Ransom Vs. New Criticism

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Before we begin analysing and contrasting two schools and methods of interpretation, we must address the prose. In particular, that New Criticism was predominantly concerned with verse while being mostly contemptuous of prose – especially in the form that it came from JC Ransom. Although he did not endeavour to do himself, he briefly touches upon the possibility of applying his approach to prose.
To some extent, comparing Russian formalist theory to New Criticism is akin to comparing apples to oranges. To elaborate, whereas the Vanderbilt school of New Criticism does not even attempt to analyse prose, Russian formalist theory does.
From a Russian point of view and in a linguistic milieu, the definition of literature is most straightforwardly
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Jakobson’s claim that even a layman - despite being untrained in literary theory and devices - would be able to determine what we classify as literature (on the basis of it being quite dissimilar to ordinary communication) is one such theory. Like other linguistic theories of the era, Jakobson’s were mainly focused on defining language in terms of differences. A bat is not a cat. They cannot become the other thing for the reason that they sound different – as different things unavoidably do.
Thus, to a certain extent, they are comparable as their aim was an organised, methodical and precise means of literary analysis. However, they contrast in their scope. New Criticism mostly endeavoured to outline the procedures and means of study for verse in the milieu of university literature study and halted just shy of language itself, at least as it came from Ransom. On the other hand, the Russian theory challenges to comprehend all literature – verse and prose – and does so by learning the rudimentary properties of
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The formalists primarily concerned themselves with form as content – notions, emotions or humanity – was merely a justification to shape language in a literary fashion. Thus, a formalist approach empowers the reader to embark on an observant reading.
The New Critics were similarly quite concerned on the text and debated that literary language conjures profound and tributary meanings, courtesy of their belief that it was connotative. However, unlike Formalism, New Criticism did not actively deliberate on the segregation of form and content. Rather, texts were regarded as mechanisms fused by their strategies, ideas, motifs and styles. This stress and importance given to a text’s in-house cohesiveness made them ponder on singular texts whereas their Russian counterparts were greater fascinated in entire genres and literary devices in
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