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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With his writing, Brooks helped to formulate formalist criticismemphasizing “the interior life of a poem” Leitch and codifying the principles of close reading. From toBrooks held many academic positions and received a number of distinguished fellowships and honorary doctorates. As testament to Brooks’ influence, fellow critic broojs former teacher John Crowe Ransom calls Brooks “the most forceful and influential critic of poetry that we have” qtd.

Retrieved from ” https: The textbooks failed to show how poetic language differed from the language of an editorial or a work of non-fiction. This opinion is similar to that expressed by W. Arthur Mizener commended Brooks and Warren for offering a new way cleantn teaching poetry:.

These seemingly contradictory forces in a poem create tension and paradoxical irony according to Brooks, but critics questioned whether irony leads to a poem’s unity or undermines it Leitch At Louisiana State Universityprompted by their students’ inability to interpret poetry, the two put together a booklet that modeled close reading through examples Leitch Brooks took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Criticcs.

He was one of three children: He is best cleaanth for his contributions to New Criticism in the midth century and for revolutionizing the teaching of poetry in American higher education.

October 16, Murray, KentuckyU. 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 fkrmalist meaning to and justification for the teaching of poetry qtd.


Beardsley in their famous essay “The Affective Fallacy,” in which they argue that a cleanty is “a teacher or explicator of meanings,” not a reporter of “physiological experience” in the reader qtd. In the book, the authors assert poetry should be clesnth as poetry, and the critic should resist reducing a poem to a simple paraphrase, explicating it through biographical or historical contexts, and interpreting it didactically Singh New Criticism was accused by critics of having a contradictory nature.

Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses to works of literature as a legitimate approach to criticism. This approach to criticism, Brooks argued, “denied the authority of the work” Leitch Attending McTyeire School, a private academy, he received a classical education and went on to study at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennesseewhere he received his B.

His reputation suffered in the s and s when criticism of New Criticism increased. He received his B.

Cleanth Brooks

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 The discussion was based on intensive readings and included considerations of a poem’s form, structure, formaliist, rhyme scheme, and imagery Singh His tenure at Yale was marked by ongoing research into Southern literature, which resulted in the publication of Brooks’ studies of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha CountyLeitch In “The Formalist Critics,” Brooks offers “some articles of faith” qtd.

Ronald Crane was particularly hostile to the views of Brooks and the other New Critics.

He argues “A poem by Donne or Marvell does not depend for its success on outside knowledge that we bring to it; it is richly ambiguous yet harmoniously orchestrated, coherent in its own special aesthetic terms” Leitch Because New Criticism isolated the text and formapist historical and biographical contexts, critics argued as early as that Brooks’ approach to criticism was flawed for being overly narrow and for “disabl[ing] any and all attempts to relate literary study to political, social, and cultural issues and debates” Wimsatt and Monroe C.


Brooks was also the preeminent critic of Southern literaturewriting classic texts on William Faulknerand co-founder of the influential journal The Southern Review Leitch with Robert Penn Warren. Further, criticw praise Brooks and Warren for “introducing Formaliwt Criticism with commendable clarity” Singh and for teaching students how to read and interpret poetry.

Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

In an essay called “The Formalist Critics,” he says that “the formalist critic assumes an ideal reader: Studying with Ransom and Warren, Brooks became involved in two significant literary movements: This close reading formed the foundation on which the New Critical movement was based and helped shape Brooks’ approach to criticism Singh His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: In fact, he argued poetry serves no didactic purpose because producing some kind of statement would be counter to a poem’s purpose.

Murray, KentuckyU. He says that “a detailed description of my emotional state on reading certain works has little to do with indicating to an interested reader what the work is and how the parts of it are related” Rivkin In an obituary for Brooks, John W. Understanding Poetry was an unparalleled success and remains “a classic manual for the intellectual criticx imaginative skills required for the understanding of poetry” Singh By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Clexnth.