The Emergence of American Formalism – Modern Philology – article

The Emergence of American Formalism

Dennis Yi Tenen | Modern Philology


“””Inspired by Carlo Gozzi, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and Friedrich Schiller, Polti based his taxonomy of dramatic situations, or plot devices, on some twelve hundred examples from ancient and modern literature, including the “principal dramas of China, of India, of Judea, and needless to say, of the Greek theater.” He hoped that his archetypes would function as diagnostic tools. Which plots are the “most neglected and which the most used, in each epoch, genre, school, author?”””” he asked, and “What are the reasons for these preferences”?21 Ils book concluded not only with a defense of imagination but also with an offer to generate “ten thousand scenarios totally different from those used repeatedly upon our stage in the last fifty years.” “I will deliver a thousand in eight days,” he wrote: “Prices are quoted on single dozens. Write or call. No. 19, Passage de l’Elysee des Beaux-Arts.”*”””


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