Benedetto Croce’s influence pervades Anglo-Saxon culture, but, ironically, before Giovanni Gullace heeded the call of his colleagues and provided this urgently needed translation of _La Poesia, _speakers of English had no access to Croce’s major work and final rendering of his esthetic theory.__ __ _Aesthetic, _published in 1902 and translated in 1909, represents most of what the English-speaking world knows about Croce’s theory. It is, asserts Gullace, “no more than a first sketch of a thought that developed, clarified, (...) and corrected itself through new literary experience and more mature reflection.” During the 34 years between _Aesthetic _and _La Poesia _, for example, Croce added a striking new element to his thought: the analysis of prose literature. Gullace’s introduction to _La Poesia _constitutes a major undertaking in its own right. It is aimed at acquainting the reader with the evolution of Croce’s thought and at explaining the relationship between this final work and the philosopher’s previous work in esthetic theory and literary criticism. __ _La Poesia _is divided into two parts, text and postscripts. The text consists of four chapters: Poetry and Literature; The Life of Poetry; Criticism and History of Poetry; and The Formation of the Poet and the Precepts. Croce saw the postscripts “as a relaxed conversation after the tension of theoretical exposition. In Gullace’s translation the text and relevant postscripts appear conveniently side by side in a double column. Gullace has annotated both text and postscripts. (shrink)
This study explores the relationship between the poetic language of Donne, Herbert, Milton, and other British poets, and the choral music and part-songs of composers including Tallis, Byrd, Gibbons, Weelkes, and Tomkins. The seventeenth century was the time in English literary history when music was most consciously linked to words, and when the mingling of Renaissance and 'new' philosophy opened new discovery routes for the interpretation of art. McColley offers close readings of poems and the musical settings of (...) analogous texts, and discusses the philosophy, performance, and disputed political and ecclesiastical implications of polyphony. She also enters into current discourse about the nature of language, relating poets' use of language and composers' use of music to larger questions concerning the arts, politics and theology. (shrink)
Scheherazade Or the Future of the English Novel John Carruthers Originally published in 1928 "A brilliant essay…" Daily Herald A survey of contemporary fiction in England and America lends to the conclusion that the literary and scientific influences of the last fifty years have combined to make the novel of today predominantly analytic. The author argues that it has therefore gained in psychological subtlety, but lost its form and how this may be regained is put forward in the conclusion. (...) 90pp Thamyris Or Is There a Future for Poetry? R C Trevelyan Originally published in 1925 "Learned, sensible and very well-written." New Statesman This volume examines the possibilities of development for modern poetry. 90pp Saxo Grammaticus First Aid for the Best-Seller Ernest Weekley Originally published in 1930 "A very shocking collection of vile phrases from contemporary writers." Daily News Authored by the philologist Ernest Weekley, this volume represents the original emergency grammar manual for time-pressed best-selling writers. 88pp Deucalion Or the Future of Literary Criticism Geoffrey West Originally published in 1930 This book discusses the true function of criticism and asks how modern criticism is performing it. 86pp. (shrink)
The term "Philosophic lyric".--Introductory chapter.--The "return to nature"; Wordsworth's "philosophy of nature".--The period between Wordsworth and Meredith.--Wordsworth and Meredith as poets of nature.--Browning and Meredith as poets of man.--Conclusion.
Cefalu offers the first sustained assessment of the ways in which recent contemporary philosophy and cultural theory -- including the work of Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou, Eric Santner, Slavoj Žižek, and Alenka Zupancic -- can illuminate Early Modern literature and culture. The book argues that when selected Early Modern devotional poets set out to represent subject-God relations, they often encounter some sublime aspect of God that, in Slovenian-Lacanian terms, seems "Other" to himself. This divine Other, while sometimes presented directly as (...) a void or empty place, is more often filled in and presented instead as some form of divine excess. While Donne, and to a lesser extent Traherne, disavow those numinous aspects of God that might subsist beneath such excesses, Crashaw, and especially Milton, attempt to represent the intimate relationship between any creature’s and God's intrinsic alterity. Cefalu introduces new ways of theorizing not only seventeenth-century religious ideologies, but also the nature of Early Modern subjectivity. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Introduction: love after Aristotle; 1. Enjoyment: a medieval history; 2. Narcissus after Aristotle: love and ethics in Le Roman de la Rose; 3. Metamorphoses of pleasure in the fourteenth century Dit Amoureux; 4. Love's knowledge: fabliau, allegory, and fourteenth-century anti-intellectualism; 5. On human happiness: Dante, Chaucer, and the felicity of friendship; Coda: Chaucer's philosophical women.
