chapter  20
11 Pages

The New Criticism 1930

WithJohn Sparrow

One of the most successful works of criticism published in 1929 was Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgement, by Mr I. A. Richards, of Magdalene College, Cambridge. The authorship of the poems was not revealed, and with rare exceptions it was not recognized'. The first twenty pages of his book are devoted to describing the conditions of this experiment, which is called a piece of 'field work in comparative ideology'. Mr Richards, however, is not entirely without practical advice, and those who have not the patience to detect the weaknesses of his argument finds absurdity here more prominently displayed. A criticism, even if it is false, may be itself a work of art, or a revelation of an interesting mind it is often interesting to know what one poet thought of another. The 'protocols' therefore can only be valuable for the light they throw on the business of criticism itself and its present state in England.