion, which along with grammar and logic, is one of the three ancient arts of discourse. Rhetoric aims to study the techniques writers or speakers utilize to inform, persuade, or motivate particular audiences in specific situations. Aristotle defines rhetoric as "the faculty of observing in any given case the available means of persuasion" and since mastery of the art was necessary for victory in a case at law, for passage of proposals in the assembly, or for fame as a speaker in civic ceremonies, he calls it "a combination of the science of logic and of the ethical branch of politics". Rhetoric typically provides heuristics for understanding, discovering, and developing arguments for particular situations, such as Aristotle's three persuasive audience appeals: logos, pathos, and ethos. The five canons of rhetoric or phases of developing a persuasive speech were first codified in classical Rome: invention, arrangement, style, memory, and delivery.
The Western canon is the body of high culture literature, music, philosophy, and works of art that are highly valued in the West; works that have achieved the status of classics. However, not all these works originate in the Western world, and such works are also valued throughout the globe. It is "a certain Western intellectual tradition that goes from, say, Socrates to Wittgenstein in philosophy, and from Homer to James Joyce in literature".
Literary theory is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for literary analysis. Since the 19th century, literary scholarship includes literary theory and considerations of intellectual history, moral philosophy, social prophecy, and interdisciplinary themes relevant to how people interpret meaning. In the humanities in modern academia, the latter style of literary scholarship is an offshoot of post-structuralism. Consequently, the word theory became an umbrella term for scholarly approaches to reading texts, some of which are informed by strands of semiotics, cultural studies, philosophy of language, and continental philosophy.
Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often influenced by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of literature's goals and methods. Though the two activities are closely related, literary critics are not always, and have not always been, theorists.
Aristotle's Poetics is the earliest surviving work of Greek dramatic theory and first extant philosophical treatise to focus on literary theory. In this text Aristotle offers an account of ποιητική, which refers to poetry and more literally "the poetic art," deriving from the term for "poet; author; maker," ποιητής. Aristotle divides the art of poetry into verse drama, lyric poetry, and epic. The genres all share the function of mimesis, or imitation of life, but differ in three ways that Aristotle describes:
Ivor Armstrong Richards CH, known as I. A. Richards, was an English educator, literary critic, poet, and rhetorician. His work contributed to the foundations of the New Criticism, a formalist movement in literary theory which emphasized the close reading of a literary text, especially poetry, in an effort to discover how a work of literature functions as a self-contained and self-referential æsthetic object.
A literary genre is a category of literature. Genres may be determined by literary technique, tone, content, or length. They generally move from more abstract, encompassing classes, which are then further sub-divided into more concrete distinctions. The distinctions between genres and categories are flexible and loosely defined, and even the rules designating genres change over time and are fairly unstable.
Kenneth Duva Burke was an American literary theorist, as well as poet, essayist, and novelist, who wrote on 20th-century philosophy, aesthetics, criticism, and rhetorical theory. As a literary theorist, Burke was best known for his analyses based on the nature of knowledge. Further, he was one of the first individuals to stray from more traditional rhetoric and view literature as "symbolic action."
Jacopo Mazzoni was an Italian philosopher, a professor in Pisa, and friend of Galileo Galilei. His first name is sometimes reported as "Giacomo".
Aristotle's Rhetoric is an ancient Greek treatise on the art of persuasion, dating from the 4th century BCE. The English title varies: typically it is titled Rhetoric, the Art of Rhetoric, On Rhetoric, or a Treatise on Rhetoric.
Affective fallacy is a term from literary criticism used to refer to the supposed error of judging or evaluating a text on the basis of its emotional effects on a reader. The term was coined by W.K. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley in 1949 as a principle of New Criticism which is often paired with their study of The Intentional Fallacy.
Richard McKeon was an American philosopher and longtime professor at the University of Chicago. His ideas formed the basis for the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Ronald Salmon Crane was a literary critic, historian, bibliographer, and professor. He is credited with the founding of the Chicago School of Literary Criticism.
Poetics is the theory of structure, form, and discourse within literature, and, in particular, within poetry.
Neo-Aristotelianism is a view of literature and rhetorical criticism propagated by the Chicago School — Ronald S. Crane, Elder Olson, Richard McKeon, Wayne Booth, and others — which means.
"A view of literature and criticism which takes a pluralistic attitude toward the history of literature and seeks to view literary works and critical theories intrinsically"
Bartolomeo Maranta, also Bartholomaeus Marantha was an Italian physician, botanist, and literary theorist.
William Rea Keast was an American scholar and academic administrator who served as president of Wayne State University from 1965 to 1971.
The Structure of Literature is a book of literary criticism written by Paul Goodman and published by the University of Chicago Press in 1954.