The main difference between Russian Formalism and New Criticism is that they focus on the form and content of a literary work. Russian formalism mainly focused on the form or structure of a literary work rather than its content, but the New Criticism believed that both form and content are closely related and equally important.
Russian Formalism and New Criticism are two formalistic literary movements that took place in the first half of the 20th century. In both literary grants, the work of the literature or the text itself is viewed as critical and examined regardless of its context or the intention of the author. In addition, both schools of thought focus mainly on poetry . Despite these many similarities, there are also some notable differences between these two literary schools.
Key areas covered
1. What is Russian formalism - definition, characteristics 2. What is new criticism - definition, types 3. What are the similarities between Russian formalism and new criticism - overview of common characteristics 4. What is the difference between Russian formalism and new criticism - Comparison of the main differences
Formalism, Russian formalism, new criticism
What is Russian formalism?
Russian formalism is a literary science that originated in Russia in 1915. This formalism focused on the "form" of literary work rather than the content, and studied formal means such as rhythm, rhyme , meter, syntax, and narrative technique.
In addition, influential Russian scholars such as Yuri Tynianov, Viktor Shklovsky, Vladimir Propp, Boris Eichenbaum, Boris Tomashevsky, Grigory Gukovsky, and Roman Jakobson were involved in the Russian formalism. These scholars advocated a scientific method of studying poetic language and declared that it was different from ordinary language. They called it "literarity". In other words, they believed that how something is said is more important than what is said. Therefore, Russian formalists studied literary work to focus on literary devices and technical elements used by writers. According to this, "literary works resemble ... machines: They are the result of a deliberate human activity in which a certain ability transforms the raw material into a complex mechanism that is suitable for a certain purpose" (Peter B. Steiner).
In 1916, Victor Shklovsky introduced the concept of alienation, which means making it strange. The alienation of the familiar is the basic use of literary language. In other words, literature has the ability to make us see the world from a new perspective.
What is New Criticism
New Criticism is a formalist movement in literary theory that emerged in the first half of the 20th century. In the new criticism, the texts are considered "closed" and autonomous, that is, they contain everything that is needed to understand a literary work. Hence, readers do not need external sources such as details about the author to fully understand the literary work. Indeed, the new criticism was a response to biographical and traditional historical criticism, which focused on extra-textual material to analyze a text.
According to New Critics, the structure and meaning of the text are closely related and cannot be analyzed separately. Because their primary focus is on the text itself, they exclude factors such as the author's intention, the reader's reaction, moralistic bias, and historical and cultural contexts from the analysis. In addition, they found Close Reading a great way to interact with a text. In addition, Robert Penn Warren, John Crowe Ransom, Allan Tate, Cleanth Brooks, and William Empson are some important scholars of this formalist movement.
Similarities Between Russian Formalism and New Criticism
- Russian Formalism and New Criticism are two formalistic literary movements that took place in the first half of the 20th century.
- In both literary movements, the text itself is more important; it is studied regardless of the author's intention and the historical and cultural context.
- In addition, both schools of thought focus mainly on poetry.
Difference Between Russian Formalism and New Criticism
Russian formalism was a school of literary criticism in Russia from the 1910s to 1930s, but the New Criticism was a formalist movement in literary theory that dominated American literary criticism in the first half of the 20th century.
Russian formalism, as the name suggests, was a literary movement in Russia while the New Criticism was a literary movement in North America.
Form and content
In addition, Russian formalists believed that there was a difference between form and content, and their focus was on the form or structure of a text rather than its content. New critics, however, were of the opinion that the form and content of the text are closely related and cannot be analyzed separately.
In short, Russian Formalism and New Criticism are two formalist literary movements that took place in the first half of the 20th century. However, there is a difference between Russian Formalism and New Criticism, particularly in their focus on the form and content of a literary work. Russian formalism mainly focused on the form or structure of a literary work rather than its content. In contrast, the New Criticism believed that both form and content are equally important.
1. Raiyah, Mohammed. “Literary Criticism, II, Russian Formalism.” LinkedIn SlideShare, April 6, 2012, available here .2. Mambrol, Nasrullah. "Russian Formalism: An Essay." Literary Theory and Criticism, April 25, 2017, available here. 3. "New Criticism". Poetry Foundation, available here .
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