If any emergent historical criticism will tend by its own choice toward inclusiveness and eclecticism, it is also likely to be constrained by more subtle forms of complicity with the theoretical subculture within which it seeks its audience. It is not in principle impossible that we might choose to set going an initiative that is very different indeed from the methods and approaches already in place. But is nonetheless clear that we must be aware, in some propaedeutic way, of (...) the predispositions for or against such change that are latent in the horizons of the field as they are presently conceived and transmitted. An account of these predispositions will take up most of the following essay. Whether or not the particular texts I shall discuss constitute anything as firm as an establishment in the absolute sense does not matter much: they neither sum up the ongoing careers of their particular authors, in the diachronic sense, nor do they represent any simple totality in the critical culture of the late 1960s. All we need here is the weaker assumption: that these writings by Derrida, Paul de Man, Michel Foucault, and Pierre Macherey do offer, by virtue of their very notoriety, evidence of the priorities within the discipline that have afforded them their reputations in the first place. Thus, while they do not in themselves prohibit the emergence of alternatives, they do give us clues about the residual pressures that might constrain those alternatives, and they signal the questions that the historical party must respond to if it is to be recognized as making an important contribution to a debate. My argument will be that the influential critics of the late 1960s have made it very hard indeed to find a place for history, so much so that the avowedly Marxist alternative set forth by Jameson finds itself making disabling concessions to those very influences. I do not claim to describe the entire range of options and alternatives, and indeed offer no discussion of the most excitingly contested field of all, that represented by contemporary feminisms. I mean instead to demonstrate, through a reading of those methodologies that have become authoritative, that the status of historical inquiry has been so eroded that its reactive renaissance, in whatever form, threatens to remain merely gestural and generic. “History” promises thus to function as legitimating any reference to a context beyond literature exclusively conceived, whether it be one of discourse, biography, political or material circumstance. In particular, given the current popularity of discourse analysis, it seems likely that for many practitioners the historical method will remain founded in covertly idealist reconstructions. David Simpson is professor of English and comparative literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of various books and essays, most recently The Politics of American English, 1776-1850 and Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poetry of Displacement. (shrink)
Dilemma one, Between the theoretical concepts and authorial intention -- Dilemma two, Good manners and eristic -- Dilemma three, Between strangeness and familiarity -- Dilemma four, Between scholarly research and faith.
Oscar Kenshur’s “Demystifying the Demystifiers: Metaphysical Snares of Ideological Criticism” should go a long way toward convincing most readers that the cure for “ideological” criticism is worse than the disease. His attempt to uncouple ideology and epistemology in Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan and Michael Ryan’s Marxism and Deconstruction belongs to an increasingly popular subgenre of metacriticism, the “more-historical-than-thou” offensive against Marxists and new historicists for their alleged essentialist procedures.1 There is no question that Kenshur raises significant issues about the (...) nature of ideological analysis that should be debated. However, he has neither interrogated the basis of his own assumptions about seventeenth-century views of language theory and epistemology nor convincingly demonstrated, to my mind, that Ryan is somehow wrong in his reading of Hobbes. The weakness of Kenshur’s argument is that he seems intent on erecting the windmills at which he wants to tile—most damagingly for his argument a simplistic notion of ideology that he assumes both Hobbes and Ryan share. By accepting a deterministic notion of ideology, Kenshur offers a “corrective” to overzealous claims for the significance of ideological criticism that has the effect not of “sav[ing history] from its friends” but of returning it to the status of “background” or “context” that it had been for a previous generation of New Critics. The terms in which he casts his argument—epistemology and/or ideology—redefine “ideological criticism” in a polemical manner designed, it seems, to discourage anyone from wanting to practice it. His ultimate purpose is not simply to save “history” from the Ryans of the world but to inoculate his versions