“In reflective art, the form of the work of art is present in an emphatic way.
The effect of the spectator’s being aware of the form is to elongate or to retard the emotions. For, to the extent that we are conscious of form in a work of art, we become somewhat detached; our emotions do not respond in the same way as they do in real life.
Awareness of form does two things simultaneously: it gives a sensuous pleasure independent of the “content,” and it invites the use of intelligence. It may be a very low order of reflection which is, invited, as, for instance, by the narrative form (the interweaving of the four separate stories) of Griffith’s Intolerance. But it is reflection, nonetheless.
The typical way in which “form” shapes “content” in art is by doubling, duplicating. Symmetry and the repetition of motifs in painting, the double plot in Elizabethan drama, and rhyme schemes in poetry are a few obvious examples.”