A Little Formalism

General Programming

  • Department of English and Comparative Literature

This talk is a prolegomena to Macpherson's new book project, The Shape of Form, and asks: what do literary historians mean by "form"? Why has formalism been rehabilitated in recent years by suturing it to history or phenomenology, thus making form a question for—and about—human beings? What would happen if our formalism acknowledged that all matter has form? What would happen if our materialism acknowledged that form determines matter? If we can only tolerate a formalism divorced from teleology and abstraction, then is the new formalism truly formalist? The answer, Macpherson argues, is no.

The talk is free and open to the public. Seating is on a first come, first served basis.

  • Sandra Macpherson Associate Professor of English The Ohio State University