A pioneering critic, educator, and poet, I. A. Richards (1893-1979) helped the English-speaking world decide not only what to read but how to read it. Acknowledged "father" of New Criticism, he produced the most systematic body of critical writing in the English language since Coleridge. His method of close reading dominated the English-speaking classroom for half a century.

John Paul Russo draws on close personal acquaintance with Richards as well as on unpublished materials, correspondence, and interviews, to write the first biography (originally published in 1989) of one of last century’s most influential and many-sided men of letters.

part 1|2 pages

The Preparation of a Critic

chapter 1|13 pages

Boyhood and Clifton

chapter 2|19 pages


chapter 3|14 pages

Moral Science and Cambridge Humanism

chapter 4|15 pages

G. E. Moore: "The Other Theory of Art"

chapter 5|21 pages

Beauty and Truth

part 2|2 pages

The Theory and Method of Criticism

chapter 6|23 pages

Agenda in the 1920s

chapter 7|36 pages


chapter 8|31 pages

Science, Poetry, and Society

chapter 9|26 pages

The Sherrington Model

chapter 10|12 pages

The Poet in Ideal Perfection

chapter 11|21 pages

How a Poem Works, I: The Parts

chapter 12|25 pages

How a Poem Works, II: Reference and Metaphor

chapter 13|33 pages

How a Poem Works, III: The Whole

chapter 14|23 pages

The Pathology of Interpretation

chapter 15|42 pages

Belief and Sincerity

chapter 16|36 pages

Coleridge and the Whole Soul in Activity

part 3|2 pages

The Later Career: Education and Poetry

chapter 17|33 pages

Basic English: The Years in China

chapter 18|41 pages

Experiment in America

chapter 19|52 pages

The Classical Tradition

chapter 21|28 pages

Poems and Plays: The Third Career

chapter 22|18 pages

Mysterious Mountains

chapter 23|57 pages


chapter 24|13 pages

Final Years: A Portrait of I. A. Richards