IN the last twelve or fifteen years, side by side with the so-called "poetic Renaissance," there has developed what is probably the first fundamental discussion of the nature of criticism in American literature. The purpose of this volume is to bring together some of the more important essays representative of this discussion. The collection is not intended to be representative in any other way. The first essay dates from 1910, the last from 1923, and virtually every critical point of view is given a hearing. For permission to reprint, thanks are due to the authors of the various essays and to Messrs. Henry Holt & Co., Charles Scribner's Sons, Alfred A. Knopf, B. W. Huebsch, the Columbia University Press, and the editors of the Nation. The essays, several of which have been revised by their authors for this collection, are here arranged in chronological order.