Literary criticism is a huge part of the academia that surrounds literature. Beyond enjoyment by the masses, a lot of literature is analyzed at a deeper level for its symbolism, meaning, references and more. Commonly defined, literary criticism is the study and interpretation of literature. Literary criticism has existed for nearly as long as literature, though it has developed more and more over time as literature in academia has grown. These days, you can find entire collections of literary criticisms, as well as articles published in literary journals devoted to this analysis. Literary criticisms can be incredibly useful for a few reasons: First, you can learn about the author's style and purpose when writing the piece. Second, you can begin to understand what the piece really means. Third, you can relate it to other pieces that employ similar techniques.