Wellek and warren theory of literature pdf


THEORY OF LITERATURE by RENE WELLEK and AUSTIN WARREN. HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY, New York - PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES. THEORY. OF. LITERATURE. By RENE WELLEK and AUSTIN WARREN. HARCOURT, BRACE AND COMPANY. New York. JBWgSSCTY OF FLORIDA. But we have sought to unite "poetics" (or literary theory) and "criticism" ( evaluation of Rene Wellek Austin Warren New Haven, May 1, Contents Preface I.

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Wellek And Warren Theory Of Literature Pdf

Rene Wellek and Austin Warren, Theory of Literature. New York: Har court, Brace & Co., Pp. x, $ "The disjunction between scholarship and. BY RENE WELLEK. BY AUSTIN WARREN. Contents. Preface. I. DEFINITIONS III. The Function of Literature IV. Literary Theory, Criticism, and History The collaboration between Rene Wellek and Austin Warren led to In this section the book also deals with literary theory, history and criticism and it.

What is literature? What is not literature? What is the nature of literature? Simple as such questions sound, they are rarely answered clearly. One way is to define 'literature' as everything in print. We then shall be able to study the 'medical profession in the fourteenth century' or 'planetary motion in the early Middle Ages' or 'witchcraft in Old and New England'. As Edwin Greenlaw has argued, 'Nothing related to the history of civilization is beyond our province'; we are ' not limited to belles-lettres or even to printed or manuscript records in our effort to understand a period or civilization ', and we 'must see our work in the light of its possible contribution to the history of culture. According to Greenlaw's theory, and the practice of many scholars, literary study has thus become not merely closely related to the history of civilization but indeed identical with it. Such study is literary only in the sense that it is occupied with printed or written matter, necessarily the primary source of most history. It can, of course, be argued in defence of such a view that historians neglect these problems, that they are too much preoccupied with diplomatic, military, and economic history, and that thus the literary scholar is justified in invading and taking over a neighbouring terrain.

According to Todorov, the system of genres available in a given language originates in discourse, understood as the hardening of linguistic possibilities or choices into socio-cultural rules or conventions.

In the Poetics, Aristotle distinguishes comedy, epic poetry, and tragedy typologically and hierarchically. The purpose of poetry, he states, is to arouse feelings of fear and pity in the audience. At the same time, as a genre incorporates ever more texts it cannot ever be considered closed or replete. For Derrida, genres are fundamentally contaminated by other genres that exist in parasitical relationship with one another, From The Encyclopedia of Literary and Cultural Theory, ed.

Derrida is not much interested in genre fiction, but ideas of contamination or hybridity are increasingly to be found in dedicated genre studies.

Botting provocatively suggests that, because it is a synthesis of literary and paraliterary genres, the Gothic can perhaps claim to be the only genuinely literary tradition. Williams, L. Definition would seem to be necessary for a genre that has been challenged on moral, aesthetic, and legal grounds, yet relatively little attention has been paid to what makes pornography pornography. Genre and its ethical significance have also been analysed in scholarship on Holocaust literature.

Eaglestone states that genre is both a way of writing and reading, the meeting point of the two processes. Testimony, Eaglestone argues, attempts to foreclose identification. Poetics trans. New York: Norton. Auster, P. London: Faber and Faber. Botting, F. London: Routledge. Cawelti, J. Mystery, violence, and popular culture. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. A collection of written interviews.

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Hanover: Wesleyan University Press, pp. Art imposes some kind of framework which takes the statement of the work out of the world of reality. Into our semantic analysis we thus can reintroduce some of the common conceptions of aesthetics: ' disinterested contemplation ', ' aesthetic distance', 'framing'. Again, however, we must realize that the distinction between art and non-art, between Literature and the non-literary linguistic utterance, is fluid. The aesthetic function may extend to linguistic pronouncements of the most various sort.

It would be a narrow conception of literature to exclude all propaganda art or didactic and satirical poetry. We have to recognize transitional forms like the essay, biography, and much rhetorical literature.

Theory of literature

In different periods of history the realm of the aesthetic function seems to expand or to contract: the personal letter, at times, was an art form, as was the sermon, while today, in agreement with the contemporary tendency against the confusion of genres, there appears a narrowing of the aesthetic function, a marked stress on purity of art, a reaction against pan-aestheticism and its claims as voiced by the aesthetics of the late nineteenth century.

It seems, however, best to consider as literature only works in which the aesthetic function is dominant, while we can recognize that there are aesthetic elements, such as style and composition, in works which have a completely different, non-aesthetic purpose, such as scientific treatises, philosophical dissertations, political pamphlets, sermons.

But the nature of literature emerges most clearly under the referential aspects. The centre of literary art is obviously to be found in the traditional genres of the lyric, the epic, the drama. In all of them, the reference is to a world of fiction, of imagination. The statements in a novel, in a poem, or in a drama are not literally true; they are not logical propositions.

There is a central and important difference between a statement, even in a historical novel or a novel by Balzac which seems to convey 'information' about actual happenings, and the same information appearing in a book of history or sociology. Even in the subjective lyric, the 'I' of the poet is a fictional, dramatic 'I '. A character in a novel differs from a historical figure or a figure in real life.

He is made only of the sentences describing him or put into his mouth by the author. He has no past, no future, and sometimes no continuity of life.

This elementary reflection disposes of much criticism devoted to Hamlet in Wittenberg, the influence of Hamlet's father on his son, the slim and young Falstaff, ' the girlhood of Shakespeare's heroines ', the question of 'how many children had Lady Macbeth'. Time and space in a novel are not those of real life. Even an apparently most realistic novel, the very 'slice of life' of the naturalist, is constructed according to certain artistic conventions.

