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New criticism emphasized reading poems as self-contained, except for noting overt allusions to other literary works. The most extreme version of this was the “practical criticism” of I. A. Richards who experimented with removing author’s names from poems so that students would read poems completely independent of context. In many ways, this method represented a reaction against the older philological criticism which approached historical content and context as the main job of the critic and ignored the formal qualities of poetry. Thus one could say that new criticism is not a form of social critique or historical analysis, but a type of formalism.
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