The classy and Decadent stream of the past due nineteenth century spawned the assumption of "Art for Art's Sake," challenged aesthetic criteria and stunned the bourgeosie. From Walter Pater's research, "The Renaissance to Salome, the actually decadent collaboration among Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley, Karl Beckson has selected a whole spectrum of works that chronicle the British creative success of the Eighteen Nineties. during this revised version of a vintage anthology, "The Ballad of interpreting Gaol" has been integrated in its entirety; the bibliography has been thoroughly up-to-date; Professor Beckson's notes and statement were elevated from the 1st version released in 1966. The so-called Decadent or Aesthetic interval is still probably the most attention-grabbing within the heritage of the humanities. The poetry and prose of such writers as Yeats, Wilde, Symons, Johnson, Dowson, Barlas, Pater and others are integrated during this assortment, in addition to 16 of Aubrey Beardsley's drawings.
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What this leads to is a kind of criticism that attempts to measure the psychological effects of a given work, and such activity, they argue, invariably ‘ends in impressionism and relativism’ (21). Given this statement, we can see that impressionism and relativism are the very things that Wimsatt and Beardsley wish to fight against. It is their desire to fix the meaning or emotional content of a poem, to make their evaluation of it as beautiful withstand the everchanging forces of culture and history.
Formalist Criticism 37 Yet if postmodern theory has done anything at all, it has, at the very least, opened up space for the proliferation of critical voices. Rather than searching for a univocal reading of a literary text – an act championed by more than just the New Critics – postmodernism insists that there can be no single reading of a work, only endless multiplicities. Such freedom, however, does not necessarily lead to complete relativism; judgements of literary texts and literary criticism are still bound by discourse communities: there remain valid and invalid interpretations based upon the accepted framework of the given community.
To this end, Brooks contends in ‘Irony as a Principle of Structure’ that the poet risks direct communication when using metaphor, yet the potential gains in the use of metaphor make such a risk more than justifiable. Brooks suggests that formalist criticism, while fraught with paradox, bridges the gap between the concrete, detailed workings of the poem and what the poem says in terms of content, opening a space for a different form of communication, as metaphor does in the making of a poem. ‘The concrete particulars with which the poet loads himself,’ Brooks asserts, ‘seem to deny the universal to which he aspires.
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