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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In an essay called “The Formalist Critics,” he says that “the formalist critic assumes an ideal reader: The journal was known for its criticism and creative writing, marking it as one of the leading journals of the time Leitch 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 At Louisiana State Universityprompted by their students’ inability to interpret poetry, the two put together a booklet that modeled close reading through examples Leitch In a conversation lasting several hours, Brooks and Faulkner spent most of their time discussing dogs and coon hunting.

The book is a polemic against the tendency for critics to reduce a poem to a single narrative or didactic message.

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. Further, Stevenson admits Brooks was “the person who brought excitement and passion to the study of literature” and “whose work The textbooks failed to show how poetic language differed from the language of an editorial or a work of non-fiction.

Poststructuralists in forrmalist saw a poem’s resistance and warped language as competing with its harmony and balance that Brooks celebrates Leitch He insisted criticcs was not excluding context because a poem possesses organic unityand it is possible to derive a historical and biographical context from the language the poet uses Singh His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: For Brooks, nearly everything a critic evaluates must come from within the text itself.

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 From tohe was a fellow of the Library of Congress in Washington, D. New Criticism involves examining a poem’s “technical elements, textual patterns, and incongruities” Leitch with clleanth kind of scientific rigor and precision.


Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

He received his B. This page was last edited on 8 Novemberat These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism:. Elsewhere, Ransom has even gone so far as to describe Brooks as a “spell binder” qtd. He argues “A poem by Donne or Marvell does not depend for its success on outside knowledge that we bring to it; it is richly ambiguous yet harmoniously orchestrated, coherent in its own special aesthetic terms” Leitch He is best known for his contributions to New Criticism in the midth century and for revolutionizing the teaching of poetry in American higher education.

Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses to works of literature as a legitimate approach to criticism.

During this time, he received the Guggenheim Fellowship and held it again in By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Inhe was a fellow of the Kenyon School of English. In the first case, a correct or “standard” reading would become impossible; in the second case, an ideal reader has still been assumed under the guise of multiple ideal readers Rivkin Brooks was also the preeminent critic of Southern literatureformaliet classic texts on William Faulknerand co-founder of the influential journal The Southern Review Leitch with Cleahth Penn Warren.

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 Ronald Crane was particularly hostile to the views of Rormalist and the other New Critics. He describes summative, reductionist reading of poetry with a phrase still popular today: Further, critics praise Brooks and Warren for “introducing New Criticism with commendable formlaist Singh and for teaching students how to read and interpret poetry.

Cleanth and William, natural born sons, and Murray Brooks, actually ckeanth Hewitt Witherspoon, whom Bessie Lee Witherspoon kidnapped from her brother Forrest Bedford Witherspoon as a young baby after the natural mother had died. Murray, KentuckyU. Stevenson of Converse College notes Brooks “redirect[ed] and revolutionize[d] the teaching of literature in American colleges and universities” 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 formal design” Leitch Retrieved from ” https: Further, Winchell praises Brooks for “help[ing] invent the modern literary quarterly” through the success of The Southern Review.

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 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 Understanding Poetry was an unparalleled success and remains “a classic manual for the broois and imaginative skills required for the understanding of poetry” Singh 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.


October 16, Murray, KentuckyU. This close reading formed the foundation on which the New Critical movement was based and helped shape Brooks’ approach to criticism Singh Archived from the original on From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Untilthey co-edited the journal, publishing works by many influential authors, including Eudora WeltyKenneth Burkeand Ford Madox Ford.

The discussion was based on intensive readings and included considerations of a poem’s form, structure, meter, rhyme scheme, and imagery Singh Beardsley in their famous essay “The Affective Fallacy,” in which they argue that a critic is “a teacher or explicator of meanings,” not a reporter of “physiological experience” in the reader qtd.

In addition, Brooks’s and Warren’s collaboration led to innovations in the teaching of poetry and literature. 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. In fact, he argued poetry serves no didactic purpose because producing some kind of statement would be counter to a poem’s cleajth.

InWarren joined the English department at Louisiana State, leading Brooks and Warren to collaborate on many works of criticism and pedagogy.

Cleanth Brooks

As testament formalust 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 took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Urn. The booklet was a success critids laid the foundation for a number of best-selling textbooks: From toBrooks held many academic positions and received a number of distinguished fellowships and honorary doctorates.