February 12, 2007

Keesey: Chapter 2 Formalism

"These are all forms of complexity, and the good poem is complex because, more than any other kind of discourse, it deals faithfully with our complex experience of the world. It tells us the truth about that experience" (Keesey 80).

What? And to think, I really respected Keesey after the first chapter. He keeps discussing that the more complex the piece of literature is, the more meaning we can find out of it. That actually seems like the total opposite. I understand that we are supposed to find meaning right in the text. It seems very difficult to look at a piece of text without finding a meaning behind the text. But I am going to find myself ripping my hair out of my head trying to take this approach, because just looking at the text itself and admiring value, does not necessarily have me find meaning in a text. I really don't understand how we are not supposed to search for a meaning without looking at what the author meant, or what the reality behind the text represents based off of race, or feminism, or history...or SOMETHING!!! I am really struggling with this approach, so if anyone can help me, I would greatly appreciate it.

Posted by The Gentle Giant at February 12, 2007 7:25 PM

I think that you, like myself, are a mix of authorial intent/historical criticism and formalism. I look at formalism as a close reading, and that is an excellent place to start for a criticism, but I need something more. Something that is going to help me to understand the workings of one line or another. I feel your frustration Jay. I really do, but unfortunately I have no answers that will help you.

Posted by: Tiffany at February 14, 2007 6:14 PM

I'm with Tiff on this one - it does seem to be mostly tied in with close reading. I'm all for this technique though, it just looks at the words of the text rather than trying to figure out the implication of the words. At least, that is what I got of it, does that help?

Posted by: Diana Geleskie at February 15, 2007 5:42 PM
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