Anglo-American New Criticism was one of the most important movements in the twentieth century literary theories. It stressed the objectivity of a literary work of art and claimed that literary critics as well as teachers should concentrate, primarily, on the text, its linguistic structures and the ambiguities of meaning resulting from them, and only secondarily on the text´s extraliterary relationships. After the New Critics´ popularity in the early decades of the last century, in its second part they were refused as pure formalists, supposedly unable to see the real nature of a literary work in its social circumstances. The article attempts to reassess New Criticism as a movement which contributed significantly to the reading and teaching literature and claims that their importance has not diminished even in the twenty-first century.
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