Formalism (Literary Theory)


formalist theory in literature

FORMALISM (also known as NEW CRITICISM) A Basic Approach to Reading and Understanding Literature Armstrong Atlantic State University Formalist theory has dominated the American literary scene for most of the twentieth century, and it has. Dec 09,  · Formalism (Literary Theory) 1. WHAT IS LITERARY THEORY?Literary criticism is the practice of interpreting and writing about literature as the latter,in turn, strives to make sense of the world. Plus, some very important literary theorists, like Mikhail Bakhtin (who came up with some theories about the novel that shape how lots of people read today), were also influenced by Formalism. Not to mention that Formalist ideas—like "defamiliarization" and "poetic language"—still influence the way that we think and write about literature.

Formalism | literary criticism |

A discreet school of thought, Hawthorne criticism has much of its emphasis on formalist analysis of the text. Emerged between the s and s, formalist theory in literature, many colleges, institutes, and universities adopted the approach and started practicing it.

This new way of thinking and writing about the text was a reaction in opposition to the commentary. Commentary considered subjectivity an integral part of any text analysis, formalist theory in literature.

Not only this, according to it, the historical context and cultural events are also significant factors in producing the meaning. Many New Critics did not only accept the approach of formalist criticism, formalist theory in literature. However, it also insisted on incorporating objectivity in the text analysis, formalist theory in literature. Accepting the idea, they believed that literary work must be understood and analyzed in isolation.

There should not be any intervening biographical, political, social and other extrinsic factors impacting the text analysis. There has to be some scientific accuracy when a critic explores the embedded meaning from the content and form of the text.

Soon, the approach became widely accepted phenomena and critics begin to apply it. However, to scaffold a clear understanding of formalist criticism, it is vital to study the approach in a wider context. Over the past few decades, formalists have achieved considerable success when it comes to purging criticism, specifically about analyzing literature. Many of them have provided theoretical defects in the literal productions.

According to them, literature encapsulates many verbal signs, which do not physically imitate anything but encode a vast amount of information. It follows the conventions of written language.

These signs, in the literary work, formulate a unique and distinct verbal system, testifying vicarious experience to create a casual relationship with the text. A text contains literary forms, which are one of the important aspects of critical discourse. Mainly formalism excludes intellectual, biographical and historical contexts while analyzing a text. It signifies literature work as a piece of a content that aims to detach fallacious from it.

Typically, considering literary forms important while eliminating superfluous perspectives, Formalists endeavor to trace the developmental evolution of different literary forms. In the formalism definition, new critics attempt to explain why the structure analysis of language is important. Moreover, they have focused on language and symbols in order to demonstrate the paradoxes, ambiguities, and tensions of the text.

The formalist theory is not a product of a single approach; however, there are many schools of thoughts, which favored the approach in different eras. Many of them diverge from each other but encapsulate the same theme. In the broader spectrum, formalism was one of the dominant academic studies in the domain of literature. In Europe, on the other hand, formalism theory or formalism primarily emerged out from the work of authors like Viktor Shklovsky, Roman Jackbson, and Boris Eichenbaum.

Many critics see nothing identical in these theories. According to them, these proposed theories have differences in their respective philosophies and diverged from each other. Moving forward, after different schools of thoughts, Russian formalism emerged as an innovative approach, highlighting some scientific assumptions to analyze texts.

Precisely, referring to Poetic Language Society founded by Yurvy Tynyanov, Boris Eichenbaum, Viktor Shyklovs inRussian formalist were interested to explore a new method of text analysis. Feeling Stuck on Your Essay? The era marked a clear shift from the moral approach developed for literature to a scientific approach. Following are some basic assumptions, which Russian formalists formulated to develop a scientific approach formalist theory in literature analyze the texts.

Critical writings of Viktor Shkolvsky are the most influential Russian Formalism work created in this era. He aimed to explore the art technicalities, which authors employed to create a special effect in the text. The main concern of the Russian formalists was to make artistic devices meaning full. Augmenting the significance of these devices, they believed that the theme of the content is formalist theory in literature important, formalist theory in literature.

Shklovsky stated that the literary devices a writer employs are the most important thing he can use to draw the attention. This new approach emerged as a formalist movement, opposite of criticism.

Comparatively a new technique, new criticism offers a reinterpretation of critical procedures to analyze the poetry. The revolutionary methods defend Aristotle approach, techniques of literary analysis. The inductive and analytical method considers the peculiarities of poetic subject matters.

It is one of the original procedures known for its rhetorical criticism. The critic also called it traditional criticism and neo-classical criticism. The approach plays an important role when a critic analyzes any artifact. This can be anything from an advertisement for poetry or political speech. Using the neo-Aristotelian method, a critic considers rhetorical concepts, originally used by Aristotle. The text, organization, and language were the main concerns of the new critics.

Formalist theory in literature dominant American convention of criticism in the twentieth century has been contradictory and complex. The critical practices were changing. New critics thought literature as more like a painting that inspires people and as exceptional artwork.

Hence, the new criticism and neo-Aristotelian approach focus on developing an intimate engagement with literary formalist theory in literature and textual features.

The approach has contributed to creating a strong base to see literature on its individual terms. Overall, literary criticism, with it all formalistic approaches studies the text just like text, nothing more. A formalist reading of poetry focuses on rhymes, formalist theory in literature, structure, rhythms, and cadences, without seeking its cultural or political context.

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A Brief Guide to Formalist Criticism: How to Go About It - A Research Guide


formalist theory in literature


The Formalist approach to literature, or Formalism, is a broad branch of literary criticism that seeks to examine a text on its own terms, independent of the text's societal or authorial context. Formalism accomplishes this examination by evaluating the formal aspects of a text. Formalism, innovative 20th-century Russian school of literary criticism. It began in two groups: OPOYAZ, an acronym for Russian words meaning Society for the Study of Poetic Language, founded in at St. Petersburg (later Leningrad) and led by Viktor Shklovsky; and the Moscow Linguistic Circle. Plus, some very important literary theorists, like Mikhail Bakhtin (who came up with some theories about the novel that shape how lots of people read today), were also influenced by Formalism. Not to mention that Formalist ideas—like "defamiliarization" and "poetic language"—still influence the way that we think and write about literature.