Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a poet, critic, and Stanford University professor of English literature. He won the Bollingen Prize in 1961.
Poet, teacher, and critic, Yvor Winters was a man of letters in more ways than one. This selection of his personal correspondence spans half a century of literary history and a lifetime of intellectual development and growth. As a record of a serious artist and thinker's grappling with important issues and, sometimes, with his notable friends, the letters offer new and often unexpected insight into the creative mind at work.
Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a friend, colleague, and teacher to poets of several generations from Hart Crane and Allen Tate to J. V. Cunningham, Turner Cassity, and Edgar Bowers to Robert Hass, Philip Levine, and Robert Pinsky. His impact on mid- to late-twentieth-century poetry is profound. This stems in large part from his own poetry, which was a reflection of his critical thinking about poetry, and which underwent substantive changes over his career as a poet.
With Forms of Discover, Yvor Winters completes his critical canon. The distinguished poet-critic defines by analysis and example the development of the method that he has called “post-Symbolist.” Starting with the styles of the English Renaissance, Winters discusses at length the felicities and shortcomings of these traditions, the main defect being that sensory imagery was little more than ornament.
Yvor Winters has here collected, with an introduction, the major critical works—Primitivism and Decadence, Maule’s Curse, and The Anatomy of Nonsense—of the period in which he worked out his famous and influential critical position. The works together show an integrated position which illuminates the force and importance of the individual essays. With The Function of Criticism, a subsequent collection, In Defense of Reason provides an incomparable body of critical writing.
The Function of Criticism: Problems and Exercises brings together five essays by Yvor Winters: "Problems for the Modern Critic of Literature," "The Audible Reading of Poetry," "The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins," "Robert Frost, Or the Spiritual Drifter as Poet," and "English Literature in the Sixteenth Century."