AD's English Literature : New Criticism : “Form and Content” -A Process of Identification

New Criticism : “Form and Content” -A Process of Identification

According to the new critical Theory “Language is a crucial element in the theory for it is only the moment of entry into the symbolic order of language that full subjectivity comes into being." Before it enters the symbolic through acquisition of language, the infant goes through the mirror stage, entering the realm of the imaginary on which the subject never entirely leans. In the mirror stage Lucan argues that the infant beings to recognize a distinction between its own body and the out side world. This is illustrated in the child’s relation to its own image in the mirror; the infant lacks control of its limbs and its experience is a jumbled mass but its image in the mirror appears unified and in control. The child recognizes its image and merges with in a process of identification, creating an illusory experience of control of the self  and world – an imaginary correspondence of self and image. 

In fact, between the late 1930s and 1945 a critical approach known as New Criticism developed. Taking its name from a 1941 essay by John Crowe Ransom, it emphasized close analysis of text and structure rather than analysis of social or biographical contexts. Critics expounding this approach included Cleanth Brooks, Kenneth Burke, Ransom, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren. Several other literary scholars were less doctrinaire. Among them were Joseph Wood Krutch, whose essays were collected in The Modern Temper (1929) and The Measure of Man (1954), and Lionel Trilling, author of one of the most influential of modern critical essays, The Liberal Imagination (1950). Also noteworthy were Malcolm Cowley, author of Exile's Return (1934); Alfred Kazin, author of On Native Grounds (1942) and The Inmost Leaf (1955); and Leslie Fiedler, whose Love and Death in the American Novel (1960) provided a new interpretation of certain American themes and approaches.
One influential group of modernist poets from the South was dedicated initially to poetry that had a regional basis. But the main commitment of these poets—John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, and Robert Penn Warren—was to a well-wrought, ironic, and often indirect or obscure poetry. Their work led to what came to be called the New Criticism, a way of reading poems and other literature that tended to value work that was difficult, ambiguous, and that transcended its personal, historical, and cultural surroundings. The goal was a poem that could survive on its own as a perfected work of art. Their work built upon that of other modernists, such as Eliot, and encouraged a new formalism—that is, a return to careful craftsmanship and tradition as the primary virtues of poetry.

The two are perceived as self-identical. However to achieve full distinction of the subject has to enter the symbolic, where identify depends on difference rather than self-identically. Language, the system of difference which articulates identities constructs positions for the subject notably the subject position ‘I’ –which allows differentiation from the others and identity for self. However, in the necessary acceptance of the subject-positions offered by language the individual experiences a loss or lack because it is subject to the positions that are predefined for it and beyond its control. The sense of a full and unified subject is contradicted by a sense of being defined by the law of human culture. At this point, desire and the unconscious are also created. The unconscious is, as it were the repository of that which has to0 be repressed which subject predefined positions available in language.  

Ref: Bourinot, J. G. -Our Intellectual Strength and Weakness

Follow by Email

AD's English Literature: Copyright and Disclaimer

Copyright Protections: All Rights Reserved. © Copyrighted to Ardhendu De and his legal heirs.
" Content posted on my web pages are for educational purpose only. No part of this blog publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system for commercial purpose, without permission in writing from the publisher. If there is any copyright infringement, be kind enough to report the author."
Help Me to Help Others
Mailing Address: Ardhendu De, House Name: Promothnath Bhaban, C/O Sanat Kr. Ghosh, Post: Sonamukhi, Location: Rathtala, Dist: Bankura, West Bengal, India, Pin: 722207;
Email & PayPal:
Mobile & WhatsApp +919434314016 (message only)
Banking: State Bank of India, Branch- Sonamukhi, Beneficiary Name- Ardhendu De, Account No. 30299257032, IFSC Code: SBIN0001557, SWIFT / BIC Code: SBININBBFXD , BHIM upi payment address: 9434314016@upi
Clip art credit: Free Resources of Teachers Pay Teachers