Pay attention to the actual text and not author intent.

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"For when we consider the formalists' quarrel with the historical and reader-response approaches, their conception of the objective status of the poem, and their insistence tha thte context formed by the poem itslef is the ultimate determiner of meaning, we see that their main concern is always with the unique verbal construct before them, with these particular words in this particular order. To put is another way, formalists refuse to separate form from context" (77).

So basically, Formalists focus on the words and their meaning in the context of the text.
Formalists concentrate solely on textual meaning.
Rhythm, syntax, rhyme, metaphor, similie and well as narrative techniques are special usages of language that also help define the form of the literary text.
I love reading poems or other forms of literature and looking at specific words as well as the different usages of language within the work to get a better understanding of what is meant in the line.

"Poetry is verbal art, which means we must apprehend it first as a process while our eyes move down the page or the syllables fall on the ear" (77).

Poetry is written down and contains words. These words should be the first thing readers should look at when trying to interpret a meaning of the work because they make up the story or poem, not the history of the author.

Authorial intent and history could help strengthen a specific interpretation only if needed, but it should not be a main component in determing the meaning of the poem.

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4 Comments

Erin said:

You said it! I'm in Intro to Poetry right now, and we go through each line with a fine-toothed comb. While it's excruciating at times, we gain so much more perspective and usually learn more by the poet's words than we do their biography.

Dave Moio said:

I struggle with the formal approach versus authorial intent. On one hand, I appreciate the ability to life text from the page and attach meaning, but on the other hand, I have a hard time reconciling the fact that interpretation based upon opinion or conjecture may be wrong. Authorial intent, when supported by concrete details, provide a much more likely explanation of the meaning of the work.

I didn't appreciate word usage until last year in my American Lit courses, and then the second part of Brit Lit. There are so many ways of making good points using a few, select words. Even in journalism, it's a very good thing to learn. I just wish I knew how to do it better myself, since I feel like I ramble when I write--as though I write like I talk.

Denamarie said:

I also ramble too.
I have been told that I write like I talk.
I just don't know what exactly to write, I just know what I want to say.

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This page contains a single entry by Denamarie published on February 12, 2007 11:38 AM.

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