Review of Practical Criticism 1929
I. A. Richards new book differs from his earlier Principles of Literary Criticism in that it starts, not from the pronouncements of previous aesthetic critics, but from an attempt to discover the actual state of the public taste in regard to poetry. Lucretius and Virgil, Euripides and Aeschylus, they currently assume, are equally accessible given the necessary scholarship, to a Roman Catholic, to a Buddhist, and to a confirmed sceptic. Mr Richards writes clearly, and with great good sense. Mr Richards has to some extent misled his students by giving them the kind of verse about which it was most easy to rely rather on elementary responses than on subtle intellectual distinctions. Outstanding merit or demerit may have helped Mr Richards to collect so many varying and conflicting views. Only three of the poems seem to me to be positively bad; and only one to be exceptionally good.