Literary Criticism's Failure

Simon During

in Against Democracy

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242542
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242580 | DOI:
Literary Criticism's Failure

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This chapter gives an account of the antidemocratic and anticapitalist origins of modern literary criticism. It focuses on T.S. Eliot, I.A. Richards and F.R. Leavis arguing that modern techniques of close reading emerged in their work and teaching in the 1920s as an effort to recapture and maintain regimes of experience that had been destroyed by enlightened democratic capitalism. It traces how the original practice and spirit of modern literary criticism was gradually transformed and then forgotten, and makes an elegiac case for its continuing relevance.

Keywords: Literary criticism; T.S. Eliot; F.R. Leavis; I.A. Richards; conservatism; Leavisism; close reading

Chapter.  7162 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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