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Higgins
02-21-2007, 09:30 PM
Curiously mindful of the Fall-of-Troy atmosphere that attended the last thread I started here in the Let's-Lament-the-Existence-of-Theory subforum, I went back to the library of the small agricultural college near my pastoral home in search of Enlightenment -- Enlightenment specifically about New Criticism (which I believe I last glimpsed as the very heart of the tobacco smoke hanging over the craft of writing as it sank under the weight of too many sodden turtlenecks).
Sure enough (in the libcong PN81s) the wreckage of New Criticism was visible in the form of a few dozen faded old books (one of I. A. Richards for example reprinted 20 times from 1924 to 1958 and then left to rot)...they (the books) were really a sad mess. The wierdest thing was how much they were like some kind of advanced self-help books complete with truly strange and pathetic diagrams of how the word "idea" might mean a lot of different things...and how to read a page, and how to know real literature from mere mass media and so on. I was going to check one out and read it, but it was far too depressing a prospect.

I was even less enlightened than before.

greatfish
03-06-2007, 12:04 PM
That actually sounds pretty interesting. I'm curious how they would distinguish great literature from mass media, and if the advice held up from the time it was published in 1924 to today.

Higgins
03-06-2007, 07:10 PM
That actually sounds pretty interesting. I'm curious how they would distinguish great literature from mass media, and if the advice held up from the time it was published in 1924 to today.

I'm looking into what happened to New Criticism. It was everywhere up til say 1965 and then it vanished from the world of serious academia and went to live in Creative Writing (near as I can tell). I'm looking at some postpostmodern books on narrative and they are looking into what you might call the postnewcriticism world of plotting programs and "How-to-Write" books.
So my prejudice against New Criticism is probably very superficial and there is more going on with the echoes of New Criticism even now than I thought.