Compare and Contrast Between Russian Formalism and the New Critics

Topics: Literary criticism, Linguistics, Literary theory Pages: 2 (540 words) Published: February 6, 2012
Compare and contrast between Russian Formalism and The New Critics    Literature is the use of language that mirrors certain features that show the literariness of a text. Language is the projection of an idea or experience. Language is the tool that writers use to show the thoughts and imagination of the writer. The literary text differs from other texts from the fact that the writer artistically uses language as a tool to produce the text. Russian Formalism and New Criticism are two different movements in Literature theory. Both movements draw attention to the fact that literature is nothing but the use of language, and that all the meaning is derived from the text and the reader’s job is to determine that meaning. The Russian formalists consider the text irreducible; that is, they maintain that the text is indeed itself and not another thing. They believe that literary evaluation must do away with the socio-historical referentiality. Therefore, the Russian formalists prioritize the use of empirically verifiable processes of literary criticism. They accord great importance to the fabric of the literary text which includes the structure, texture, language, and so on. Russian Formalism claims that literature uses language more distinctively than any other discourse. To Russian formalists, language is used to create reality of fact. Language is used in literature to engender shock with something new. This is done through the concepts of defamiliarisation. Defamiliarisation involves making the language strange through the use of metaphors and imagery. Foregrounding, on the other hand, involves giving prominence to the functions of the devices formed by defamiliarisation. On the other hand, New Criticism as a modified version of Russian Formalism focuses or concentrates on the text, that is, it draws attention to the words or language on the page. The New Critics consider a text self-contained and autonomous. To them, a literary text does not need any reference...
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