Talking Back to Emily Dickinson and Other Essays

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Univ of Massachusetts Press, 1998 - Literary Criticism - 303 pages
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This collection makes the case for literary criticism as an informed, aggressive, personal, and often humorous response to writers and writing. An unrepentant academic, William Pritchard nonetheless finds himself looking vainly, in much current professional study of literature, for what he sees as criticism's central task. This involves, in part, an attentiveness to the performing voice of the novelist, poet, or essayist under discussion. To bring out that quality, the critic must exploit, with invention and intrepidity, his or her own responsive voice - must "talk back" to the work of art.
 

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Talking Back to Emily Dickinson and Other Essays

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Pritchard begins with a statement that he himself admits is presumptuous: that the critic should, in talking back to the work of art, try to go it one better. Done properly, this way of reading ... Read full review

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Contents

Writing Well Is the Best Revenge
1
That Shakespeherian Rag
8
Burkes Great Melody
17
Responding to Blake
28
Wordsworths Resolution and Independence
39
Byron in His Letters
48
My Brontė Problemand Yours?
60
Reading Hawthorne
70
Ford Madox Ford as Literary Critic
164
R P Blackmurs Last Song
182
Anthony Powells Serious Comedy
192
Appreciating Kingsky Amis
207
Naipauls Written World
217
Looking Back at Lessing
227
Mailer in Retrospect
236
RIP
247

NineteenthCentury American Poetry
80
Talking Back to Emily Dickinson
86
Matthew Arnolds Permanence
98
What to Do with Carlyle?
105
Henry James on Tour
116
Yeatss First Fifty Years
126
A Revaluation
136
Robert Penn Warrens Late Poems
252
Donald Halls Poetry
262
Donald Davie as Critic of Modern Poets
272
Julian Symons
286
Name Index
297
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About the author (1998)

William H. Pritchard is the Henry Clay Folger Professor of English at Amherst College. He is the author of two important biographies, "Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered "and "Randall Jarrell: A Literary Life," He reviews regularly for the "New York Times Book Review," and his literary criticism is published in the "New Republic," "Hudson Review," "American Scholar," and the "Boston Sunday Globe," His most recent book, "Playing It by Ear: Literary Essays and Reviews," has been well received.

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