PREFACE

LITERARY CRITICISM was once only a part-time activity. The earliest critics, such as Plato and Aristotle, dealt with it only among many intellectual exercises. And, across the ages, criticism remained an incidental or secondary function. In the eighteenth century, for example, Dr. Johnson was a great critic, but many other things as well; in the nineteenth, Matthew Arnold, however we may rate his work now, was principally a poet and only afterward a critic. But in our own age, criticism has become a full-time writing occupation, even when the writer practicing it belongs to a special group. Examples of men who devote themselves entirely to criticism are too numerous to need mention here.

Andor Gomme, author of this book, is one of the many in all countries who write literary criticism from an academic base. He teaches at Keele University, which was the first of the newer group of English institutions to begin operations after the Second World War; Keele dates from 1949. Mr. Gomme, who has also taught in the United States, has distinguished himself as a critic and reviewer. In the present volume he undertakes an examination of various critical theories: the intention of his study, he says, "is not to add yet another to the welter of critical theories generally

-v-

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Attitudes to Criticism
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Crosscurents Modern Critiques i
  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction xi
  • 1 - The Possibility of Relevance 3
  • 2 - Strategic Selection: Criticism by Choice of Terms 38
  • 3 - The Rationalist Ideal 66
  • 4 - The Limits of Relevance 101
  • Appendix A Burke's Method in Action 139
  • Appendix B Winters and Eliot 145
  • Notes 153
  • Index 171
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