Criticism in America, Its Functions and Status: Essays

By Irving Babbitt; Van Wyck Brooks et al. | Go to book overview

Criticism1

By W. C. BROWNELL


I. Field and Function

CRITICISM itself is much criticized--which logically establishes its title. No form of mental activity is commoner, and, where the practice of anything is all but universal, protest against it is as idle as apology for it should be superfluous. The essentially critical character of formularies alleging the inferiority to books of the books about books that Lamb preferred, finding the genesis of criticism in creative failure, and so on, should of itself demonstrate that whatever objection may be made to it in practice there can be none in theory. In which case the only sensible view is that its practice should be perfected rather than abandoned. However, it is probably only in--may one say?

____________________
1
From a volume entitled Criticism, published by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1914. Of the four chapters in that volume, on "Field and Function," "Equipment," "Criterion," and "Method," the first and the last are here reprinted by permission of the publishers.

-88-

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Criticism in America, Its Functions and Status: Essays
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Prefatory Note 3
  • Contents 5
  • The New Criticism 9
  • Two Phases of Criticism: Historical And Esthetic 46
  • Criticism 88
  • The Critics and Young America 116
  • Genius and Taste 152
  • Criticism of Criticism of Criticism 176
  • The Perfect Critic 191
  • Tradition and the Individual Talent 211
  • The National Genius 228
  • Footnote on Criticism 261
  • Criticism in the United States 287
  • Ku Klux Kriticism 309
  • Appendix 321
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