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New Criticism - Beginnings In England, American New Criticism, Decline Of The New Criticism And Continuing Influence, Bibliography

critics literary study name

The New Criticism is the name given to the work of a school of formalist-oriented Anglo-American literary critics whose writings appeared in the years following World War I and came to prominence in the 1940s and 1950s. John Crowe Ransom (1888–1974) coined the moniker itself in his 1941 study The New Criticism, in which he provided an overview of the work of key "New" Critics, including I. A. Richards (1893–1979), T. S. Eliot (1888–1965), William Empson (1906–1984), and Yvor Winters (1900–1968). Other important critics associated with this school included F. R. Leavis (1895–1978), Kenneth Burke (1897–1993), Allen Tate (1899–1979), Cleanth Brooks (1906–1994), Robert Penn Warren (1905–1989), and René Wellek (1903–1995), to name a few. Arising, in part, as a response to earlier approaches such as comparative philology and biographical and impressionistic criticism, the New Criticism focused on the individual work of literature, usually the poem, as the sole object of study. These critics placed special emphasis on the formalistic aspects of the literary work, highlighting connotative and associative usage of words and the many figurative devices of language that functioned within the poem.

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