Literature and Film as Modern Mythology

By William K. Ferrell | Go to book overview

PART V
CLOSURE

When we began, our objective was to perform as amateur critics of both contemporary novel and film. Our mode of criticism was to treat those novels and films as modern mythology, representing Western culture since the mid-twentieth century. As a perspective, we have imposed one form of critical assessment--a formula using a natural base from which contemporary literature forms a relationship with other literature covering other times and places.

One very important aspect is becoming aware that art, whether visual or conceptual, is always in motion. Even when we look at one representation, it is not only reflective of the time in which it is produced, but has a connection to both past and present forms through its mode and archetype. Archetypal criticism has its share of critics. Among other forms and theories of criticism are the purely formalist, which focuses on the literal structure and form (plot, characters, conflict, etc.) of the written text, and the psychological, which may stem from a Freudian or Jungian base, or may try to get into the mind of the author, analyzing the relationship between his or her biographical experiences and the action and characters within the novel and later the film. In historical analysis, the novel or film is placed within a context of history and evaluated on the basis of its verisimilitude or lack of it. A dominant theory among modern literary scholars is structuralism, which is based on its semiology in both literature and film. As the name implies, it separates the media into composite structures. "At its simplest, it claims that the nature of every element in any given situation has no significance by itself, and in fact is determined by its relationship to

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