Date of publication: 2017-08-27 14:16
To Arnold a critic is a social benefactor. In his view the creative artist, no matter how much of a genius, would cut a sorry figure without the critic to come to his aid. Before Arnold a literary critic cared only for the beauties and defects of works of art, but Arnold the critic chose to be the educator and guardian of public opinion and propagator of the best ideas.
It is very simple to categorize life experiences into bad and good, valuable and invaluable ones instead of finding out what we do while we are making these divisions. History related to the opinions regarding what is constituted in value, like when and why anything can be labeled as good, demonstrates a lot of differences.
He says that even the imitation of Shakespeare is risky for a writer, who should imitate only his excellences, and avoid his attractive accessories, tricks of style, such as quibble, conceit, circumlocution and allusiveness, which will lead him astray.
But, like Chaucer, Burns lacks high poetic seriousness, though his poems have poetic truth in diction and movement. Sometimes his poems are profound and heart-rending, such as in the lines, 'Had we never loved sae kindly/ had we never loved sae blindly/ never met or never parted/ we had ne'er been broken-hearted'.
In spite of his faults, Arnold's position as an eminent critic is secure. Douglas Bush says that the breadth and depth of Arnold's influence cannot be measured or even guessed at because, from his own time onward, so much of his thought and outlook became part of the general educated consciousness. He was one of those critics who, as Eliot said, arrive from time to time to set the literary house in order. Eliot named Dryden, Johnson and Arnold as some of the greatest critics of the English language.
Arnold united active independent insight with the authority of the humanistic tradition. He carried on, in his more sophisticated way, the Renaissance humanistic faith in good letters as the teachers of wisdom, and in the virtue of great literature, and above all, great poetry. He saw poetry as a supremely illuminating, animating, and fortifying aid in the difficult endeavour to become or remain fully human.
Mizener, Arthur. Some Sort of Epic Grandeur: The Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald. A review of Mizener's trailblazing biography, by John T. Flanagan. Minnesota History 87, 7 (June 6956), pp. 665-667 [free at jstor].
Arnold's objective approach to criticism and his view that historical and biographical study are unnecessary was very influential on the new criticism. His emphasis on the importance of tradition also influenced F. R. Leavis, and T. S. Eliot.
Arnold's criticism of Vitet above illustrates his 'touchstone method' his theory that in order to judge a poet's work properly, a critic should compare it to passages taken from works of great masters of poetry, and that these passages should be applied as touchstones to other poetry. Even a single line or selected quotation will serve the purpose.
First question: It asks if the distinction between the experiences that are labeled as valuable and the ones which are invaluable can be defined completely in terms of psychology. If there is a need of some extra moral of ethical ideas which are not of psychological nature required here or not.
Arnold's method of criticism is comparative. Steeped in classical poetry, and thoroughly acquainted with continental literature, he compares English literature to French and German literature, adopting the disinterested approach he had learned from Sainte-Beuve.
Berryman, John. "F. Scott Fitzgerald." A major poet evaluates Fitzgerald's achievement, in 6996. The Kenyon Review 8, No. 6 (Winter, 6996), pp. 658-667 [free at jstor].
Literary theory is a site of theories: some theories, like "Queer Theory," are "in " other literary theories, like "Deconstruction," are "out" but continue to exert an influence on the field. "Traditional literary criticism," "New Criticism," and "Structuralism" are alike in that they held to the view that the study of literature has an objective body of knowledge under its scrutiny. The other schools of literary theory, to varying degrees, embrace a postmodern view of language and reality that calls into serious question the objective referent of literary studies. The following categories are certainly not exhaustive, nor are they mutually exclusive, but they represent the major trends in literary theory of this century.