"Ain't it a little late in the day," you ask, "to bother with criticizing the "'New' Critics?"

First of all, you shouldn't use "ain't" unless you need a rhyme for plaint. Secondly, this here Chicago School, it seems to me, clears the ground, enlightens the region, establishes some first principles, or reminds one of existing principles for which you don't need to re-invent the refrigerator magnet.

Relevant it is indeed to such contemporary issues in this wee corner of Blogistan such as:
1. how the heck can I ever read all them poetry books?
2. how can I get around that current can of ards which asserts that poets today ain't got no theory?
3. how can I get beyond this plague of simplistic labels, pigeonholes, clubs & sandwiches?
4. what is a literary critical method anyway?
5. can I be a critic too?
6. what is the relation between poetry & reading public? is it really a closed system or "guild"?

What RS Crane, for one, emphasizes, is that both Aristotle & Coleridge established grounds for evaluation on several bases, & in so doing, allowed for a criticism which resists reduction to some totalizing analogy or reductive principle (ie. Empson : poetry = linguistic ambiguity; New Formalists : poetry = traditional metrics; Language School : poetry = denatured diction). So there's a lot of poetry out there. Say you find something that grabs you, and you want to read it with certain practical purposes in mind, like mapping its territory or explicating its virtues. With some of the knowledge provided by the Chicago critics, you can begin to develop your own means & methods of evaluation & appreciation - on a vastly different, & independent, philosophic &/or aesthetic basis.

No comments: