Russian Formalism And New Criticism
What are the main differences between russian formalism and new criticism?
i've searched a lot but can only find similarities..
As you correctly note, Russian Formalism and New Criticism have many similarities, as both are part of the early twentieth-century formalist movement. In both schools of thought, the text itself is paramount and is studied independently of its context or author's intent. Literary language is thought of as distinct from ordinary language, and the form and structure of the text are considered to provide more meaning than the content itself. These schools of criticism are most commonly applied to poetry and encourage very close reading.
However, there are several distinct differences between the two schools of thought. In Russian Formalism, a differentiation is made between form and content, whereas New Criticism does not make such a differentiation, maintaining that texts are unified through their patterns, literary devices, themes, etc. Russian Formalism also affords some importance to the text's language and structure, whereas New Criticism considers a text to be completely self-contained, autonomous of its fabric. Furthermore, in Russian Formalism, a process called "dematerialization" was privileged, wherein reality of fact is created through the use of language.
The Russian Formalists maintained that literary texts make use of language in such a way that it becomes strange and unfamiliar in a given context. They called this process “defamiliarization”. Thus, words can suddenly appear “strange” when placed in a “literary context” or combined with other ones. This preoccupation with words made the formalists to distinguish between form and content. For the formalists, only form mattered since content, such as ideas, feelings or human experience, was just an excuse to organize language in a literary way. Hence, a formalist approach of a text enables the reader to undertake an attentive close reading.
The New Critics also focused on the text and argued that literary language is connotative, and thereafter it evokes deep and secondary meanings. Thus, New Criticism also provides the reader to a close study of texts. However, they did not insist on the separation of form and content. Instead, literary texts were seen as works unified by their devices, motifs, themes, and patterns. Furthermore, their emphasis on the text’s internal unity made them to concentrate on individual texts, whereas the Russian Formalists were more interested in general literary devices or/and entire genres.
In addition, it is important to notice that both schools developed in different times and places and made different assumptions about literature-Russian Formalism originated in Russia before the Bolshevik revolution and New Criticism flourished in USA by the late 1930s, and thereby it extended to England.