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Monday, July 28, 2008

'Structuralism and Literary Criticism' - Gerard Genette

Following is a note sent by Adarsh of III Year PSEng on the essay:

Ideas Dropped

Gerard Genette tries to establish differences between the following:

Bricoleur : makes use of things that are not meant for the purpose.
Engineer : makes use of things that are meant for the purpose.

Art critic : will not use a painting in the process of criticism of art.
Literary critic : only person to use the same thing (literature or writing) in the process of literary criticism.

Writer : questions the world/universe which is nothing but a 'sign' to him.
Critic : questions literature. The work, which is a sign for the writer is meaning for the critic; the view of the world is sign for the critic and meaning for the writer.
Thus, Structuralism is a method with literature as it's object. The essay tries to find the principles through which Structuralism could reach it's 'object' and thus offer itself as the 'fruitful' method (as compared to Formalism)

Genette establishes the difference between Formalism and Structuralism by citing limitations of the former and the importance of the latter.

Limitations of Formalism :

1. Only worried about word/sound/sentence. The sentence would thus be the largest form that Formalism is concerned with.
2. Unlike Structuralism, it only concerns itself with the 'codes' and not the 'messages.'
3. Content for them is not the concern.
4. Formalism treats literature as a dialect.

Importance of Structuralism :

1. Establishes the relation between the form and the message. It is concerned with the message too i.e, the bone structure.
2. Semantic phenomenon i.e, it attacks the meanings.
3. Larger unities of discourse. (systems)
System of Forms - Code
System of Meanings - Meaning
4. Study of structures wherever they occur.

Genette goes on to say that, Structuralism tries to conceive structures rather than perceive them. In other words, they think they are discovering, but are actually inventing.


rashmi said...

tat was really useful adarsh thank u!!!!!!!

rashmi said...

can u pls post something on all the essays we ve 4 the mid sem exams as soon as possible.
so tat we'll atleast b able 2 pass in ur paper...
the structuralism stuff was great i got some idea regarding it.......

some points similar to tat 4 the essays would b wonderful.. :-)

Anil Pinto said...

Hi Rashmi
I am afriad the time constraints will not permit me to post on it. But
if your classmates mail me sth. will put in on my blog.

Reg the essys you have all the essays of all modules up to
structuralism, including structuralism

rashmi said...

okay sir :-)

Adarsh said...

will try to send some more stuff to sir by tuesday or something...

Anil Pinto said...

okey, Adarsh

Shinoy Jacob said...

hats off to you Mr A Pinto, keep posting, you are a good Samaritan

Anonymous said...

thanks a lot sir....hope it ll help me in my forthcoming xams..

Anil Pinto said...

Glad it was useful. All the best for the exam.