The Critic's Notebook

The Critic's Notebook

The Critic's Notebook

The Critic's Notebook

Excerpt

The Critic's Notebook consists of notes which I collected in trying to search out the ways in which a literary work can be viewed and theory criticized. I was concerned with finding out -- to quote F. R. Leavis phrase -- "how to talk to the point about poems, novels, and plays, and how to promote intelligent and profitable discussion of them."

Theoretical discussion should be cross-checked by textual analysis; theory and opinion specifically applied to literary examples. To talk to the point about the literary text requires both theoretical and technical thinking. Technical thinking begins in scrutinizing the poem in terms of the critical questions it raises, or conversely, in demonstrating the critical answers in terms of the poem. Though my quotations have to do principally with poetic and critical theory, they include some specimens of "practical" criticism.

For example, the text and an interpretation of Allen Tate's poem "The Subway" are presented to illustrate John Crowe Ransom's discussion of the problem of intentions. The problem is . . .

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