chapter  55
11 Pages

The Criticism of Meaning and the Meaning of Criticism 1938

WithAustin Warren

Criticism is a 'kind' intermediate between art and science or, more exactly, between poetry and metaphysics. Its practitioners are sometimes artists who, in the leisure between their creative bouts, look up from their work to generalize about its presuppositions and its ends or those of their fellows and rivals. The best criticism is the product of men disciplined in both art and science, who have a sound knowledge of psychology or philosophy and who, by their specific or illustrative judgements, show that they have experienced poetry and painting. Boas is a philosopher, Richards, a psychologist; both are amateurs of the arts as well as speculative intelligences. Richards is chiefly concerned with the meaning of a word or a line; for Boas, the 'meaning' is habitually the total significance of a total artefact. This leads to markedly different treatments of communication.