Differing from the Saussurean view that the connection between the signifier and signified is arbitrary, Barthes argued that this connection, which is an act of signification, is the result of collective contract, and over a period of time, the connection… Read More ›
One of the seminal contributions of Roland Barthes, a versatile literary and cultural critic and semiologist, was the poststructuralist distinction between two main types of texts roughly corresponding to nineteenth century realism and twentieth century experimental modernism. In his 1970… Read More ›
Saussure introduced Structuralism in Linguistics, marking a revolutionary break in the study of language, which had till then been historical and philological. In his Course in General Linguistics (1916), Saussure saw language as a system of signs constructed by convention…. Read More ›
The Chicago School of critics or the Neo-Aristotelians included professors of the departments of Humanities, University of Chicago, who were engaged in bringing about a radical transformation in an attempt to revive Humanities and make them institutionally more competitive with… Read More ›
IA Richards’ concept of four kinds of meaning has played a very significant role in New Criticism and modern tensional poetics. Pointing to the difficulty of all reading and of arriving at a universal meaning, Richards, in his Practical Criticism… Read More ›
FR Leavis’ The Great Tradition (1948), an uncompromising critical and polemical survey of English fiction, controversially begins thus: “The great English novelists are Jane Austen, George Eliot, Henry James and Joseph Conrad!” He regards these writers as the best because… Read More ›
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 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.