By James Soderholm

This name to revive a feeling of attractiveness to our tradition will serveas a bellwether of the way forward for literary reports. good looks and the Critic brings jointly well-knownmembers of the literary academy to reassert the significance of "aestheticcriticism" and the therapy of literature as artwork. The members are responding to what the editor calls"the banality of partisanship of literary feedback during this country."The universal concentration is a shared suspicion of critics who're merely interestedin decreasing authors and their works to ideological parts, thereby mostlyignoring what makes their writings distinct as artworks. This focus,however, in no way represents a curmudgeonly response or a united front.Indeed, the collection's power is exactly its wealthy variety evenas the individuals fight with favourite difficulties in modern criticism,including the matter of the expanding distance among the language ofthe professoriate and the language of the final reader. This number of essays through its very nature does notpresent an answer to the matter yet demonstrates that critics nonetheless havemany how you can process literature that attend to its extraordinary idiom andits special fulfillment. The essays recommend that the career ofliterature is present process a sea switch, now not inevitably for the better,and that renowned types of interpretation became rote, shopworn conventions--techniquesthat substitute inspiration instead of convey it. James Soderholm and his colleaguesinvite us to revive a feeling of good looks and a feeling of dignity to the studyof literature.

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Again, it can be granted that the great critics were artists in prose. Dryden, Hazlitt, Wilde, Bernard Shaw were superb essayists, masters of a literary genre. But they were artist-creators only when they were writing plays, poems, or novels. These three things used to be called properly fictionthings made up; criticism is derived. It cannot be made up without ceasing to be criticism. Does the distinction matter? If so, why? First, because it is always important to think straight, which means keeping words as strict as possible.

Again, it can be granted that the great critics were artists in prose. Dryden, Hazlitt, Wilde, Bernard Shaw were superb essayists, masters of a literary genre. But they were artist-creators only when they were writing plays, poems, or novels. These three things used to be called properly fictionthings made up; criticism is derived. It cannot be made up without ceasing to be criticism. Does the distinction matter? If so, why? First, because it is always important to think straight, which means keeping words as strict as possible.

Aesthetics. 2. Aestheticism (Literature) I. Soderholm, James, 1957- . 85-dc20 96-35036 British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data available Page v For my parents Donna Lee & Francis William Page vii If we start with the presupposition that art constitutes a distinctive way of seeking truthtruth in the broadest sense of the word, that is, chiefly the truth of the artist's inner experiencethen there is only one art, whose sole criterion is the power, the authenticity, the revelatory insight, the courage and suggestiveness with which it seeks its truth, or perhaps the urgency and profundity of this truth.

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