Reconstructing Criticism: Pope's Essay on Criticism and the Logic of Definition

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Bucknell University Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 226 pages
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This study aims to bring the modern theory of literary criticism, and Pope's 'Essay on Criticism' of 1711, into a more productive and intersting association than critical-historical structures have generally allowed. Smallwood marks out in current terms and in depth the specialized theoretial and aesthetic problem of defining criticism. He recognizes that criticism, no more than literature or art, cannot be finally codified or defined, but insists on the need for clarity in the exposition of criticism's purposes and a fuller consciousness of a common community of practice available to audiences outside the academic fold. Affirming the unfailing currency and utility of the term criticism as new languages have taken over the critical domain, or have sought to replace or abolish literature, Smallwood distinguishes between the normative definitions that are everywhere apparent in modern theory of criticism, and the advantages to conceptual comprehension achieved by Pope's poetic idea of criticism in the 'Essay'.

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About the author (2003)

Philip Smallwood read English as an undergraduate and graduate student at Oxford University and received his doctorate from King's College, University of London in 1980. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and currently Professor of English at the University of Central England

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