Literary Theory

Chicago School (Neo-Aristotelians)

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 ›

Connotation and Denotation

Connotation and Denotation are crucial concepts in Semiotics, Structuralism, Marxism, Cultural Studies and in the entire realm of literary and cultural theory. Denotation refers to the primary signification or reference – the definitional, literal, obvious meaning of a sign. In… Read More ›

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 ›

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.