How to Read Literature Like a Professor


Thomas C. Foster

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Noumenal Term Analysis

Noumenal means something related to the “noumenon”—originally a philosophical concept, used by Plato to refer to the essence of something (which cannot be detected through the senses, only through thought). In the context of literature, it can refer to the fundamental essence of a work of literature, beyond the surface level phenomena of plot details, writing style, and so on.
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Noumenal Term Timeline in How to Read Literature Like a Professor

The timeline below shows where the term Noumenal appears in How to Read Literature Like a Professor. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 27: A Test Case
Surface Reading vs. Deeper Reading Theme Icon
Symbol and Metaphor Theme Icon
Archetype and Pattern Recognition Theme Icon
Intertextuality Theme Icon
Literature, Life, and Society Theme Icon
...While there is nothing wrong with this, readers also need to pay attention to the “noumenal level of the story, its spiritual or essential level of being.” (full context)