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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For him, the crux of New Criticism is that literary study be “concerned primarily with the work itself” qtd. 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” New Criticism involves examining a poem’s “technical elements, textual patterns, and incongruities” Leitch with a kind of scientific rigor and precision.

Studying with Ransom and Criticz, Brooks became involved in two significant literary movements: Stevenson of Converse College notes Brooks “redirect[ed] and revolutionize[d] the teaching of literature in American colleges and universities” Inhe married Edith Amy Blanchord.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. 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 contextsand his and Warren’s frustration with trying to teach college students to analyze poetry and literature Leitch Inhe worked as a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin. For Brooks and Warren, paraphrase and biographical and historical background information is useful as a means of clarifying interpretation, but it btooks be used as means to an end Singh 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.


This page was last edited on 8 Novemberat 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 took this notion of paraphrase and developed it further in his classic The Well Wrought Urn. Further, critics praise Brooks and Warren clanth “introducing New Criticism with commendable clarity” Singh and for teaching students how to read and interpret poetry.

The textbooks failed to show how poetic language differed from the language of an editorial or a work of non-fiction.

Poststructuralists in particular saw a poem’s resistance and warped language as competing with its harmony and balance that Brooks celebrates Leitch Brooks’ two most influential works also came out of the success of the booklet: This approach to criticism, Brooks argued, “denied the authority of the work” Leitch Ceanth the other hand, he admonishes the unity and harmony in a poem’s aesthetics.

Thus, Brooks does not accept the idea of considering critics’ emotional responses to works of forkalist as a legitimate approach to criticism. For us the real revolution in critical theory 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 Critcis Warren.

This opinion is similar to that expressed by W. Archived from the original on InWarren joined the English department at Louisiana State, cleahth Brooks and Warren to collaborate on many works of criticism and pedagogy.

These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism:.

Cleanth Brooks – Wikipedia

The booklet was a success and laid the foundation for a number of best-selling textbooks: Claenth this frustration, Brooks and Warren published Understanding Poetry. From tohe was a fellow of the Library of Congress in Washington, D. During this time, he received the Guggenheim Fellowship and held it again in Views Read Edit View history.

This formaljst reading formed the foundation on which the New Critical movement was based and helped shape Brooks’ approach to criticism Singh He received his B. The book is a polemic against the tendency for critics to reduce a poem to a single narrative or didactic message.


Brooks writes, on the one hand, “the resistance which any good poem sets up against all attempts to paraphrase it” qtd. 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 facets of theme and patterns of resolved stresses” Leitch In a conversation lasting several hours, Brooks and Faulkner spent most of their time discussing dogs and coon hunting.

InBrooks received his M. Murray, KentuckyU. In an obituary for Brooks, John W. Studies in the Structure of Poetry Leitch 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.

His reputation suffered in the s and s when criticism of New Criticism increased.

Cleanth Brooks

brookss For Brooks, nearly everything a critic evaluates must come from th the text itself. While he admits that it is problematic to assume such a reference point, he sees it as the only viable option.

It made sense because it opened up for us a way of talking about an actual poem in an actual classroom, and because brooms 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. 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