The Fugitives: A Critical Account

By John M. Bradbury | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IX
Ransom as Critic

JOHN CROWE RANSOM did not publish his first volume of critical essays until 1938, or until he was fifty years old, and then he termed the book a series of "preparations for criticism," a "sort of apprenticeship." These "preparations," however, are of a sort that few critics ever make; they are an attempt to work out a full-blown aesthetic theory from which practical criticism, of which he includes several examples, can legitimately proceed. It is true that Ransom, the most truly philosophical mind of the Fugitive group, has, like most theoreticians, become so absorbed in theory (and in editorial work) that he has been able to do less practical criticism than his admirers would like. And it is even true that his theoretical positions have forced him into what has seemed a perverse blindness to values inconsistent with them. However, The World's Body, at least, has a boldness and excitement about it that has kept it fresh where volumes by younger men have lost their edge. It rips lustily into Shakespeare as well as into Eliot. It can be lightly witty or weightily philosophic, mordantly sharp or graciously disarming; but it is likely to be always at an extremity, in the engaging manner of youth. One can understand readily that Ransom should have formed an early and lasting distaste, if only as a matter of temperament, for that oldest of young men in his generation, T. S. Eliot.

Since that first volume, much of the excitement has faded out of Ransom's writing. He has held firmly to the main lines of his dualistic thesis and he has continued to move, largely into and out of strict formalistic areas; but he has expended much of his critical energy discussing polemically the theories

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The Fugitives: A Critical Account
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Fugitives - A Critical Account *
  • Foreword *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Table of Contents *
  • Chapter I- The Beginnings *
  • Chapter II- The Fugitive *
  • Chapter III- Ransom as Poet *
  • Chapter IV- Apprentice Tate *
  • Chapter V- Other Apprentices *
  • Chapter VI- Critics and Agrarians *
  • Chapter VII- Aesthetic Formalism *
  • Chapter VIII- Tate as Critic *
  • Chapter IX- Ransom as Critic *
  • Chapter X- Tate''s Fiction *
  • Chapter XI- Tate as Poet *
  • Chapter XII- Warren as Poet *
  • Chapter XIII- Warren''s Fiction *
  • Chapter XIV- Brooks and Warren, Critics *
  • Chapter XV- Conclusion *
  • Appendix- The Minor Fugitives *
  • Selected Bibliography *
  • Index *
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