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Formalism and Forms of Practice
Formalism and forms of practice
SandraKaji-O'Grady

There is no single and agreed definition of form or of formalism, but rather a series of arguments and examples spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries drawn from philosophy and applied to the criticism and practice of literature, music, the visual arts, and architecture. In its first appearance, in nineteenth-century German philosophical aesthetics, formalism was concerned with the mode of perception of forms in the absence of any meaning. It referred to a property of the seeing of objects, as Kant proposes. In the simplest terms, formalism is a methodological attitude – a mode of criticism – that derives its explanations from the formal relationships between parts of a work, be they musical notes, words, colours, ...

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