Thursday, August 26, 2010
Of course "New Criticism" is not the only mode in which thoroughness can take place. However thoroughness occurs is lovely to me. Rachel Blau De Plessis is not necessarily a New Critic, and her essays tend towards the splendidly thorough! Amartya Sen (not a lit-crit for the most part, true), if anything, downplays the importance of language--and he too is soooooo thorough. I suppose all I'm arguing for is the delight I experience when people take the effort to substantiate their claims, to do the difficult work of explanation/connection, as opposed to relying almost entirely on the "gesture." I do not, as is likely implicitly clear, have much enthusiasm for innovative criticism. Yes, poem is a porous boundary, but I do not want what is more than less a poem to serve as replacement for academic/expository/argumentative prose. Manifestos (with O'Hara and Warhol as exceptions (and likely others I have not read)), grin, ought to go jumping off the nearest cliff. Funnily, I love impressionism when it comes to paintings. And I often find non-contemporary belles lettres charming.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Johannes Goransson, in a Montevidayo blog comment-box, has written a dismissal of my distrust of metaphor; I've responded and hope I don't appear too annoyed (firm, sure; agressive, I hope not) in my trying to articulate why I find his response rather inadequate. Relating to this: it seems some poets are really into dissing closely reading a text, and instead want to banish that kind of response and replace it with belles lettres; why oh why? New Criticism does not have to be retrograde; on the contrary, it can communicate a ton, and it can allow a reader to really look at the text(s) in question, whereas belles lettres may end up saying far more about the responder than the work being responded to. Too, belles lettres I think might be said to be predicated on authority (declarative syntax, minimal support with evidence for why a given claim is made) and I like essays which don't take authority for granted.