Criticism in America, Its Functions and Status: Essays

By Irving Babbitt; Van Wyck Brooks et al. | Go to book overview
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Ku Klux Kriticism1

By ERNEST BOYD

LITERARY criticism in this country has, at least, the charm of consistent irrelevancy. With English criticism it shares, of course, the fundamental irrelevancy of the moral, as opposed to the esthetic standard, and is only happy when confronted with literature that is both morally and esthetically good. In the absence of the latter quality the Anglo-Saxon critic, with rare exceptions, is consoled by the former, but in the absence of the former he is so incensed that one naturally draws the inference that the apparent appreciation of the beautiful, of the esthetically perfect, is really conditioned by an appeal to the "moral sense." Benedetto Croce has lived in vain, so far as these worthy arbiters are concerned, as his most prominent American champion recently discovered when

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1
Originally published in The Nation ( New York), June 20, 1923, and revised by the author for this collection.

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