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Literary Criticism

Literary Criticism Book List

Cover of 'James Wright'

James Wright
The Poetry of a Grown Man; Constancy and Transition in the Work of James Wright
By Kevin Stein

Although some critics have identified two phases in the poetry of James Wright and have isolated particulars of his movement from traditional to more experimental forms, few have noted also the elements of constancy in the evolution of his poetry.

Cover of 'The  Enemy Opposite'

The Enemy Opposite
The Outlaw Criticism of Wyndham Lewis
By SueEllen Campbell

Among modernist critics Wyndham Lewis stands out because of the energy and drama of his “aggressive partisan pen—made to hurl epithets, or of the sort to use, in controversy, as a dangerous polemical lance.” With this pen Lewis created the Enemy, a flamboyant, hostile, solitary figure whose voice and stance vividly embodied the principles structuring his criticism. The frontiers of this criticism—the Enemy criticism—are best marked by the comments of his two long-time friends, T.S.

Winner of the 1987 NEMLA-Ohio University Press Book Prize
Cover of 'Doris Lessing'

Doris Lessing
The Alchemy of Survival
Edited by Carey Kaplan and Ellen Cronan Rose

Long neglected by the academic world because of her rejection of belletristic values and resistance to convenient literary taxonomy, Doris Lessing has nonetheless built an international following of serious, dedicated readers.

Cover of 'The Manyfacèd Glass'

The Manyfacèd Glass
Tennyson’s Dramatic Monologues
By Linda K. Hughes

The hazy settings and amorphous auditors of Tennyson’s dramatic monologues are often contrasted—at Tennyson’s expense—with Browning’s more vivid, concrete realizations. Hughes argues that Tennyson’s achievements in the genre are, in fact, considerable, that his influence can be traced in such major figures as T. S. Eliot, and that the monologue occupies a far more central position in Tennyson’s poetic achievement than has hitherto been acknowledged.

Cover of 'Novel of the Future'

Novel of the Future
By Anaïs Nin

In The Novel of the Future, Anaïs Nin explores the act of creation—in literature, film, art, and dance—to arrive at a new synthesis for the young artist struggling against the sterility, formlessness, and spiritual bankruptcy afflicting much of modern fiction.

Cover of 'Fetter’d or Free?'

Fetter’d or Free?
British Women Novelists, 1670-1815
Edited by Mary A. Schofield and Cecilia Macheski

Traditional literary theory holds that women writers of the Restoration and eighteenth century produced works of limited range and value: simple tales of domestic conflict, seduction, and romance. Bringing a broad range of methodologies (historical, textual, post-structuralist, psychological) to bear on the works of Eliza Haywood, Charlotte Smith, Sarah Fielding, Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, and others. Fetter'd or Free?

Cover of 'Decadent Style'

Decadent Style
By John Robert Reed

In Decadent Style, John Reed defines “decadent art” broadly enough to encompass literature, music, and the visual arts and precisely enough to examine individual works in detail. Reed focuses on the essential characteristics of this style and distinguishes it from non–esthetic categories of “decadent artists” and “decadent themes.” Like the natural sciences and psychology, the arts in the late nineteenth century reflect an interest in the process of atomization.

Cover of 'Darkness and Devils'

Darkness and Devils
Exorcism and King Lear
By John L. Murphy

Shakespeare’s King Lear appears twice in the records of dramatic performances before the closing of the theaters in 1642. The King’s Men played it before the King’s Majesty in Whitehall on December 26, 1606. The Lord Cholmeley’s Players gave it at Gowthwaite, a manor house of Sir John and Dame Julyan Yorke, Nidderdale, West Riding, in Candlemas, 1610.

Cover of 'Convivial Dickens'

Convivial Dickens
The Drinks of Dickens and His Times
By Edward Hewett and William F. Axton

Convivial Dickens, carefully researched yet presented in a lively, popular style, provides those interested in the lore of drinks and drinking with a dependable and authoritative guide to the creation of Victorian potables such as would have been enjoyed by Mr. Pickwick and Mr. Micawber. Alongside its many exuberant period illustrations by Cruikshank, Dicky Doyle, John Leech, and others, a leading feature of the book is over 130 authentic Victorian drink recipes.

Cover of 'The  Romance of William Morris'

The Romance of William Morris
By Carole G. Silver

The Romance of William Morris traces the intellectual, emotional, and literary development of Morris, a representative Victorian, as he explores the classic themes of love, fate, and death -- chiefly through the genre of romance. Professor Silver points out the ways in which Morris’s personal and social vision, interwoven in his literary work, contributes to his art, design, and social theory, as well as to some of the major intellectual and artistic movements of his time.

Cover of 'The Other John Updike'

The Other John Updike
Poems, Short Stories, Prose, Play
By Donald J. Greiner

John Updike has won a National Book Award and has earned both critical and popular acclaim. At the moment, his reputation rests largely on his novels, especially Rabbit, Run; The Centaur; Of the Farm; and The Coup. Of his many books, more than half are volumes of poems, stories, essays and reviews, and one play, yet the numerous critical books on Updike concentrate primarily on his long fiction with the result that over one half of his canon is often ignored.

Cover of 'Short Story Theories'

Short Story Theories
Edited by Charles E. May

Although the short story has often been called America’s unique contribution to the world’s literature, relatively few critics have taken the form seriously. May’s collection of essays by popular commentators, academic critics, and short story writers attempts to assess the reasons for this neglect and provides significant theoretical directions for a reevaluation of the form. The essays range from discussions by Poe to comments by John Cheever.

Cover of 'In Defense of Reason'

In Defense of Reason
Three Classics of Contemporary Criticism
By Yvor Winters
· Introduction by Kenneth Fields

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.

Cover of 'Forms of Discovery'

Forms of Discovery
Critical and Historical Essays on the Forms of the Short Poem in English
By Yvor Winters

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.