of literature and philosophy against the ideological virus. To respond fully to the various issues that Kenshur raises would require detailed analyses of seventeenth-century literary and political culture and of the institutionalization of twentieth-century criticism; simply to discuss the differences between Hobbes and Ryan on epistemology or ideology would require a full-length study of the various discourses in which and against which their works are situated. Given the limitations of a critical response, I shall confine my remarks to two suspect areas of Kenshur’s argument: his characterization of seventeenth-century notions of the relationships among language, epistemology, and ideology and his assumptions about the nature of claims currently made for ideological analysis. 1. See, for example, Edward Pechter, “The New Historicism and Its Discontents: Politicizing Renaissance Drama,” PMLA 102 : 292-303. Robert Markley teaches in the English department of the University of Washington and is editor of The Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation. He is the author of Two-Edg’d Weapons: Style and Ideology in the Comedies of Etherege, Wycherley, and Congreve and coauthor, with Kenneth J. Koespel, of Newton and the Failure of Messianic Science: A Postmodern Inquiry into the Discourses of Natural Philosophy. (shrink)
Questions could and should be raised about the political profile of English Romanticism both in particular and in general. Wordsworth’s poetry is especially useful to me here because of the way in which, through formal discontinuities, it dramatizes political conflicts. Reacting against these discontinuities, aesthetically minded critics have simply tended to leave out of the canon those poems which have the greatest capacity to help us become aware of a political poetics. In this respect it may well be (...) that Wordsworth is the most stylistically perverse of the Romantic poets. Not the most difficult to read, necessarily—Percy Bysshe Shelley’s breath-suspending songs and William Blake’s determination to produce “variety in every line” with the aim of unfettering poetry surely make more aggressive and obvious demands on the reader.1 But in these cases we can be reasonably sure that the difficulties are part of a conscious and coherent intention to set imagination to work in kindling sparks from ashes. Wordsworth also set out to do this, and we can agree that he did so with some success in some poems. But critics from Samuel Taylor Coleridge onward have rightly questioned the unity of Wordsworth’s canon in this respect. In Biographia Literaria, Coleridge notices the “inconstancy of the style,” an unevenness and a general inability to satisfy the demands of “good poetry” conceived as something possessing an organic form.2 This concern with a wholeness and consistency of artifice is more Coleridge’s than Wordsworth’s, and it seems to me that it is precisely the disjunctions in the poems that embody some of their most original and historically urgent meanings. The blemishes recorded by Coleridge—alternating and dissimilar states of feeling, overminuteness in description, and obsession with “accidental circumstances” , overuse of the dramatic mode, disproportion of thought to event, and so forth—can in fact serve as eloquent signals for discerning the complexities of the poems as they address a historical crisis in consensus embodied exactly in the unstable vehicle of the Wordsworthian speaker.3 3. I have explored the “formal” implications of this crisis in Irony and Authority in Romantic Poetry , and the terms of its historical discourse in Wordsworth and the Figurings of the Real . David Simpson is professor of English at Northwestern University. He is the author of Irony and Authority in Romantic Poetry , Wordsworth and the Figurings of the Real , and Fetishism and Imagination: Dickens, Melville, Conrad and editor of German Aesthetic and Literary Criticism: Kant, Fichte, Schelling, Schopenhauer, Hegel. (shrink)
This review was first published in Modern Language Quarterly : A Journal of Literary History, in Volume 74, Issue 3 | September 2013. Meredith MARTIN. The Rise and Fall of Meter : Poetry and English National Culture, 1860 – 1930. Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, 2012. 274 pp. At the turn of the twentieth century, Robert Bridges made newspaper headlines with Milton's Prosody for attempting to renovate England's increasingly simplified notions of meter by justifying the supposed (...) - Recensions. (shrink)
