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Pertaining to emotional effects or dispositions (known in psychology as ‘affects’). Affective criticism or affectivism evaluates literary works in terms of the feelings they arouse in audiences or readers (see catharsis). It was condemned in an important essay by W. K. Wimsatt and Monroe C. Beardsley (in The Verbal Icon, 1954) as the affective fallacy, since in the view of these New Critics such affective evaluation confused the literary work's objective qualities with its subjective results. The American critic Stanley Fish has given the name affective stylistics to his form of reader‐response criticism. See also intentional fallacy.

Subjects: Literature

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