The New Criticism: An Anthology of Modern Aesthetics and Literary Criticism

The New Criticism: An Anthology of Modern Aesthetics and Literary Criticism

The New Criticism: An Anthology of Modern Aesthetics and Literary Criticism

The New Criticism: An Anthology of Modern Aesthetics and Literary Criticism

Excerpt

This book is intended to serve as an introduction to the new theories of æsthetics. Under the stimulus of science, æsthetics has ceased to be a minor branch of idealistic philosophy, included in the last section of a ponderous work to give it an appearance of completeness. Pragmatic philosophy and the empirical method of psychology have removed it from the realm of dialectic. Its principles are now being deduced, it seems to many, for the first time since Aristotle, from the habits of working and the work of the artists themselves.

A subject so new may be consistent in its methods of investigation. It will scarcely have reached dogmatic conclusions. This book, consequently, has not attempted to impose an artificial unity upon its material. Its selections have been clipped bodily from those portions of an author's writings in which his ideas have seemed to flow with greatest originality. They have been reprinted without omission or adaptation. Some, rich in footnotes, are obviously from textbooks. Most are from treatises of more general appeal. What they have in common is neither their style nor their conclusions, but their attitude towards the subject. Despite a wide diversity of background and experience, the authors of these papers are at one in their general point of view. Bosanquet and Croce are primarily philosophers. Richards is steeped in psychology. Haldane is a biologist. A majority of them are literary critics. But they are critics who are seek-

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