This week has brought to my field of knowledge an understanding of something that I have heard of before, but never really pondered. Partially it is due to the fact that I never really paid attention or delved into the subject matter. Fortunately, this week’s curriculum rectified this situation.
Formalism is a intriguing subject to be sure. As we discussed in class, I appreciate fully the fact that during the development of new criticism, they were paving the way for something that before had never existed. In the time, as Dr. Seaman pointed out, they were challenging the status quo, doing what I mentioned in my last blog post, pushing it to new frontiers. It is important to acknowledge this and as such appreciate it in its place. However, assimilating it into our class content, I think that it is itself insufficient.
I believe it to be an excellent tool. Something that really adds depth to one’s overall analysis. I think that it is important to analyze the form itself, but I do believe that it creates an impediment to “more completely” understanding an overall piece. I am not saying at all that a single piece can ever be “fully understood,” as every time a person looks to a piece, some new insight can come forth. However, I am drawing from the concept of infinite possibilities for a literary piece. I think that there is a line with how far one can go in analysis of a literary work when only New Criticism is involved. I also think that some of the limits bar continuity of some literary traditions.
One of my favorite aspects of literature is allusion. An author making a reference, however big or small, to another piece of literature is something that makes me smile; in a way makes me feel like I am “part of the club.” Allusion appears in many forms, and one such form can be connection to other authors, to events in history, to religious references, etc. Although I understand that New Criticism still requires one to take words and phrases, read through and research them, there seems to be this ambiguous line which stops at New Criticism, and if continued, goes out to expansion of the motifs and themes of a piece which is, according to New Criticism’s rules, not permitted or deemed relevant.
Like I said above, I believe it a wonderful method of developing an additional(key word) facet to a literary gem; but to focus only inside the box of New Criticism seems that it would leave that gem with fewer faces, and would not shine quite so brilliantly.