To see what might be at stake in the question of Pope’s place in the poetic canon—in the question as such, before anything is said of critical theory—we must understand that late eighteenth-century England was developing a different sort of canon from the one which Pope and the Augustans had in view. As everyone knows, Pope’s classics were, well, classical. His pantheon was populated with poets of another place and time whose stature was globally recognized. One recalls the tribute to (...) these “Bards triumphant” in An Essay on Criticism : Still green with Bays each ancient Altar stands, Above the reach of Sacrilegious Hands, Secure from Flames, from Envy’s fiercer Rage, Destructive War, and all-involving Age. See, from each Climes the Learn’d their Incense bring; Hear, in all Tongues consenting Paeans ring! In Praise so just, let ev’ry Voice be join’d, And fill the Gen’ral Chorus of Mankind!14Pope’s song of praise here forms just a part of mankind’s “Gen’ral Chorus.” These are poets for all climates and languages, and for all nations, even “Nations unborn” and “Worlds…that must not yet be found” . Although I want to place adequate stress on Pope’s deep commitment to this universalized canon, it would be misleading to suggest that he was completely uninterested in the poetry of his own nation. He studied it an imitated it. He even sketched a plan for a possible history of poetry in England. It is to the point here, however, that this project remained only a sketch and that England would have no major overview of its national accomplishment until the 1770s and 1780s, when Thomas Warton issued the first three volumes of his pioneering History of EnglishPoetry, and Johnson, his Lives of the English Poets.Building on the scholarship of René Wellek, Lawrence Lipking has offered a compelling account of the emergence of these great works at that time, buy reference to the “interested and demanding public” that called for them.15 What the public wanted and got, Lipking explains, “was a history of Englishpoetry, or a survey of English poets, that would provide a basis for criticism by reviewing the entire range of the art. Warton and Johnson responded to a national desire for an evaluation of what English poets had achieved” . Such terms are most useful, although “evaluation” connotes a greater degree of neutrality than even Lipking’s own subsequent analysis permits. For example, among the public needs served by such work as Johnson’s and Warton’s, Lipking lists the “patriotic” and the “political” as primary. These needs are obviously related. The patriotic need expresses itself as a hunger for “a glorious national poetic pantheon” ; that is, for a specifically national rather than a global canon of classics. Such a canon would in turn serve political purposes that Lipking sees motivating “the poets” of mid-century, Thomson and Akenside and Collins and Gray and Mason and Smart,” who all “wrote variations on the mythopolitical them of Milton: sweet Liberty, the nymph who had freed English pens to outstrip the cloistered conservative rule-bound verses of less favored nations.” Politically, in other words, and this is the crucial point, “English literary history was shaped by the need for a definition of the superiority of the national character” . James Chandler, assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago, is the author of Wordsworth’s Second Nature: A Study of the Poetry and Politics . His previous contribution to Critical Inquiry was “Romantic Allusiveness”. (shrink)
Literary criticism is neither more nor less important today than it has been since the becoming an accepted activity in the Renaissance. The humanists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries created the institution of criticism as we know it: the recovery and analysis of works of art. They printed, edited, and interpreted texts that dated from antiquity and which had been lost or disheveled. Evangelical in their fervor, avid in their search for lost or buried riches, they also (...) put into circulation certain influential ideas. Perhaps the most important of these was that the authoritative version of a book is the original version, freed from interpolation and accretion. A correlative idea was that, similarly, one could rely on an original or natural light in the interpreter, an intuitive good sense that helped him to a true understanding of a text if it was a genuine text. . . . There are signs that we are now nearing the end of this Renaissance humanism. Not because of a determinist or providential march of history, but ideas eventually exhaust what influence they may have. Today, after all, there is no dearth of ancient texts, or of new ones. Editing, moreover, has become only too conscious of the difficulty of recovering an "original" version or edition: in Wordsworth scholarship, for example, the authority of the 1850 Prelude, the text approved by the poet shortly before his death, was challenged by the 1805-6 Prelude printed by de Sélincourt in the 1920s; and the authority of this is in turn being eroded by antecedent manuscripts, the so-called "Five-Books Prelude" and "Two-Part Prelude." It is equally precarious to establish the text of Emily Dickinson's poems—which of the variants are to be chosen as definitive? Or, from another angle, Melville's Billy Budd has become a mine for genetic speculation. Even when no editorial problem exists, a philosophical issue arises as to the concept of originality itself.1 · 1. For the time being, it is enough to quote Hegel's provocative attack on all "Ur-Metaphysics": "What comes later is more concrete and richer; the first is abstract, and least differentiated." Geoffrey Hartman, professor of English and comparative literature at Yale University, is the author of The Unmediated Vision, Andre Malraux, Wordsworth's Poetry, Beyond Formalism, and most recently The Fate of Reading. He is currently working on a book to be published in late 1977, Criticism in the Wilderness. (shrink)
