Buck Lee
Research and Bibliography
7 December 1999

New Criticism, Structuralism and Modernist Studies

I. Why close reading is so important in New Criticism?
      1. Is close reading in New Criticism different from textual studies in traditional approach?
      2. How to evaluate a work justly? Or is the action of evaluation fair to the interpretation of a literary text?
      II. Overview of historical background and its development of New Criticism, Structuralism, and Modernist Studies.
      1. New Criticism dominated American literary criticism from the early 1930s to the 1960s. The term New Criticism is derived from the book The New Criticism written by John Crowe Ranson in 1941. ( Breezier 32)
      2. Structuralism, starting in the 1960s, is an approach to literary analysis based in structural linguistics, the science of language. " By utilizing the techniques, methodologies, and vocabulary of linguistics, structuralism provides a scientific view of how we achieve meaning not only in literary works but in all forms of communication and social behavior. (Breezier 59-60).
      III. The issue of meaning and the issue of form are situated at the center of New Criticism.
      1. Close reading is an essential approach to New Criticism.
      2. Three key assumptions of New Criticism are concepts opposed to traditional research and consisting of discussions of the autonomy of the text and the question of meaning. (87,89,91,93,94)
      3. The text's meaning only exists in the text itself.
        1. In order to find out the meaning of the words individually and interactions with each other in the text, close reading is necessary in New Criticism.
        2. Literary texts present readers both internal and external questions. [Martin 92]
        3. " Why read the text ourselves if its meaning ¡Kis to be aside in favor of what the author originally meant ? " (Martin 93).
      IV The text's meaning is not explored by questions of author's biography, but by questions of "verbal structure " in the text.
      1. The questions of form can be read as an aspect of its meaning.
      2. " Words, singly or in a group, have phonetic [and] semantic characteristics. Rhythm, rhyme, verse-stanzas, and line lengths are established by the phonetic aspect of its meaning. "
      3. " Satirical poems where the explicit attention to a contextual political and social condition necessarily challenged the assumption that literary texts were intrinsically autonomous " (Martin 88).
      V. The text is a unity. It is necessary to understand all the information within the text.
      1. In the form of a novel, the role of the narrator and the author was a key distinction between " a biographical entity " and " the teller of the tale."
      2. Sets of events in the text are distinctive to readers as independent stories.
      3. " The narrative [in the text] as a single, complexly planned construction, possessing its own internal logic, and to take pleasure in discovering what this logic is " ( Martin 90).
      V. Matthew Arnold's question of evaluation and Hirsch's intentional meaning raised opposing forces to the assumptions of New Criticism.

      I. Structuralism is " the study of the conditions surrounding the act of interpretation itself, not an in-depth investigation of an individual work."
      In early twentieth century Saussure's linguistic study contributes the development of Structuralism and following interpretations of literary texts.
      1. La langue is the structure of the language and la parloe is the individual speech utterance. ( Breezier 62)
      2. " A word is a sign, which composed of a signifier and a signified. "
      3. Signs are arbitrary, conventional, and differential. ( Breezier 62) (Martin 99)
      II. In mid-twentieth century, Roland Barthes continued and responded Saussure's methodology by " structural analysis of narratives"
      1. Barthes' purpose was to question " the reality effect" of narratives. (100)
      2. Barthes established a system of an understanding of narrative. The notion of a discovered ' truth ' is entirely the product of the code. (101-2)
      3. Barthes' theory of codes is a thinking of a literary text as a textile produced by weaving. (102)
      III. What do 'a story' and 'narrative time' mean ? (106-7) [107-9)
      1. The story is an abstraction from actual narrative.
        1. The story means the succession of linked events in the novel.
        2. The discourse means the novel's descriptions of places and people.
      1. The narrative time is inescapably linked to the linear form of grammatical sentences.
        1. The term analepsis means that episode introduced the narrative's present time which refer to its past.
        2. The term prolepsis means that anticipations of some future events, which introduced into the narrative's present.
      1. Piere Macherey conceives the author of a text not as a creator but as a producer and he proposed that a critic should stand away from the literary work.
      1. The argument of meaning derived within the text in New Criticis was opposed by Macherey's theory of literary production.
      2. Macherey's emphasis on ideology distinguished his approach from structuralism methodology.


Modernist Studies
        1. What is Modernist Studies?
        2. What are characteristics of Modernism studies? (158)
        3. Is that modernist study as a " defense of the new writing "?
        4. What is the difference between Modernism and Postmodernism? (169)
        1. Throughout the 1930s, 1940s and into the 1950s, the most important studies
of modernist works were produced by critics who aspired poets or fictional

writers at that period.

II. In the mid-1960s modernism was classified into nine categories: symbolism, realism, nature, cultural history, the unconscious, myth, self-consciousness,
existence, and faith. III. Throughout the 1970s, Harold Bloom's theory of the anxiety of influence brought a series of arguments toward the study of modernism. IV. In the 1980s, the cultural critique of modernist ideology has dominated the academy.

Works Cited

Bressler, Charles E. "New Criticism." Literary Criticism: an Introduction to

Theory and Practice. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1994. 31-44.

--- " Structuralism." Literary Criticism: an Introduction to Theory and Practice.

Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1994. 58-70.

Martin, Graham. " From New Criticism to Structuralism." A Handbook to

Literary Research. Ed. Simon Eliot and W.R.Owens. New York: Routledge

in Association with Open U, 1998. 85-116.

Perloff, Marjorie. " Modernist Studies." Recliaaming the Boundaries. Ed.

Stephen Greenblatt and Giles Gunn. New York: MLA, 1992. 154-78.