A concept that likens literary works to living organisms forming themselves by a process of ‘natural’ growth. The doctrine of organic form, promoted in the early 19th century by S. T. Coleridge and subsequently favoured by American New Criticism, argues that in an artistic work the whole is more than the mere sum of its component parts, and that form and content fuse indivisibly in an ‘organic unity’. It rejects as ‘mechanical’ the neoclassical concept of conformity to rules, along with the related assumption that form or style is an ‘ornament’ to a pre-existing content. It tends to be hostile to conceptions of genre and convention, as it is to the practice of paraphrase. Carried to a dogmatic conclusion, its emphasis on unity condemns any literary analysis as a destructive abstraction; this attitude is sometimes referred to as organicism.