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affective fallacy

a proposition in literary criticism that a poem should be analyzed and described in terms of its own internal structure and not in terms of the emotional response it arouses in the reader.
1945-50 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Contemporary definitions for affective fallacy

in literary criticism, the theory that poetry's internal structure should be analyzed and described as opposed to its emotional effect on the reader; also, the misconception that a poem's emotional effect on the reader determines its value's 21st Century Lexicon
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Encyclopedia Article for affective fallacy

according to the followers of New Criticism, the misconception that arises from judging a poem by the emotional effect that it produces in the reader. The concept of affective fallacy is a direct attack on impressionistic criticism, which argues that the reader's response to a poem is the ultimate indication of its value

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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