A Swallow Press Book

Praising It New
The Best of the New Criticism

Edited by Garrick Davis
Foreword by William Logan

“Given our long-term disregard of the New Criticism, Davis‘s compendium is especially welcome.... Davis provides richly informative, well-argued, and elegantly styled introductions, head-notes, and annotations, as well as discriminating suggestions for further reading.”

Virginia Quarterly Review

“In Praising It New: The Best of the New Criticism, Garrick Davis offers poets and students an exceptionally well chosen selection from the theoretical essays of the New Criticism in hopes that it will remain an available influence. They are far more interesting than such essays generally tend to be—a strength of the best of the New Critics and one that will continue to serve them well with both an academic and a general audience.”

Eclectica Magazine

“This anthology is both important and necessary. No other collection gives us such an excellent opportunity to go back to the New Criticism and see it again, as if for the first time.”

Pleiades: A Journal of New Writing

“Just how seriously the New Critics took poetry, and how much subtlety and conviction they brought to reading it, can be seen on every page of Praising It New, an excellent new anthology of the New Criticism edited by Garrick Davis.”

The New York Sun

Marked by a rigorously close textual reading, detached from biographical or other extratextual material, New Criticism was the dominant literary theory of the mid-twentieth century. Since that time, schools of literary criticism have arisen in support of or in opposition to the approach advocated by the New Critics. Nonetheless, the theory remains one of the most important sources for groundbreaking criticism and continues to be a controversial approach to reading literature.

Praising It New is the first anthology of New Criticism to be printed in fifty years. It includes important essays by such influential poets and critics as T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Yvor Winters, Cleanth Brooks, R. P. Blackmur, W. K. Wimsatt, and Robert Penn Warren. Together, these authors ushered in the modernist age of poetry and criticism and transformed the teaching of literature in the schools. As the American poet and critic Randall Jarrell once noted: “I do not believe there has been another age in which so much extraordinarily good criticism of poetry has been written.”

This anthology now makes much of the best American poetry criticism available again, and includes short biographies and selected bibliographies of its chief figures. Praising It New is the perfect introduction for students to the best American poetry criticism of the twentieth century.

Garrick Davis is the founding editor of the Contemporary Poetry Review, the largest online archive of poetry criticism in the world (cprw.com). His poetry and criticism have appeared in the New Criterion, Verse, the Weekly Standard, McSweeney’s, and the New York Sun. He also edited Child of the Ocmulgee: the Selected Poems of Freda Quenneville. He is the literature specialist of the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC.

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Related Subjects

Literary Criticism · Literary Studies · Essays



Retail price: $26.95, S.
Release date: Apr. 2008
Rights: World


Retail price: $39.95, S.
Release date: Apr. 2008
288 pages · 5¼ × 8¼ in.
Rights: World

Additional Praise for Praising It New

“It is clear from reading the lapidary works in Praising It New that the New Critics were not stern moralists upholding rigid orthodoxies, as their opponents imply. Like other critics of the period -- not least Trilling and Wilson -- they saw poems and novels opening out into life in all its variety, nuance and incompleteness.”

The Wall Street Journal

“The essays in Praising It New still carry a potent charge for anyone interested in what makes the best poems tick. Davis has performed a service to readers (often in the face of recalcitrant publishers unwilling to make works available for reprint at reasonable rates), and the book will be of particular interest to poets and students of poetry. Whether or not teachers will have the good sense to assign it remains to be seen.”

The New Criterion

“Davis’s notes are excellent: how charming to be told that, as a young instructor, Jarrell coached the tennis team at Kenyon.”

Howard Junker, ZYZZYVASPEAKS blog