Studies in Literature, Drama, and Film
Chapter 1. Literary Studies Between Theory and Fallacy
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LITERARY STUDIES BETWEEN THEORY AND FALLACY
While theory has long become almost indispensable to modern literary studies, fallacy is not a word that is as often heard in this context. Yet, the two are closely linked, and almost all recent theory in literary studies has contained the implication that all other approaches are somehow fallacious. One of the main purposes of this study is to show that modern theoretical approaches to literature, in their different forms, and fallacies, in their variety of ways, are inextricably linked. Almost all the new theoretical advances in the field have contained fallacies of their own while they condemned the fallacies of the other approaches.
Indeed, one of the first developments of modern literary theory in Anglo-American literary criticism, the so-called New Criticism, took its first theoretical steps by condemning two approaches to literary studies, which it labeled as the “intentional fallacy” and the “affective fallacy,” in a well-known work by Wimsatt and Beardsley, and to which it also added the more strongly worded “heresy of paraphrase”, first announced by Cleanth Brooks.
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