Structuralism And Literary Criticism

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‘Structuralism and Literary Criticism’ - Gerard Genette
Structuralism is a way to examines a literary text to arrive at their meaning, rather than the actual meanings of the text themselves. It is a study of structure wherever they occur. In the essay Genette analyses content, logics, grammars and semiotics. He is considering structuralism as a method to study literary criticism. In the beginning of the essay Genette is establishing difference between Bricoleur and Engineer, Art critic and Literary critic and a Writer and a Critic. Later on Genette moves to structuralism in literature and how it should engage with literature. He explains the importance of structuralism as follows:
 Establishes the relation between the form and the message. It is concerned with the message too i.e, the bone structure.
 Semantic phenomenon i.e, it attacks the meanings.
 Larger unities of discourse i.e, system f Forms – code & System of meanings – meaning.
 Study of structures wherever they occur.
Genette goes on to say that, Structuralism is not necessarily an intrinsic fact of nature but rather is a way of thinking and it tries to conceive structures rather than perceive them. In other words they are discovering, but are actually inventing. Criticism studies content, where as structuralism deals with language and its form. It is the explanation of texts or events in their own terms, not in relation to external causes. This is very clear from the example of Oedipus Rex. When one deals with text as an object, he reads biography and sociology structurally where they abandon psychological, sociological and explanations. He then moves on to how structuralism differs from others. Structuralism is not thematic

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