Formalism: An Emphasis on Textual Structures

Formalism is a branch of literary theory and criticism that focuses solely on the structures and elements within the text. It excludes considerations of external factors such as culture, politics, authorial intent, or societal influences. The main focus of formalism is the technical purity of the text, including aspects like grammar, syntax, signs, and literary tropes. It also examines structural tendencies within the text or across texts, such as genre and categories.

Autonomous Texts and Scientific Analysis

Formalism asserts that a text is an autonomous entity, independent of the author's intentions or external influences. It emphasizes scientific and technical analysis of the text, demanding a higher degree of mental intelligence from readers instead of emotional intelligence.

Russian Formalism: A School of Literary Criticism in Russia

Russian Formalism was a prominent school of literary criticism in Russia from 1910 to 1930. Scholars like Viktor Shklovsky, Yuri Tynianov, Vladimir Propp, Boris Eichenbaum, Roman Jakobson, Boris Tomashevsky, and Grigory Gukovsky were key figures in Russian Formalism. It introduced the idea of scientific analysis of poetry and was associated with the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOYAZ) and the Moscow Linguistic Circle.

Principles of Russian Formalism

- Analysis of literature should be factual and objective.

- Linguistics is an important aspect of Russian Formalism.

- Literature is independent of external sources and influences surrounding the texts.

New Criticism: An American Literary Theory

New Criticism emerged as an American literary theory in the 20th century, influenced by John Crowe Ransom's book "The New Criticism" (1941). It adopted the "closed-reading" approach, developed by I.A. Richards, where the focus is on analyzing the words within the text very closely without reference to external materials or issues.

Textual World without External Considerations

New Criticism disregarded cultural, political, and social issues surrounding a text and instead dealt exclusively with the textual world, emphasizing close analysis and interpretation of the text itself.

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