From Shakespeare to Joyce: Authors and Critics; Literature and Life

From Shakespeare to Joyce: Authors and Critics; Literature and Life

From Shakespeare to Joyce: Authors and Critics; Literature and Life

From Shakespeare to Joyce: Authors and Critics; Literature and Life

Excerpt

The essays or studies in this collection, traversing so wide a field, are, necessarily, rather independent and self- contained. The reader of a discussion of Milton, near the end of the book, cannot fairly be expected to have read, in order, all the preceding ones, from Shakespeare to Joyce. Consequently, though by cross reference I have endeavored to reduce it, there is some repetition. For the point of view is identical: that a work of art does not (miraculously) change as the criticism changes, that there is meaning (either sense or a consistent nonsense) in poetry (or it isn't poetry), that there is truth in criticism (or it isn't criticism), and that the criterion for this is the conscious or unconscious intention of the author. As in my previous writings, I have endeavored to hold by Pope's principles in the verses I have repeatedly echoed:

A perfect Judge will read each work of Wit
With the same spirit that its author writ.

In every work regard the writer's end . . .

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