By Michael D.C. Drout, Recorded Books
Is literature a type of lie? Can fiction ever be "realistic"? Why will we learn? What may still we learn? Professor Drout presents perception into those and different provocative questions, together with these concerning the position of the textual content, writer, and viewers within the examining process.
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Additional info for A way with words II : approaches to literature
But in literature, “formal” simply means a concern with form, with the external characteristics of a thing, with the way it is put together. Formalism, then, is the study of the forms of literature. Formal Categories LECTURE SEVEN The largest formal categories are the most obvious. We can divide literature into poetry and prose. We can then subdivide each of those large categories. For example, within the category of poetry we have metrical verse and free verse, rhyming and non-rhyming poetry, alliterative poetry, and poetry that does not alliterate.
New research in neuroscience suggests that there might be some science behind those ideas: human minds like to think of things happening because of agents with specific characteristics, and so archetypes fit very well the patterns in the mind. The archetype idea is related to one of the more problematic approaches to literature, the “collective unconscious” described (or, perhaps more accurately, invented) by Carl Jung. This is one of the ideas that has been most thoroughly abused by both literary critics and popular commentators, and it thus has a very bad reputation.
In each case, the pattern used sets the poem in a genre, thus generating expectations and the effects an author can create by playing with those expectations. Less significant than meter, rhyme scheme, and poetic form is what I call ornamentation, which includes repetition of individual consonant and vowel sounds that are not rhymes. Alliteration, which in Old English was really the only significant poetic form, is the repetition of stressed consonant sounds, such as in Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.
A way with words II : approaches to literature by Michael D.C. Drout, Recorded Books