By: Fatemeh Salehi What is literary theory?

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By: Fatemeh Salehi

What is literary theory Literary theory is a set of concepts and methods individuals use in the explaining or interpreting literature. These theories help to reveal the true meaning of literature through criticism and interpretation of the text Literary theory offers varying approaches for understanding the role of historical context in interpretation as well as the relevance of linguistic and unconscious elements of the text All critical practise regarding literature depends on an underlying structure of ideas in at least two ways theory provides a rationale for what constitutes the subject matter of criticism – the literary – and the specific aims of critical practise – the act of interpretation itself.

What is formalism Formalists criticism is away in which the reader can approach, analyze, and understand a text using conversational narrative structures Formalists try to be objective by ignoring external factors and focusing only on the literature itself Formalists seethe literary work as an object in its own right Formalism disregards environment, era, and author to focus only on the work itself Formalists believe it is crucial to understand the relationship between the symbol and the object, experience, or emotion being signified.

– Formalism can cause a reader to see a familiar objector experience from a completely new perspective Formalism compiles of a thorough analysis of the motifs, devices, techniques and other literary forms Formalists focus on the analyzing the irony, imagery , metaphors, characters, symbols and point of view Those who practise formalism claim they do not view works through the lens of feminism, psychology, Marxism, or any other philosophical standpoint. They are also interested in the work’s affect on the reader Formalist critics are able to examine the relationship between form and meaning in a work.

The History of Formalism Formalism also called Russian Formalism began from two groups:

The society for the Study of Poetic Language founded in 1916 at St. Petersburg later Leningrad) led by Viktor Shoklovsky.
• The Moscow Linguistic Circle founded in 1915. Formalism stopped being important in the Soviet Union in 1929 because of the lack of political perspective. Roman Jakobson made Formalism, or Anglo-American New Criticism influential in the West. Formalism arose in the sands and flourished during the sand

– Formalism began as a result of a group of men who met regularly to discuss their interpretations and views of the literature they read.
– These men preferred to use a highly structured and scientific approach to examining literature .
– Formalism was created indirect opposition to Marxist literary theory in that Marxism believed literature was a product of its author, influenced by the political and social environment whereas Formalism believed the text should be viewed on its own terms.

Founders and influential scholars of Russian formalism Viktor Shklovsky was a Russian and Soviet critic, writer, and pamphleteer. In 1916 he founded the OPOYAZ, one of the two groups, with the Moscow Linguistic Circle.
Boris Eikhenbaum was a Russian literary scholar, and a representative of Russian formalism. In 1918, Boris joined OPOYAZ and participated in their research until the middle of the s. Eikhenbaum provided definition and interpretation for the group and helped outline their approach to literature.
Roman Jakobson was a Russian linguist and literary theorist. One of the first of the structural analysis of language, which became the dominant trend of linguistics on the first half of the twentieth-century. Jakobson was among the most influential linguists of the century.

Influential scholars of New Criticism Ivor Armstrong Richards was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician. His books, especially Principles of Literary Criticism and Practical Criticism proved to be founding influences for the New Criticism. Richards is regularly considered one of the founders of the contemporary study of literature in English John Crowe Ransom was an American poet, essayist, magazine editor, and professor. Ransom was a leading figure of the school of literary criticism known as the New Criticism, which gained its name from his 1941 volume of essays The New Criticism.

Terms used in Formalism Tension. It often involves irony or paradox.
Intentional fallacy. Formalistic critics refer to the belief that the meaning of a work maybe determined by the author’s intention as the intentional fallacy.
Affective Fallacy. The belief that the meaning or value of a work maybe determined by its affect on the reader.
Objective correlative. Originated by TS. Eliot, this term refers to a collection of objects, situations, or events that immediately evoke a specific emotion.

Pros & Cons ob Pros:b Criticism done without a research
– Emphasising the value of literature apart from its context
– Makes literature timeless ob Cons:b Text is viewed in isolation
– Formalism ignores the context of the work
– Reduces literature to nothing more than a collection of rhetorical devices

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