Who, after all, are the New Critics? John Crowe Ransom, who al most accidentally supplied them with a name? R. P. Blackmur? I. A.. Richards? T. S. Eliot? The seminal manifestos of the New Criticism was proclaimed by John Crowe Ransom (–), who published a series of essays entitled. "As always, Mr. Ransom here proves himself a sensitive student of poetry."-Saturday Review of Literature?As always, Mr. Ransom here proves himself a.


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  • John Crowe Ransom | American poet and critic |
  • New Criticism - Wikipedia
  • John Crowe Ransom | Poetry Foundation
  • The New Criticism of JC Ransom
  • Introduction

Such critics set out to define and formalize the qualities of poetic thought and language, utilizing the technique of close reading with special emphasis on the connotative and associative values of words and on the multiple functions of figurative language—symbol, metaphorand image—in the work.

Ransom the new criticism themes, continued Young, emphasized "man's dual nature and the inevitable misery and disaster that always accompany the failure to recognize and accept this basic truth; mortality and the fleetingness of youthful vigor and grace, the inevitable decay of feminine beauty; the disparity between the world as man would have it and as it actually is, between what people want and need emotionally and what is available for them, between what man desires and what he can get; man's divided sensibilities and the wars constantly raging within him, the inevitable ransom the new criticism between body and mind, between reason and sensibility; the necessity of man's simultaneous apprehension of nature's indifference and mystery and his appreciation of her sensory beauties; the inability of modern man, in his incomplete and fragmentary state, to experience love.


Ransom continually sought a balance between the two, a balance which, however precarious it might have been, tried to give equal time to both logic and sentiment. He detested extremes of either kind and deliberately strived for a certain detachment in his poetry that struck some critics as being rather cold and academic.

By establishing such an "aesthetic distance," ransom the new criticism, Ransom felt that he could provide the ransom the new criticism with a better view of his subject than those poets who imbued their work with sentimentalism and other distracting personal attitudes.

Thus, the typical Ransom poem was never autobiographical or didactic, for, as Wesley Morris pointed out in his book Towards a New Historicism, "[Ransom's] dualistic theory demands that in the realm of poetic discourse the artist must never assert his own personality; he must remain as 'nearly anonymous' as possible.

Parsons observed in his critical study, "a proper appreciation of Ransom's poetry calls for a modest cultivation of literary asceticism.

The reader must accustom himself to the idea that he will encounter ransom the new criticism portrayal of strong personalities, no highly emotional drama, and except very faintly and indirectly little sense of a poet's dreadful self-discovery. He must tune himself to register elusive subtleties of perception and elegances of rhyme, wit, and ransom the new criticism.


He must be somewhat willing to forgive Ransom for the acute esthetic self-consciousness that made him habitually subordinate passion to tonal control.

He ransom the new criticism be indulgent of Ransom's addictions to pale or paralyzing irony and to refined whimsicality. Subsequently he went to Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar.

From to he taught English at Vanderbilt, where he was the leader of the Fugitive s, a group of poets that published the influential literary magazine The Fugitive —25 and shared a belief in the South and its regional traditions.

They published their views in a bi-monthly literary review called The Fugitive, and worked to create what they believed was a literary renaissance in the South, a view of writing and studying poetry that they ransom the new criticism as the essence of modernism, and a sustained and valid response to the traditionally sentimental literary conventions of the South.

The New Criticism - Essay -

In later years, the New Critics expanded their definition of ransom the new criticism poetic aesthetic, theorizing that poetry, as a work of art, is the ultimate form of communication, complete in meaning and form in itself.

One of the most influential writers of New Criticism poetic theory was I.

Richards—his book Practical Criticism detailed experiments in critical interpretations of poetry in which students were ransom the new criticism to study texts of poems with no accompanying information on the author, or even the title of the works. An unexpected result of the wide variety of student responses was a realization regarding the importance of teaching the act of critical thinking and interpretation.

For Wimsatt and Beardsley, the words on the page were all that mattered; importation of meanings from outside the text was considered irrelevant, and potentially distracting.

The New Criticism of JC Ransom – Literary Theory and Criticism

This fallacy would later be repudiated by theorists from the reader-response school of literary theory. One of the leading theorists from this school, Stanley Fishwas himself trained by New Critics.


Fish criticizes Wimsatt and Beardsley in his essay "Literature in the Reader" Brooks and Warren's Understanding Poetry and Understanding Fiction both became staples during this era.