Author Archives

Literariness is an open access collection of notes inviting everyone to explore the unfathomable English Language, Literature, and Theory. Feel free to discover and share knowledge.
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  • Moral formalism: F. R. Leavis

    F. R. Leavis became the major single target for the new critical theory of the 1970s. Both Raymond Williams in Politics and Letters (1979) and Terry Eagleton in Literary Theory: An Introduction (1983) bear witness to his enormous, ubiquitous influence in English Studies from the 1930s… Read More ›

  • The American New Critics

    American New Criticism, emerging in the 1920s and especially dominant in the 1940s and 1950s, is equivalent to the establishing of the new professional criticism in the emerging discipline of ‘English’ in British higher education during the inter-war period. As always, origins and… Read More ›

  • Roman Jakobson’s Contribution to Russian Formalism

    The work of Roman Jakobson occupies a central place in the development of Formalism and Structuralism. A linguist from Moscow, Jakobson co-founded the Moscow Linguistic Circle in 1915, and along with Viktor Shklovsky and Boris Eichenbaum, he was involved in… Read More ›

  • Defamiliarization

    The Russian Formalists’ concept of “Defamiliarization”, proposed by Viktor Shklovsky in his Art as Technique, refers to the literary device whereby language is used in such a way that ordinary and familiar objects are made to look different. It is… Read More ›

  • Affective Fallacy

    An important concept in New Criticism, coined by Wimsatt and Beardsley in an essay in The Verbal Icon, Affective Fallacy refers to the supposed error of judging or evaluating a text on the basis of its emotional effects on a… Read More ›

  • Intentional Fallacy

    One of the critical concepts of New Criticism, “Intentional Fallacy” was formulated by Wimsatt and Beardsley in an essay in The Verbal Icon (1946) as the mistake of attempting to understand the author’s intentions when interpreting a literary work. Claiming… Read More ›

  • Close Reading: A Brief Note

    A technique advocated by the New Critics in interpreting a literary work, Close Reading derived from (I A Richards’s Practical Criticism (1929) and William Empson’s The Seven Types of Ambiguity(1930). Endorsing the concept of “autotelic text”, that a text is… Read More ›

  • Autotelic Text: A Brief Note

    The New Critical notion of the autotelic text as self-contained and independent of the author, genre or historical context, was associated with Arnold’s insistence on objectivity and Eliot’s on impersonality. Such a text that contains meaning within itself is humanist… Read More ›

  • Russian Formalism: An Essay

    Russian Formalism, which emerged around 1915 and flourished in the 1920s, was associated with the OPOJAZ (Society for the Study of Poetic Language) and with the Moscow Linguistic Society (one of the leading figures of which was Roman Jakobson) and… Read More ›

  • The New Criticism of JC Ransom

    The seminal manifestos of the New Criticism was proclaimed by John Crowe Ransom (1888–1974), who published a series of essays entitled The New Criticism (1941) and an influential essay, “Criticism, Inc.,” published in The World’s Body (1938). This essay succinctly expresses a… Read More ›

  • New Criticism: An Essay

    New Critics attempted to systematize the study of literature, and develop an approach that was centred on the rigorous study of the text itself. Thus it was distinctively formalist in character, focusing on the textual aspects of the text such as rhythm, metre, imagery and metaphor, by the method of close reading, as against reading that on the basis of external evidences such as the history, author’s biography or the socio-political/cultural conditions of the text’s production. Although the New Critics were against Coleridge’s Impressionistic Criticism, they seem to have inherited his concept of the poem as a unified organic whole which reconciles its internal conflicts and achieves a fine balance.