On Tradition: Essays on the Use and Valuation of the Past
Most of these essays deal with Professor Davidson's long-standing specialty, the theater and its medieval traditions, and all of them, except the introductory essay, have been published previously, starting in 1975. Here they have been revised, however, so as to carry the thread of the book's argument from chapter to chapter in a clear fashion. That argument is well indicated by the book's title: Davidson is concerned to "examine in- stances in which traditional ideas and forms have been received into dramatic, theatrical, poetic, and artistic practice at a given historical moment" (p. 2). His reasons for engaging in that examination are set forth in his introductory essay, "Tradition and the Individual Scholar," in which he laments the failure of modern criticism to conserve, in the Burkean sense, the traditions from which it arose. He is especially concerned to sound a note of warning about a historical criticism. He also emphasizes the value of the visual in older drama and the ways in which audience responses of past ages, usually religious responses, can illuminate our understanding of medieval and Renaissance drama and poetry.-- From JSTOR in http://www.jstor.org (June 11, 2013).
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Tradition and the Individual Scholar
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