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Centre for Post-Graduate Studies Prof.S.Jayaraman. & Research in English, Muslim Arts College,
Gerard Genette.
Structuralism and Literary criticism. “Gerard Genette’s structuralism is, to some extent, like the ‘close reading’ of the Americans or the ‘verbal analysis’ of F. R. Leavis”—Justify. How does Genette elucidate the meaning and scope of structuralism? Gerard Genette’s theory of structuralism is dealt with in an exhaustive, elaborate manner in his brilliant essay ‘Structuralism and Literary Criticism.’ As a classicist, he wants to revive the classical tradition by means of structuralism. Genette says that language is the common binding factor of structuralism and literature. Literature is primarily a work of language whereas structuralism is pre-eminently a linguistic method. Thus, their encounter with each other takes place on the terrain of linguistic material, namely sounds, forms, words and sentences. The Russian formalism was only a meeting of critics and linguists on the terrain of poetic language. The Russian formalism, the mould of structural linguistics, temporarily ignored content to study more closely the system of the convention of literary discourse. Genette regards content as an essential part of structuralism. But he argues that it should not be imposed. In fact, structuralist-mode is constituted at the moment when message in the code is rediscovered by analysis of the inherent structures and not imposed by ideological prejudices. Structural analysis must make it possible to uncover the connection between pure formalism and traditional realism. Pure formalism reduces literary forms to a sound material. Since it is nonsignifying, it is ultimately formless. But, traditional realism accords to each form, an autonomous, substantial, expressive value. Here, it is structuralism that replaces term by term analogies with...
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