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February 22, 2007

To Sum it All Up

Keesey, Ch 2 (Introduction) -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

'A large dictionary will give us several possible meanings for the word. A historical dictionary will give us the range of meanings generally known to Blake's contemporaries. A study of all of Blake's writings will tell us the various ways he used the word on other occasions. But none of these says the formalist, will tell us exactly what the word means in the lines in question. Only a full understanding of their immediate context - that is of the poem itself - will tell us that" (77).

If you were having trouble following Keesey, this one section summed up pretty much everything you need to know in a very general sense, about formalism. I liked how Keesey gave this example to show exactly what a formalist critic wouldn't do in their analysis of a work. That makes it easy for us to know what to avoid when writing on our own exercises.
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Posted by LorinSchumacher at February 22, 2007 3:38 PM

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