Miller undermines traditional ideas and beliefs about language, literature, truth, meaning, consciousness, and interpretation. In effect, he assumes the role of unrelenting destroyer—or nihilistic magician—who dances demonically upon the broken and scattered fragments of the Western tradition. Everything touched soon appears torn. Nothing is ever finally darned over, or choreographed for coherence, or foregrounded as magical illusion. Miller, the relentless rift-maker, refuses any apparent repair and rampages onward, dancing, spell-casting, destroying all. As though he were a wizard, he appears in (...) the guise of a bull-deconstructer loose in the china shop of Western tradition. Vincent B. Leitch, associate professor of English at Mercer University, is the editor of Robert Southwell's Marie Magdalens Funeral Teares and The Poetry of Estonia: Essays in Comparative Analysis. Sections of the present essay will appear in his The Poetics of Deconstruction, which offers a critical history and anatomy of deconstructive criticism. (shrink)
This book features readings of over twenty key texts and authors in Western poetry and philosophy, including Homer, Plato, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare and Rousseau. Simon Haines argues that the history of both can be seen as a struggle between two different conceptions of the self: the "romantic" vs. the "realist".
This book presents an innovative analysis of the role of imagination as a central concept in both literary and art criticism. Dee Reynolds brings this approach to bear on works by Rimbaud, Mallarme;, Kandinsky, and Mondrian. It allows her to redefine the relationship between Symbolism and abstract art, and to contribute new methodological perspectives to comparative studies of poetry and painting. The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was a crucial period in the emergence of new modes of (...) representation, and is currently at the forefront of critical enquiry. This is the first book to examine Symbolism and abstraction in this way, and the first to treat these poets and painters together. It is an original contribution to interdisciplinary scholarship in art history, literary history, and comparative aesthetics. (shrink)
The encroachment of globalization and demands for greater regional autonomy have had a profound effect on the way we picture Ireland. This challenging new look at the key of sovereignty asks us how we should think about the identity of a postnationalist' Ireland. Richard Kearney goes to the heart of the conflict over demand for communal identity - traditionally expressed by nationalism, and the demand for a universal model of citizenship - traditionally expressed by republicanism. In so doing, he asks (...) us to question whether the sacrosanct concept of absolute national sovereignty is becoming a luxury ill afforded in the emerging new Europe. Kearney then takes us beyond the political with chapters on the influence of philosophers such as George Berkeley, John Toland and John Tyndall and looks at some of the myths in Irish poetry and nationhood. Postnationalist Ireland provides a recasting of contemporary Irish politics, culture, literature and philosophy and will appeal to students of these subjects and Irish studies in general. (shrink)
The third of a century between the late 1680s and the early 1720s—a time when a vast number of prolific poets flourished—is almost completely overlooked in literary history, perhaps because there was no single poetic leader and no dominant direction in the poetry. But it was a very fertile period in poetry, with many talented poets and many potential directions that did not develop into dominant trends. Because literary history almost inevitably looks at dominant directions, it (...) tends to pass over not only individual poets who don't quite fit, but also poetic kinds and directions that don't turn out to be the winning ones. One valuable poetic mode in this period is what we might call the fallen, or disappointed, or misdirected lyric—exemplified most notably by Matthew Prior but also created by a host of other poets (Egerton, Chudleigh, Dixon, Hill, and Swift, for example). “Lost” years between distinct eras or directions also raise larger questions about the premises and practices of literary history itself. (shrink)