Especially from a later historical perspective we see how similar are naturalistic novels in choice of theme, type of characterization, events selected or admitted, ways of conducting dialogue.

We discern, likewise, the extreme conventionality of even the most naturalistic drama not only in its assumption of a scenic frame but in the way space and time are handled, the way even the supposedly realistic dialogue is steered and conducted, and the way characters enter and leave the stage.

Whatever the distinctions between The Tempest and A Doll's House, they share in this dramatic conventionality. If we recognize 'fictionality', 'invention', or 'imagination' as the distinguishing trait of literature, we think thus of literature in terms of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Balzac, Keats rather than of Cicero or Montaigne, Bossuet, or Emerson.

Theory of Literature - Wikipedia

Admittedly, there will be 'boundary' cases, works like Plato's Republic to which it would be difficult to deny, at least in the great myths, passages of 'invention' and 'fictionality', while they are at the same time primarily works of philosophy.

This conception of literature is descriptive, not evaluative. No wrong is done to a great and influential work by relegating it to rhetoric, to philosophy, to political pamphleteering, all of which may pose problems of aesthetic analysis, of stylistics and composition, similar or identical to those presented by literature, but where the central quality of fictionality will be absent.

This conception will thus include in it all kinds of fiction, even the worst novel, the worst poem, the worst drama. Classification as an should be distinguished from evaluation. One common misunderstanding must be removed. Poetic language is permeated with imagery, beginning with the simplest figures and culminating in the total all-inclusive mythological systems of a Blake or Yeats.

But imagery is not essential to fictional statement and hence to much literature. There are good completely imageless poems; there is even a 'poetry of statement'.

Imagery, besides, should not be confused with actual, sensuous, visual image-making. Under the influence of Hegel, nineteenth-century aestheticians such as Vischer and Eduard von Hartmann argued that all an is the ' sensuous shining forth of the idea', while another school Fiedler, Hildebrand, Riehl spoke of all art as 'pure visibility'.

But much great literature does not evoke sensuous images, or, if it does, it does so only incidentally, occasionally, and intermittently. In the depiction even of a fictional character the writer may not suggest visual images at all. We scarcely can visualize any of Dostoyevsky's or Henry James's characters, while we learn to know their states of mind, their motivations, evaluations, attitudes, and desires very completely.

At the most, a writer suggests some schematized outline or one single physical trait - the frequent practice of Tolstoy or Thomas Mann. The fact that we object to many illustrations, though by good artists and, in some cases e.

Thackeray's , even by the author himself, shows that the writer presents us only with such a schematized outline as is not meant to be filled out in detail. If we had to visualize every metaphor in poetry we would become completely bewildered and confused.

While there are readers given to visualizing and there are passages in literature where such imaginings seem required by the text, the psychological question should not be confused with analysis of the poet's metaphorical devices. These devices are largely the organization of mental processes which occur also outside of literature.

Thus metaphor is latent in much of our everyday language and overt in slang and popular proverbs. The most abstract terms, by metaphorical transfer, derive from ultimately physical relationships comprehend, define, eliminate, substance, subject, hypothesis. Poetry revives and makes us conscious of this metaphorical character of language, just as it uses the symbols and myths of our civilization: Classical, Teutonic, Celtic, and Christian.

The theory of art as a neurosis leads to a new problem that is the relation between the imagination and belief. The artists keep felling and seeing his own though. Beside that, it is common for them to combine two kinds of imagery. For example, audition coloree: the trumpet as scarlet.

S Elliot had argued his views about a poet since his writing. Over there, he said that a poet is supposed to repeat and keep his relation with his childhood meanwhile he is running to the future. Jung made a complicated typological psychology.

There are two categories: extrovert and introvert. These categories, then, divided into four types based on the strength of thinking, feeling, intuition, and sensation. But, surprisingly, Jung did not categorize all of the authors to certain types. He remarks that some writers reveal their type in their creative work, while others reveal their anti-type, their complement Wellek and Warren, Nietzsche, in his The Birth of Tragedy proposed two polarities of art.

Nietzsche theorized this according to Apollo and Dionysos, two gods of arts in Greeks myths. This influenced Ribot, a French psychologist, much. Then L. The second type is the anti-thesis of the first type.

The rest is claimed to be the greatest type, at the end of the quarrel against the battle, the balance occurs. Impression is different from expression. Creative habits are assuredly are, as well as stimulants and rituals.

Then, do the way and technical of writing influence the style of writing? Milton himself knew by heart his Paradise Lost and dictated it. Even, Scott, Goethe, and Henry James had prepared their works. They dictated it and other people wrote it. The discussion about the creative process in creation must have talked about the unconscious world. It is easy for us to compare the romantic and expressionistic periods exaggerate the unconscious world to the classic and realistic proposed the intelligence, communication, and the text revision.

We have to make two kinds of tests if we want to seek literary talents. The first test is proposed to see a poet talent. The second test is to see the narrative writer.

A poet is associated with symbols, meanwhile a narrative writer with the creation of character in a story. Our discussion above is about the psychology of the writers.

Literary Theory

Then, can we use psychology to interpret and judge a literary work? Psychology, as we have discussed above, can explain about the creative process. A study of revisions, corrections, and the like has more which is literarily profitable, since, well used, it may help us perceive critically relevant fissures, inconsistencies, turnings, distortions, in a work of art Wellek and Warren,

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