Science and Literary Criticism

Science and Literary Criticism

Science and Literary Criticism

Science and Literary Criticism

Excerpt

The first two essays in Part Two, though written considerably earlier, have been published in The Realist (June 1929) and the Canadian journal Queen's Quarterly (May 1933) respectively. The only non-trivial changes are the insertions of the footnotes on pages 117and 176. The last essay, written about the same period, and Part One, which is more recent, now appear for the first time.

I much regret the frequency, in the first part of the book, of adverse comment on the work of other writers. This comes not from choice but from necessity. I dislike making general statements unsupported by examples, and since my thesis is mainly, first, that all attempts to make criticism scientific in the present state of knowledge must fail, and second, that criticism has sometimes committed errors that might have been avoided if advantage had been taken of certain general principles commonly observed in scientific thought -- it is inevitable that the examples should be almost entirely of what I regard as mistakes. I take this opportunity of stressing the fact that I intend no general comment whatever on the work of the critics cited, to most of whom I am indebted for much pleasure and profit.

It should be added that, throughout the book, 'criticism' means 'criticism of literature.'

HERBERT DINGLE

London August 1947 . . .

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