February 15, 2007

You Can't Escape It!

Formal analysis, so this argument runs, is often better than formal theory because that analysis is actually based on knowledge imported from other contexts.
Donald Keesey "Formal Criticism: Poem as Context"

I really took this reading in - I know I'm a formalist. It's obvious; I hate (and don't get) the various types of literary criticism - but this one makes sense.
Theory and practice are never the same. In theory, communism would be a pretty nice state of affairs. In practice - well, I couldn't manage living in a communist society (though many do). Such is the case of formal criticism. In theory, it is its own entity - nothing touches the critic but the text. In practice, if nothing touched the critic but the text - I doubt if the critic could even read that text.
Everybody has their own personal influences - and they're stuck to them as securely as their ears.
Just as in journalism it is impossible to be completely unbiased, it is impossible to be a true theoretical formal critic.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at February 15, 2007 12:08 PM | TrackBack
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