Formalist Criticism and Reader-Response Theory by Kenneth Womack, Todd F. Davis

By Kenneth Womack, Todd F. Davis

This worthy consultant bargains an obtainable creation to 2 very important pursuits within the historical past of twentieth century literary conception. A complementary textual content to the Palgrave quantity Postmodern Narrative idea via Mark Currie, this new name addresses a number of theoretical matters, in addition to every one field's relevant figures and interpretive modes. As with different books within the Transitions sequence, Formalist feedback and Reader-Response idea contains readings of a number of widely-studied texts, together with Joseph Conrad's center of Darkness, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, and F. Scott Fitzgerald's the nice Gatsby, between others.

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Additional resources for Formalist Criticism and Reader-Response Theory

Sample text

Does literary art represent human rhetorical activity at a higher, more distinctive level? Should literature be privileged in some way beyond the more utilitarian texts of everyday life found in newspapers and magazines? Indeed, why are we drawn to the study of art in the first place, and how do formalist concerns help us to identify what we call ‘art’? And, finally, what role in the contemporary setting should formalist ideals play in our desire to engage the art object? The evolution of formalism: The case of Northrop Frye By examining the influential work of Northrop Frye, we may find possible answers to some of these questions.

Similarly, Frye has no patience for biographical criticism – despite the fact that he concentrated upon Romantic literature where such forms of criticism thrive. Ultimately, Frye returns to the work itself. In the ‘Polemical Introduction’ to Anatomy of Criticism, he contends that ‘critical principles cannot be taken over ready-made from theology, philosophy, politics, science, or any combination of these. To subordinate criticism to an externally derived critical attitude is to exaggerate the values in literature that can be related to the external source, whatever it is’ (7).

And it is the actions, and not the interchangeable characters, that count’ (Russian Formalism 84). By demonstrating the organic qualities of narrative, Propp succeeded in revealing the nature of the generic, structural components of story. Propp’s attention, moreover, to the relational aspects of literature finally afford Russian Formalism with the capacity for establishing general laws regarding the conditions and nature of the structural elements associated with narrative. Propp’s achievements in terms of Russian fairy tales also provide formalists with the critical means for articulating their programmatic goals and concerns to other schools and their proponents.

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