R. P. Blackmur'S Texts: An Introduction

Joseph Frank

in Responses to Modernity

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780823239252
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780823239290 | DOI:
R. P. Blackmur'S Texts: An Introduction

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R. P. Blackmur was an active participant in the literary life. It was by his longer essays, first collected in The Double Agent (1935), that he made his major impact. As can be seen from the second section of his two-part essay on T. S. Eliot in the Hound and Horn, Blackmur is greatly concerned with the problem of art and morality; and this early Eliot essay is of great help in clarifying the road he took towards its resolution. If we are to understand Blackmur's point of view, it is necessary to pay heed to his idiosyncratic definition of “technique.” One sees Blackmur constantly fending off the attempts of both philosophy and theology (in their incarnations as American humanism and the then-current version of Marxism, as well as Eliot's anglo-Catholicism) to exercise any hegemony over literature. He believed that these forms of thought (and any theories that professed to define a final and ultimate truth about life) were a grosser type of response to experience than literature.

Keywords: R. P. Blackmur; Double Agent; T. S. Eliot; Hound and Horn; art; morality; technique; philosophy; theology; Marxism

Chapter.  4324 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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