Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic

Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic

Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic

Benedetto Croce: Philosopher of Art and Literary Critic

Excerpt

Modern literary criticism is feeling more and more the need of going back to fundamentals. In the critical analysis of poetry and of imaginative literature it is now considered necessary to bring up and discuss the basic assumptions upon which critical judgments are founded, to analyze the general concept of poetry and to redefine it in terms which are valid for contemporary experience. The question of what constitutes poetic quality, of the structure and texture of poetry, the relations between poetry and the drama, the foundations of judgment for the novel, and so forth, have been taken up as indispensable premises to the analysis of particular works and to the assessment of a writer's stature.

As a result, contemporary criticism, especially in the United States, seems to concern itself with general issues just as much as with practical criticism. This may be seen in the fact that most collections of modern criticism contain a considerable proportion of discussion of general principles besides analyses of single writers and single works. The critics seem to go more and more into what was once called poetics and into what is still called aesthetics.

Many of the barriers that fenced in traditional academic scholarship have been broken down. One of them was a big "No entry" sign posted over the road that led to philosophical speculation. The good scholar was supposed to deal only with "facts" and avoid "ideas." But in their search for ultimates, more and more modern critics feel that they have to venture upon . . .

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