Literary criticism is an interpretive process used to weigh the social value of a written idea. Critics have reviewed and debated the value of literary works since before the Italian Renaissance.
Critical reviews can assist you personally by supporting points you may make in your own literary interpretation. Referencing another legitimate literary review often enhances the quality of your reading of a text.
Literary critics may sometimes challenge the ideas and values of literature. For example, some feminist critics review and challenge what they believe to be sexist attitudes in widely accepted literature written by men or from an exclusively male perspective.
Empathy is a necessary tool when criticizing a text. When reading another critic's textual interpretation that conflicts with your own values, you experience the reading through someone else's perspective and hence have the opportunity to increase your own tolerance for differing ideas.
Published authors and poets work as literary critics. Some professors also publish extensively in the field of literary criticism, typically focusing on one area of expertise.
An understanding of historical literary criticism may also provide insight on past cultures. Readers often assume that what's true today was true in the past, but certain forms of literary criticism place writings in their proper context.