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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His tenure at Yale was marked by ongoing research into Southern literature, formalsit resulted in the publication of Brooks’ studies of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha CountyLeitch Inhe was a fellow of the Kenyon School of English. New Criticism involves examining a poem’s “technical elements, textual patterns, and incongruities” Leitch with a kind of scientific rigor and precision.

For us the real revolution in critical theory 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 poetry qtd.

Murray, KentuckyU. Brooks formulated these guidelines in reaction to ornamentalist theories of poetry, to the common practice of critics going outside the poem to historical or biographical critcisand his and Warren’s frustration with trying to teach college students to analyze poetry and literature Leitch The textbooks failed to show how poetic language differed from the language of an editorial or a work of non-fiction.

In a conversation lasting several hours, Cirtics and Faulkner spent most of their time discussing dogs and coon hunting.

Brooks took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Urn. This close reading formed the foundation on which the New Critical movement was based and helped shape Brooks’ approach to criticism Singh Since tormalist other options would be either to give any reading equal status with any other reading, or to establish a group of “‘qualified’ readers” and use those as a range of standard interpretations.

He received his B. Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses to works of literature as a legitimate approach to criticism.


Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

This approach to criticism, Brooks argued, “denied the authority of the work” Leitch This opinion is similar to that expressed by W. Brooks was also the preeminent critic of Southern literature cfitics, writing classic texts on William Faulknerand co-founder of the influential journal The Southern Review Leitch with Robert Penn Warren. Brooks and Warren were teaching using textbooks “full of biographical facts and impressionistic criticism” Singh This page was last edited on 8 Novemberat From this frustration, Brooks and Warren published Understanding Poetry.

Untilthey co-edited the journal, publishing works by many influential authors, including Eudora WeltyKenneth Burkeand Ford Madox Ford.

Cleanth Brooks

Inhe worked as a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin. Brooks was the central figure of New Criticism, a movement that emphasized structural and textual analysis—close reading—over historical or biographical analysis. Because New Criticism isolated the text and excluded 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” The book is a polemic against the tendency for critics to reduce a poem to a single narrative or didactic message.

At Louisiana State Universityprompted by their students’ inability to interpret poetry, the two put together a booklet that modeled close reading through examples Leitch Studying with Ransom and Warren, Brooks became involved in two significant literary movements: 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.

He is best known for his contributions to New Criticism in the midth century and for revolutionizing the teaching of poetry in American higher education. Brooks’ two most influential works also came out of the success of the booklet: 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 his retirement, except to Singh In fact, he argued poetry serves no didactic purpose because producing some kind of statement would be counter to a poem’s purpose.

Brooks writes, on the one hand, “the resistance which any good poem sets up against all attempts to paraphrase it” qtd. While he never argued criticss the movement’s conservative Southern traditions, he “learned a great deal” qtd.

Ronald Crane was particularly hostile to the views of Brooks and the other New Critics. In his later years, Brooks criticized the poststructuralists for inviting subjectivity and relativism into their analysis, asserting “each critic played with the text’s language unmindful of aesthetic relevance and formal design” Leitch He insisted 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 Wimsatt and Monroe C.


In the first case, a correct or “standard” reading would become impossible; in the second case, an ideal reader has still been assumed under the guise of multiple ideal readers Rivkin October 16, Murray, KentuckyU.

These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism:. 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 In addition, Brooks’s and Warren’s collaboration led to innovations in the teaching of poetry and literature.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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” His reputation suffered in the s and s when criticism of New Criticism increased.

He was one of three children: The journal was known for its criticism and creative writing, marking it as one of the leading journals of the time Leitch Views Read Edit View history.

Studies in the Structure of Poetry Leitch From toBrooks held many academic positions and received a number of distinguished fellowships and honorary doctorates. Retrieved from ” https: 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 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.

Arthur Mizener commended Brooks and Warren for offering a new way of teaching poetry:. Archived from the original on