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February 19, 2009

Structuralism and Semiotics

"When we analyse literature we are speaking of literature; when we evaluate it we are speaking of ourselves...literary works are made out of other literary works, not out of any material external to the literary system itself." (Eagleton 80)

Eagleton's statement seems to be the consensus feeling about literature among many of the literary critics we are becming familiar with in class. Donald Keesey promotes a similar attitude in his work Contexts for Criticism : "Poems do not imitate life; they imitate other poems" (265).
Eagleton's elaborate assult on formalism suggests that formalism, in many ways, deters critics from the essential meanings of a work, as intended by an author, by over-analyzation of the conventions within the work.
Eagleton finds that literature is, although a derivative of other works of literature, a limitless art in its capability to conjoin two or more words in order to create a meaning which would otherwise be absent if only one word were present. Eaglton clarifies, "The Literary work continually enriches and transforms mere dictionary meaning, generatin new significances by the clash and condensation of its various levels".(89)

Posted by QuinnKerno at February 19, 2009 3:08 PM


I think Eagleton makes some good points about literature, formalism, and everything else. Alot of times however, I feel these points get lost because of all the extra distracting stuff that Eagleton puts into the chapters. I guess all of it is necessary, but alot of it just seems extra.

Posted by: Katie Vann at February 19, 2009 5:03 PM

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