A Swallow Press Book
By Yvor Winters
The Function of Criticism: Problems and Exercises brings together five essays by Yvor Winters: "Problems for the Modern Critic of Literature," "The Audible Reading of Poetry," "The Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins," "Robert Frost, Or the Spiritual Drifter as Poet," and "English Literature in the Sixteenth Century."
Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was a poet, critic, and Stanford University professor of English literature. He won the Bollingen Prize in 1961. More info →
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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.
Pamela Finnegan provides a detailed criticism of a major novel written by one of Chile’s leading literary figures. She analyzes the symbolism and the use of language in The Obscene Bird of Night, showing that the novel’s world becomes an icon characterized by entropy, parody, and materiality.
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.