Characteristics of New Criticism

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New Criticism was used between 1940s – 1960s in reading and interpreting literary text. It is used ‘close-reading’ method, which concentrates only in text itself without include another literary aspect outside the text. This method is only temporary used because there’re many critics about it.

For New Critics the most important and the only one that should be concerned is only the text itself. In interpreting literary works, we don’t need to know about author’s life, biography, whether the text is related or a reflection of author’s experience. We also don’t need to observe how the author is, the special character of particular author writing, diaries, etc. For New Critics, all the aspect outside the text doesn’t influence them to interpret the text. They have some reasons why they only look at the text: sometimes, the truly fact about author’s life isn’t available for public but we can’t ask directly to the author about how their life is; sometimes, the text is more meaningful and beautiful although we don’t learn about the author’s life or other works. It also can be more complex from how the author expects. Because of this method, people call this part as the death of the author.

There are two things that aren’t New Criticism characteristic: Firstly, Intentional fallacy which means the mistaken belief that the author’s intention is the same as the text meaning. Secondly, affective fallacy which means confusing the text with emotion aspects that it produces. In New Criticism, we have to be objective in interpreting literary works. For example: if I observe about Harry Potter and I don’t like the character of Snape, so that I may say that Snape is mean and all those bad side. Here that is avoided in New Criticism because it can raise the impressionistic responses.

New Critics states that literary works are timeless, self-sufficient verbal object. Literary texts can’t change depend on the time. If we observe about Harry Potter, the...
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