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Write a critical note on the formalistic approach to literature.

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vijayags | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 8, 2011 at 8:25 PM via web

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Write a critical note on the formalistic approach to literature.

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neneta | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 9, 2011 at 12:19 AM (Answer #1)

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Russian Formalism is an intrinsic approach to literature that flourished in Russia around the 1920’s.

The Russian formalists argued that the literary text should be studied as a collection of devices without any reference to historical, social, biographical, or other contexts. Instead, the literary work should be defined by its form and devices.

Here are some of the important concepts concerning Russian Formalism:


Literary language is different from ordinary language because it prevents the habitual or automatic perception of objects, ideas and experiences. Thus, literary language uses devices to make what is familiar seem strange and unfamiliar in order to heighten the reader’s awareness of the text.


It refers to the “raw material” of what is told to the reader, the events in the order they happen.


It refers to the “artistic” presentation of the story, which can depict the events in chronological order or can present them out of order.

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