Literate Experience argues for the existence of certain shared patterns of intellectual association in the English seventeenth century, patterns that follow the outlines of Bacon’s project of epistemological reform. Bacon’s project offered a theory of how knowing as a private act could be transformed into a public one, an act related to the creation and maintenance of public authority. The question thus becomes, how did thinkers in the period reimagine civil society as a polity of knowledge? This study traces (...) out a variety of answers to that question, ranging from the Royal Society’s communal rhetoric to the work of four literary writers who, in a variety of ways, problematize the notion that political society exists as a community of shared knowledge. (shrink)
Marcel Duchamp once asked whether it is possible to make something that is not a work of art. This question returns over and over in modernist culture, where there are no longer any authoritative criteria for what can be identified (or excluded) as a work of art. As William Carlos Williams says, “A poem can be made of anything,” even newspaper clippings.At this point, art turns into philosophy, all art is now conceptual art, and the manifesto becomes the distinctive genre (...) of modernism. This book takes seriously this transformation of art into philosophy, focusing upon the systematic interest that so many European philosophers take in modernism. Among the philosophers Gerald Bruns discusses are Theodor W. Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Arthur Danto, Stanley Cavell, Hans-Georg Gadamer, Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Jacques Derrida, Jean-François Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe, and Emmanuel Levinas.As Bruns demonstrates, the difficulty of much modern and contemporary poetry can be summarized in the idea that a poem is made of words, not of any of the things that we use words to produce: meanings, concepts, propositions, narratives, or expressions of feeling. Many modernist poets have argued that in poetry language is no longer a form of mediation but a reality to be explored and experienced in its own right. But what sort of experience, philosophically, might this be? The problem of the materiality or hermetic character of poetic language inevitably leads to questions of how philosophy itself is to be written and what sort of communitydefines the work of art—or, for that matter, the work of philosophy.In this provocative study, Bruns answers that the culture of modernism is a kind of anarchist community, where the work of art is apt to be as much an event or experience—or, indeed, an alternative form of life—as a formal object. In modern writing, philosophy and poetry fold into one another. In this book, Bruns helps us to see how. (shrink)
Nasir-i Khusraw is a major literary figure in medieval Persian culture. He was a Muslim philosopher, poet, travel writer, and Ismaili da'i who lived a thousand years ago in the lands known today as Afghanistan, Iran, and Tajikistan. Although known in the West mainly for his Safarnama, or travelogue, which describes his seven-year journey from Khurasan, in the eastern Islamic lands, to Cairo, the city of the Fatimid imam-caliphs, his poetry and ideas are less familiar. Yet, over the centuries, (...) Persian-speaking lands have consistently ranked him as one of the finest poets of all time. But today, even among those who know Nasir-i Khusraw's poetry, few understand the philosophical and Ismaili concepts the poet expounds. And while mystical and epic genres of Persian poetry are memorized and studied, the genre of philosophical poetry in Persian remains basically unexplored. This collection of studies seeks to redress the balance. Originally presented at a conference at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London in 2005 to commemorate the millenary of Nasir-i Khusraw's birth, the papers published here examine his poetry both for philosophical meaning and poetic method. They address a variety of topics, ranging from metaphysics, cosmology, and ontology to prophecy, as well as rhythm and structure, and analysis of individual poems and authorship. (shrink)
In these essays, appearing for the first time in English, Gadamer addresses practical questions about recent politics in Europe, about education and university reform, and about the role of poetry in the modern world. This book also includes a series of interviews that the editors conducted in 1986. Gadamer elaborates on his experiences in education and politics, touching on the collapse of the Weimar Republic, the early Frankfurt School, Heidegger and the Nazis, university life in East Germany, and (...) the prospects for Europe in the coming years. Hans-Georg Gadamer was probably Heidegger’s leading interpreter in Germany, and in the 1950s and 1960s he became the world’s leading exponent of hermeneutics. His hermeneutical theory explains how it is that ancient art and philosophy still speak to us today. His influential idea of the “fusion of horizons” also shows how it is that we understand what is remote form our own culture. (shrink)