Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn. (1947)
In this collection of essays, Brooks explains the theory and
principles of the formalist approach to literature. Brooks
demonstrates the formalist method through his analytical close
reading of a number of poems, through which he shows how each part
must be understood within the context of the "organic whole" of the
work. He argues that the meaning of a poem cannot be paraphrased,
since content and form are inseparable.
Schorer, Mark. The World We Imagine. (1968)
This collection includes "Technique as Discovery" and "Fiction and
the Analogical Matrix'", in which Schorer
demonstrates that the formalist approach is as applicable to
fictional prose as it is to poetry. By way of examples, Schorer
explores the interactive and inextricable relationship between the
themes and the language, point of view, and metaphors in various
Spurlin, William J., and Michael Fischer, eds. The New
Criticism and Contemporary Literary Theory: Connections and
This collection brings together essays by the original proponents
of formalist criticism (including Cleanth Brooks, John Crowe
Ransom, and Robert Penn Warren) and essays by late 20th century
literary critics, who reflect on the impact, evolution, and
contemporary relevance of formalism.
Formalism or The New Criticism
This site provides an overview of Formalist Criticism, including a
short discussion of the philosophical assumptions of Formalism,
characteristics of Formalist analysis, summaries of important
Formalist essays, and sample student assignment.
The Literary Explorer
A helpful overview of many types of critical approaches, including formalism.
How to Use Formalist Tools to Analyze
This page presents a six-step process to formalist analysis.
New Criticism Explained
A concise, point-form overview of the assumptions, major figures,
and contentious elements of New Criticism.