Tuesday, August 5, 2008

When Lit Crit Mattered

James Seaton gave a review of Garrett Davis's collection "Praising it New" in this weekend's WSJ with the article When Lit-Crit Mattered, and discussed the relevance of The New Critics. I am impressed by the opening sentences of Mr. Seaton's review, when he reminds us that literature, including poetry, was very much alive and a part of the culture just some 50 or 60 years ago. This was before I was born, but I find those times exciting and often imagine that I would have ended up a Beatnik for sure. ::snap, snap::

But seriously, there are many schools of thought when it comes to not only writing, but reading, interpretting and teaching poetry. I'm eager to read about The New Critics and how they viewed literature. Just to leave you with a taste:

"The New Critics...thought that the study of literature -- especially poetry -- was a valuable activity because, as Allen Tate put it, "the full language of the human situation can be the vehicle of truth."


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