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Literary Criticism

Symbolist Movement in Poetry

A term specifically applied to the work of late 19th century French writers who reacted against the descriptive precision and objectivity of realism and the scientific determinism of naturalism, Symbolism was first used in this sense by Jean Moreas in… Read More ›

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Modernist Use of Myth

In an age that was wrought with scientism, technology and loss of spirituality, many of the major modernist writers realised and asserted the employment of integrative mythology in order to give “shape and significance” to the contemporary fragmented reality. The… Read More ›

Decanonisation

In the wake on Postmodernist critique of modernism and liberal humanism, and with the vogue of Derridean deconstruction and decentering of the subject/centre, the Western canon of “great” books, not only in literature but in all areas of humanistic study, has… Read More ›

The Yale Critics

The Yale School is the name given to an influential group of literary critics, theorists, and philosophers of literature who were influenced by Jacques Derrida’s philosophy of deconstruction. Many of the theorists were affiliated with Yale University in the late… Read More ›

Aporia

The word “aporia” originally came from Greek which, in philosophy, meant a philosophical puzzle or state of being in puzzle, and a rhetorically useful expression of doubt. In contemporary theoretical parlance, the term has more been associated with deconstructive criticism,… Read More ›

Deconstruction

Deconstruction involves the close reading of texts in order to demonstrate that any given text has irreconcilably contradictory meanings, rather than being a unified, logical whole. As J. Hillis Miller, the preeminent American deconstructionist, has explained in an essay entitled Stevens’… Read More ›

Derrida’s Notion of the Centre

Decentering in poststructuralism is a consequence of Derrida’s critique of binary oppositions, especially of speech/writing, where he accused Saussure of privileging speech over writing, owing to the presence, and authority of the speaker. Terming it as phonocentrism, which is a manifestation… Read More ›

Poststructuralism

The second half of the twentieth century, with its torturous experiences of the World Wars, Holocaust and the advent of new technologies, witnessed revolutionary developments in literary theory that were to undermine several of the established notions of Western literary… Read More ›

Myth Criticism of Northrop Frye

Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism (1957) introduced the archetypal approach called Myth Criticism, combining the typological interpretation of the Bible and the conception of imagination prevalent in the writings of William Blake. Frye continued the formalist emphasis of New Criticism… Read More ›

Structuralist Narratology 

Espoused by Tzvetan Todorov and Roland Barthes, Structuralist Narratology illustrates how a story’s meaning develops from its overall structure (the langue) rather than from each individual story’s isolated theme (the parole). According to Aristotle, all narratives develop longitudinally, from beginning to… 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 ›

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.

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