Essays of new criticism

~ A young philologist's thoughts about theology, literature, and history

Inspired by a range of new commentary reconsidering the New Criticism from critics including Jane Gallop, Terry Eagleton, Charles Altieri, and Camille Paglia , the essays in Rereading the New Criticism reevaluate the New Critical corpus, trace its legacy, and explore resources it might offer for the future of theory, criticism, and pedagogy.

Richards and William Empson, these ten essays shed new light on the genesis of the New Criticism and its significant contributions to the development of academic literary studies in North America; revisit its chief arguments and methods; interrogate received ideas about the movement; and consider how its theories and techniques might inform new methodologies for literary and cultural studies in the twenty-first century. Table of Contents.

New Criticism

Cover p. Title Page, Copyright pp. Contents pp. Acknowledgments pp. Rereading the New Criticism pp. Part I pp.

Preface pp. Instead of reading Hamlet to get clues about Shakespeare's life Did he think Queen Elizabeth was the best monarch ever?

Didn’t Get an Answer?

Was he secretly Catholic? But there's really no "just" involved in New Critics' readings. That's not giving them enough credit. They were all about studying the poem as a poem, the play as a play, and the novel as a novel. Given that you're reading this page, we bet you're already a bit of a New Critic yourself. New Criticism was developed in the early 20th century, and really got rolling in the s and '40s when more people started attending college. That's when close reading became a skill that everyone could practice and apply—regardless of background or politics.

Suddenly, people didn't need to wear a tweed coat and study history and the classics in order to read poetry and novels closely. Which was really kind of liberating. The New Critics were a great democratizing force that said: you, too, can know everything there is to know about Shakespeare. Unlike many theories that seem to have been developed for the sole purpose of stumping newcomers, New Criticism is actually pretty welcoming. So get your magnifying glasses ready, Shmoopers.

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The New Critics want you to out how this text functions. And… go. New Criticism tried to lay down some laws for reading and interpreting texts.

Critical Essay Advice: New Criticism

They wanted to make the whole activity more systematic—scientific, even. And in the process, New Criticism made literary analysis more democratic, too; power to the book-lovin' people, man. To talk about Keats's poems, you don't need to get dusty comparing different manuscript versions. You don't even need to spend years reading the history of England. Or researching different styles of 19th-century vases hoping to stumble across the model for Keats's Grecian urn.

Nope, you just need to get really up close and personal with the poems. New Criticism demands you ask yourself questions like: What ingredients make his poems good? Is it the paradoxes? The tension between different ideas? The sound of the meter and rhyme? That whole " unravish'd bride of quietness " bit? But it is true that they wanted criticism to become more objective, more technical, and more precise.

The well-trained critic should be a professional with a set of tools at his disposal, able to take apart any text, no matter how difficult or avant-garde, and show how it worked.

New Criticism

This was Ransom's demand in "Criticism, Inc. Several essays in "Praising It New" show how valuable this sort of professional approach could be.

New Criticism and Russian Formalism full explanation.

Housman, showing how much linguistic and emotional complexity lies under the surface. Hugh Kenner's "Some Post-Symbolist Structures" is still more of a tour de force, ranging through centuries of French and English poetry to demonstrate the suggestive power of Mallarme's and Yeats's distortions of syntax.

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  • Jarrell and Kenner are working with poems at opposite ends of the spectrum of difficulty, but each of them make use of the technique of close reading that the New Critics invented. If that was all they brought to their encounters with literature, we would not return to their criticism again and again, in the way that we return to poems themselves. In the best criticism, the technical merges with the ethical; skillful reading is the preliminary to thoughtful experiencing and judging. Criticism, to be truly literary, must finally be about life, the way literature is about life.


    And it is here, in their ethical bearing, that the New Critics now appear to least advantage. Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley write, in their seminal essay "The Intentional Fallacy," that "Judging a poem is like judging a pudding or a machine. One demands that it work. Yvor Winters, the most moralistic and provocative of the New Critics, says quite plainly what many of his peers imply: "The spiritual control in a poem This yearning for control is something the New Critics learned from and shared with T. But it led the New Critics to turn their criticism into a kind of moral melodrama, whose flavor can be sampled in the absurd peroration of Allen Tate's essay "Is Literary Criticism Possible? Like man's, the intolerable position of criticism has its own glory. Eliot, whose criticism is the text on which much of the New Criticism is a commentary, was never guilty of such bathos. The poet seemed to pass judgment on his epigones in advance when he wrote, as early as "When a theory of art passes it is usually found that a groat's worth of art has been bought with a million of advertisement.

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