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NEW CRITICISMThe term “New Criticism” designated a break with traditional methods, was a product of the American university in the 1930s and 40s. It stressed close reading of the text itself. As a strategy of reading, “New Criticism” viewed the work of literature as an aesthetic object independent of historical context and as a unified whole that reflected the unified sensibility of the artist. The name comes from John Crowe Ransom’s book The New Criticism(1941),in which he surveyed the theories developed in England by T.S. Eliot, I.A Richards and William Empson, together with the work of the American critic Yvor Winters. Famous critics of this school are J.C Ransome, R.P. Blackmur, Allen Tate, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Pen Warren and William k. Wimsatt. In the preface to the anthology Understanding Poetry, the editors Cleanth brooks and Robert Penn Warren condemned the use of poetry for any purpose beyond itself, whether historical or moralistic. They asserted that “if poetry is worth teaching at all, it is worth teaching as poetry”According to New Criticism the poetry or a work of art should be treated as an object in itself, primarily as poetry and not as any other thing. In analysing the work they usually do not refer to the author’s biography,to contemporary social conditions and to its psychological or moral effects on the reader. The literary critic must approach the work with an open mind, ready to study it, “as it is in itself.” The new Critics ase mainly concerned with the study of words,and the structure of poetry. The distinctive procedure of new criticism is explication ,or close reading. The new critics derived their explicative procedure from I.A. Richard’s Practical Criticism(1929) and William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930). The New Critics seek to understand the full meaning of a poem through study of poetic language. To them words are very important. The key concept of this criticism deal with the meanings and interactions of words, figures of speech and symbols. The new critics reacted sharply against the vulgarisation of meaning by the rhetoric of mass communication or privatization of language as a means of communication. Wimsatt and Brook write in the verbal icon : “A poem should not mean but be. A poem can be only through its meaning –since its medium is words yet it is simply is, in the sense that we no excuse for injuring what part is intended or meant. Poetry is feat by which a complex of meaning is handled all at once.”Each critic of this group has devised their own method to bring out the uniqueness of the poem and check the vulgarisation of language : Richards his “emotive and referential meanings”, Eliot his “objective correlative”, Brook his “paradox” and warren his “irony”. The New Cricticism appeared as late as 1946-49 in two articles in Serwanee Review by W.K. Wimsatt,Jr and M.C. Beardsley, The Intensional Fallacy and The Affectative Fallacy, both collected in Wimsatt’s The Verbal Icon(1954). The New Critics reduced all poetry to formu;a. They removed criticism into a highly specialised technical area where it cannot be read or appreciated by the ordinary man. It also ignored the relation of life to literature. Commenting on contribution of the new critics Richard remarks : “… their contribution upon linguistic expression has benefited the study of poetry. Readers needed to realise that the poem is a thing.” They taught a generation to read ,to to reflect on meaning, to pay attention to what a work of literary art really means.they tell us what literature is, hoe it works and that is a remarkable achievement.A reaction against new critics began under the leadership of Ronald S. Crane in the late 30s. This group of critics is known as Chicago school of neo-Aristotlerians who, according to George Watson, employed “a more formidable scholarship and a less popular style, insisted upon a return to questions of design and structured by whatever method and upon whatever assumption seemed appropriate to the particular case.” The Chicago critics worked at the University of Chicago and formed a homogenous group with a little difference in their view and critical methods. New Criticism when contrasted with other critical theoretical positions, New Criticism may be considered ideologically problematic, theoretically unformulated, and unsystematic. But it none the less occupies a significant place in the development of modern literary theory and English studies. The New Criticism mounted the first serious challenge to reductionist and impressionistic approaches to literature, with its emphasis on rigour and objectivity, it initiated the professionalization and formalization of literary criticism as a discipline. Indeed, in face of critical approaches which pay relatively little attention to the formal qualities of the literary artefact and seem to devalue the imaginative use of language, we might do well to remember that at its best the New Criticism valued the texture of language and paid scrupulous attention to the structures within which that language functioned. WORKS CITEDNagarajan, M. S English Literaty Criticism And Theory: An Introductory History.Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan Private Limited,2006Rastogi Supriya, Contemporary Literary Criticism. New Delhi: Swastik Publication,2014Waugh Patricia, Literary Theory And Criticism: An Oxford Guide.New York: Oxford University Press,2006


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