The Kenyon Critics: Studies in Modern Literature from the Kenyon Review

By John Crowe Ransom | Go to book overview

does not penetrate, he cannot sympathize. Jason-Medea, Medea Kreon, Nurse-Medea: every one of the great agons goes shrill. The fact that this is not a translation, but a restatement, is irrelevant. He has chosen to retell one of the great stories of our heritage, but the result would have been as false if he had invented it all.

It is silly to talk about the Greek tragic poets as though they were bloodless golden creatures, moving with perfect poise through landscaped asphodel and bearing aloft that banner with the sad device MEDEN AGAN. We need no Aristophanes come back from the grave to tell us how often and how ludicrously they nodded. But it is equally false to treat them as though they were creatures of our own unbelieving suicidal age. Numberless are the world's wonders, sings Sophocles in the First Ode of Antigonê; and adds, but none more wonderful than man. It is this religious sense of the wonder of man that lifts the Medea of Euripides above the bloody fable that was its source. It recognizes the essential oneness of God and man; it represents that divine Philanthropy which informs the greatest art of Hellas.

Paul Goodman


TARDY AND PARIAL RECOGNITION

After fifty years, judging by continual revival among the literate and semi-literate, we probably must take Wilde to be the chief English general man of letters of his age. To this there is no doubt cause to sigh Hélas ("Hugo, hélas!") -- yet there is the

____________________
A review of Oscar Wilde by Edouard Roditi ( New York: New Directions Press, 1948).

-312-

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The Kenyon Critics: Studies in Modern Literature from the Kenyon Review
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Essays 1
  • The Sorrows Of Thomas Wolfe 3
  • Pure And Impure Poetry 12
  • Myth And Dialectic in the Later Novels Of Henry James 17
  • Kafka's Distorted Mask 58
  • Joyce's Ulysses and the French Public 75
  • Robartes And Aherne: Two Sides of a Penny 88
  • The Stone And The Crucifixion: Faulkner's - Light in August 115
  • Emotions In Poems 127
  • Monsieur Verdoux As Theatre 138
  • The Good Ford 151
  • Parody And Critique: Notes on Thomas Mann's - Doctor Faustus 182
  • Novel into Film: - All the King's Men 225
  • Wordsworth And the Iron Time 233
  • Book Reviews 253
  • The Loud Hill Of Wales 255
  • Q's Revisions 259
  • The Whole Of Housman 263
  • Neither Historian nor Critic 267
  • The Humble Animal 277
  • Satan And Denis De Rougemont 281
  • The Everlasting Mr. Huxley 289
  • Dry Watershed 298
  • The Hellenism Of Robinson Jeffers 307
  • The Cost Of Distraction 312
  • Aristocracy And/Or Christianity 324
  • Bibliography 341
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