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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Brooks advocates close reading because, as he states in The Well Wrought Urn”by making the closest examination of what the poem says as a poem” qtd.

Brooks and Warren were teaching using textbooks “full of biographical facts and impressionistic criticism” Singh New Criticism was accused by critics of having a contradictory nature. InBrooks received his M.

At Louisiana State Universityprompted by their students’ inability to interpret poetry, the two put together a booklet that modeled close reading through examples Leitch While he never argued for the movement’s conservative Southern traditions, he “learned a great deal” qtd. Elsewhere, Ransom has even gone so far as to describe Brooks as a “spell binder” qtd.

In addition, Brooks’s and Warren’s collaboration led to innovations in the teaching of poetry and literature. Arthur Mizener commended Brooks and Warren for offering a new way of teaching poetry:. The textbooks failed to show how poetic language differed from the language of an editorial or a work of non-fiction. Brooks took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Urn.

Wimsatt and Monroe C. He argues “A poem by Donne or Marvell does not depend for its success on th knowledge that we bring to it; it is richly ambiguous yet harmoniously orchestrated, coherent in its own special aesthetic terms” Leitch He thf he 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 Brooks was the central figure of New Criticism, a movement that emphasized structural and textual analysis—close reading—over historical or biographical analysis.

The journal was known for its criticism and creative writing, marking it as one of the leading journals of the time Leitch citics By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.


Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

For Brooks and Warren, paraphrase and biographical and historical background information is useful as a means of clarifying interpretation, but it should be used as means to an end Singh As testament to Brooks’ influence, fellow critic and former teacher John Crowe Ransom calls Brooks “the most forceful and influential critic of poetry that we have” qtd. With his writing, Brooks helped to formulate formalist criticismemphasizing “the interior life of a poem” Leitch and codifying the principles of close reading.

He received his B. His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: From toBrooks held many academic positions and received a number of distinguished fellowships and honorary doctorates. These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism:. In fact, he argued poetry serves no didactic purpose because producing some kind of statement would be counter to a poem’s purpose.

This page was last edited on 8 Novemberat Brooks rebuffed the accusations that New Criticism has an “antihistorical thrust” Leitch and a “neglect of context” Leitch The discussion was based on intensive readings and included considerations of a poem’s form, structure, meter, rhyme scheme, and imagery Singh Cleanth and William, natural born sons, and Murray Brooks, actually born Hewitt Witherspoon, whom Bessie Lee Witherspoon kidnapped from her brother Forrest Bedford Witherspoon as a young baby after the natural mother had died.

New Criticism involves examining a poem’s “technical elements, textual patterns, and incongruities” Leitch with a kind of scientific rigor and precision. In “The Formalist Critics,” Brooks offers “some articles of faith” qtd.

Stevenson of Converse College notes Brooks “redirect[ed] and revolutionize[d] the teaching of literature in American colleges and universities” Poststructuralists in particular saw a poem’s resistance and warped language as competing with its harmony and balance that Brooks celebrates Leitch Cleanth mentioned on more than one occasion that broooks so doted on Murray Hewitt that she no longer had a relationship with Cleanth and William.

In the book, the authors assert poetry should be taught as poetry, and the critic should resist reducing a poem to a simple paraphrase, explicating it through biographical or historical contexts, and interpreting formlaist didactically Singh Brooks writes, on the one hand, “the resistance which any good poem sets up against all attempts to paraphrase it” qtd.


Studying with Ransom and Warren, Brooks became involved in two significant literary movements: The book is a polemic against the tendency for critics to reduce a poem to a single narrative or didactic message.

Inhe was a fellow of the Kenyon School of English. 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. 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 critcs of theme and patterns of resolved stresses” Leitch October 16, Murray, KentuckyU.

During critjcs time, he received the Guggenheim Fellowship and held it again in In an essay called “The Formalist Critics,” he says that “the formalist critic assumes an ideal reader: He was one of three children: Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses to works of literature as a legitimate approach to criticism. Archived from the original on Views Read Edit View history.

Cleanth Brooks

In his later years, Brooks criticized the poststructuralists for inviting subjectivity and relativism into clenth analysis, asserting “each critic played with the text’s language unmindful of aesthetic relevance and formal design” Leitch 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 vleanth qtd.

Studies in the Structure of Poetry Leitch In an obituary for Brooks, John W. Ronald Crane was particularly hostile to the views of Brooks and the other New Critics.

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 cleantu retirement, except to Singh