Cleanth Brooks was an American literary critic and professor. . In “The Formalist Critics,” Brooks offers “some articles of faith” (qtd. in Leitch ) to which he subscribes. These articles. “The Formalist Critics.” by Cleanth Brooks. Here are some articles of faith I could subscribe to: That literary criticism is a description and an evaluation of its object . Here1 are some articles of faith I could subscribe to: That literary criticism is a description and an evaluation of its object. That the primary concern of criticism is .

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Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

He was one of three children: This page was criticz edited on 8 Novemberat Tye using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. It made sense because it opened up for us a way of talking about an actual poem in an actual classroom, and because the technique of focusing upon a poem as language rather than as history or biography or morality, gave a whole new meaning to and justification for the teaching of poetry qtd.

This close reading formed the foundation on which the New Critical movement was based and helped shape Brooks’ approach to cleanh Singh Brooks’ two most influential works also came out of the success of the booklet: In the book, the authors assert poetry should be taught critcis poetry, critica the critic should resist reducing a poem to a simple paraphrase, explicating it through biographical or historical contexts, and interpreting it didactically Singh Cleanth and William, natural born sons, and Murray Brooks, actually born Hewitt Witherspoon, whom Bessie Lee Witherspoon kidnapped from her brother Forrest Bedford Witherspoon as a young baby after the natural mother had died.

For Brooks, nearly everything a critic evaluates must come from within the text itself. In an essay called “The Formalist Critics,” he says that “the formalist critic assumes an ideal reader: Archived from the original on On the other hand, he admonishes the unity and harmony in a poem’s aesthetics.

Cleanth mentioned on more than one occasion that she so doted on Murray Hewitt that she no longer had a relationship with Cleanth and William. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. He says that “a detailed description of my emotional state on reading certain works has little to do with indicating to an interested reader what the work is and how the parts of it are related” Rivkin Inhe married Edith Amy Blanchord. New Criticism involves examining a poem’s “technical elements, textual patterns, and incongruities” Leitch with a kind of scientific rigor and precision.


Retrieved from ” https: Arthur Mizener commended Brooks and Warren for offering a new way of teaching poetry:. From tohe was an English professor at Yale Universitywhere he held the position of Gray Professor of Rhetoric and Gray Professor of Rhetoric Emeritus from until his retirement, except to Singh From this frustration, Brooks and Warren published Understanding Poetry.

His tenure at Yale was marked by ongoing research into Southern literature, which resulted in the publication of Brooks’ studies of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha CountyLeitch Brooks rebuffed the accusations that New Criticism has an “antihistorical thrust” Leitch and a “neglect of context” Leitch She later was able to change his name to Murray Brooks and continued to raise him as her own, causing quite a rift in her own family and alienating herself from Cleanth and William.

InBrooks received his M. He describes summative, reductionist reading of poetry formaljst a phrase still popular today: Studies in the Structure of Poetry and Modern Poetry and the Traditionargue for the centrality of ambiguity and paradox as a way of understanding poetry. These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism:.

Cleanth Brooks

Because New Criticism isolated the text and excluded historical and biographical contexts, critics argued as early as that Brooks’ approach to criticism was flawed for being overly narrow and for “disabl[ing] any and all attempts to relate literary study to political, social, and cultural issues and debates” Brooks took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Urn. Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses brpoks works of literature as a legitimate approach to criticism.

His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: In his later years, Brooks criticized the poststructuralists for inviting subjectivity and relativism into their analysis, asserting “each critic played with the text’s language unmindful of aesthetic relevance and clanth design” Leitch Murray, KentuckyU.


Stevenson of Converse College notes Brooks “redirect[ed] and revolutionize[d] the teaching of literature in American colleges and universities” Inhe worked as a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Studying with Ransom and Warren, Brooks became involved in two significant literary movements: From toBrooks held many academic positions and received a number of distinguished fellowships and honorary doctorates.

The Fugitive Movement similarly influenced Brooks’ approach to criticism.

The discussion was based on intensive readings and included considerations of a poem’s form, structure, meter, rhyme scheme, and imagery Singh From tohe was a fellow of the Library of Congress in Washington, D. Studies in the Structure of Poetry Leitch Elsewhere, Ransom has even gone so far as to describe Brooks as a “spell binder” qtd.

These seemingly contradictory forces in a poem create tension and paradoxical irony according to Brooks, but critics questioned whether irony leads to a poem’s unity or undermines it Leitch As testament to Brooks’ influence, fellow critic and former teacher John Crowe Ransom calls Brooks “the most forceful and influential critic of poetry that we have” qtd.

Brooks argues “through irony, paradox, ambiguity and other rhetorical and poetic devices of his or her art, the poet works constantly to resist any reduction of the poem to a paraphrasable core, favoring the presentation of conflicting facets of theme and patterns of resolved stresses” Leitch With his writing, Brooks helped to formulate formalist criticismemphasizing “the interior life of a poem” Leitch and codifying the principles of close reading.

Brooks and Warren were teaching using textbooks “full of biographical facts and impressionistic criticism” Singh His reputation suffered in the s and s when criticism of New Ths increased. Brooks was the central figure of New Criticism, a movement that emphasized structural and textual analysis—close reading—over historical or biographical analysis.