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LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 

Alfred Hower 

Rutgers University 

New Brunswick, N. J. 

Theory of Literature 


Kant in England ( 1 93 1 ) 
The Rise of English Literary History ( 1 94 1 ) 


Pofe as Critic and Humanist (1929) 

The Elder Henry James (1934) 

Crashaw: A Study in Baroque Sensibility (1939) 

Rage for Order (1948) 






New York 


COPYRIGHT, 1942, 1947, 1949, BY 

All rights reserved, including 
the right to reproduce this book 
or portions thereof in any form. 



The naming of this book has been more than ordinarily diffi- 
cult. Even a proper "short title," "Theory of Literature and 
Methodology of Literary Study," would be too cumbersome. 
Before the nineteenth century one might have managed, for then 
a full, analytic title could have covered the title-page while the 
spine bore the inscription "Literature." 

We have written a book which, so far as we know, lacks any 
close parallel. It is not a textbook introducing the young to the 
elements of literary appreciation nor (like Morize's Aims and 
Methods) a survey of the techniques employed in scholarly 
research. Some continuity it may claim with Poetics and Rhet- 
oric (from Aristotle down through Blair, Campbell, and 
Karnes), systematic treatments of the genres of belles-lettres and 
stylistics, or with books called Principles of Literary Criticism. 
But we have sought to unite "poetics" (or literary theory) and 
"criticism" (evaluation of literature) with "scholarship" ("re- 
search") and "literary history" (the "dynamics" of literature, 
in contrast to the "statics" of theory and criticism). It comes 
nearer to certain German and Russian works, Walzel's Gehalt 
und Gestalt, or Julius Petersen's Die Wissenschajt von der 
Dichtungy or Tomashevsky's Literary Theory. In contrast to the 
Germans, however, we have avoided mere reproductions of the 
views of others and, though we take into account other perspec- 
tives and methods, have written from a consistent point of view; 
in contrast to Tomashevsky, we do not undertake to give ele- 
mentary instruction on such topics as prosody. We are not 
eclectic like the Germans or doctrinaire like the Russian. 

By the standards of older American scholarship, there is some- 
thing grandiose and even "unscholarly" about the very attempt 
to formulate the assumptions on which literary study is con- 
ducted (to do which one must go beyond "facts") and something 
presumptuous in our effort to survey and evaluate highly special- 
ized investigations. Every specialist will unavoidably be dissatis- 

vi Prejace 

fied with our account of his specialty. But we have not aimed at 
minute completeness: the literary examples cited are always 
examples, not "proof" ; the bibliographies are "selective." Nor 
have we undertaken to answer all the questions we raise. We 
have judged it of central use to ourselves and others to be inter- 
national in our scholarship, to ask the right questions, to provide 
an organon of method. 

The authors of this book, who first met at the University of 
Iowa in 1939, immediately felt their large agreement in literary 
theory and methodology. 

Though of differing backgrounds and training, both had fol- 
lowed a similar pattern of development, passing through histori- 
cal research and work in the "history of ideas," to the position 
that literary study should be specifically literary. Both believed 
that "scholarship" and "criticism" were compatible 5 both refused 
to distinguish between "contemporary" and past literature. 

In 1 941, they contributed chapters on "History" and "Criti- 
cism" to a collaborative volume, Literary Scholarship, instigated 
and edited by Norman Foerster, to whose thought and encour- 
agement they are conscious of owing much. To him (were it not 
to give a misleading impression of his own doctrine) they would 
dedicate this book. 

The chapters of the present book were undertaken on the basis 
of existing interests. Mr. Wellek is primarily responsible for 
chapters 1-2, 4-7, 9-14, and 19, Mr. Warren for chapters 3, 8, 
and 1 5-1 8 j both shared equally in the concluding chapter. But 
the book is a real instance of a collaboration in which the author 
is the shared agreement between two writers. In terminology, 
tone, and emphasis there remain doubtless, some slight incon- 
sistencies between the writers ; but they venture to think that 
there may be compensation for these in the sense of two different 
minds reaching so substantial an agreement. 

It remains to thank Dr. Stevens and the Humanities Division 
of the Rockefeller Foundation, without whose aid the book 
would not have been possible, and the President, the Deans, and 
the department chairman of the University of Iowa, for their 
support and generous allotment of time; R. P. Blackmur and 
J. C. Ransom for their encouragement; Wallace Fowlie, Roman 
Jakobson, John McGalliard, John C. Pope, and Robert Penn 

Prejace vii 

Warren for their reading of certain chapters; Miss Alison 
White for close, devoted assistance throughout the composition 
of the book. 

The authors wish to acknowledge also the kindness of certain 
editors and publishers in permitting the incorporation of some 
passages from their earlier writings into the present book: to 
the Louisiana University Press and Cleanth Brooks, former edi- 
tor of the Southern Review (for "Mode of Existence of the 
Literary Work") ; to the University of North Carolina Press 
(for a portion of "Literary History," in Literary Scholarship, 
ed. Foerster, 1941); to the Columbia University Press (for 
passages from "Periods and Movements in Literary History" 
and "The Parallelism between Literature and the Arts" in the 
English Institute Annuals, 1940 and 1041 s ); to the Philosophi- 
cal Library (for passages from "The Revolt against Positivism" 
and "Literature and Society," in Twentieth Century English, 
ed. Knickerbocker, 1946); and to John Palmer, editor of the 
Sewanee Review for "The Graduate Study of Literature." 

Rene Wellek 
Austin Warren 
New Haven, May 1, 1948 




I. Literature and Literary Study 3 

II. The Nature of Literature 9 

III. The Function of Literature 19 

IV. Literary Theory, Criticism, and History 29 

V. General, Comparative, and National 

Literature 3 8 


VI. The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 49 


Introduction 6$ 

VII. Literature and Biography 67 

VIII. Literature and Psychology 75 

IX. Literature and Society 89 

X. Literature and Ideas 107 

XI. Literature and the Other Arts 124 


XII. The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 139 

XIII. Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 159 

x Contents 

XIV. Style and Stylistics 177 

XV. Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 190 

XVI. The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 219 

XVII. Literary Genres 235 

XVIII. Evaluation 248 

XIX. Literary History 263 


XX. The Study of Literature in the Graduate 

School 285 

Notes 299 

Bibliography 347 

Index 389 


Definitions and Distinctions 


Literature and Literary Study 

We must first make a distinction between literature and lit- 
erary study. The two are distinct activities: one is creative, an 
art j the other, if not precisely a science, is a species of knowledge 
or of learning. There have been attempts, of course, to obliterate 
this distinction. For instance, it has been argued that one cannot 
understand literature unless one writes it, that one cannot and 
should not study Pope without trying his own hand at heroic 
couplets or an Elizabethan drama without himself writing a 
drama in blank verse. 1 * Yet useful as the experience of literary 
creation is to him, the task of the student is completely distinct. 
He must translate his experience of literature into intellectual 
terms, assimilate it to a coherent scheme which must be rational 
if it is to be knowledge. It may be true that the subject matter 
of his study is irrational or at least contains strongly unrational 
elements ; but he will not be therefore in any other position than 
the historian of painting or the musicologist or, for that matter, 
the sociologist or the anatomist. 

Clearly, some difficult problems are raised by this relationship. 
The solutions proposed have been various. Some theorists would 
simply deny that literary study is knowledge and advise a 
"second creation," with results which to most of us seem futile 
today — Pater's description of Mona Lisa or the florid passages 
in Symonds or Symons. Such "creative criticism" has usually 
meant a needless duplication or, at most, the translation of one 
work of art into another, usually inferior. Other theorists draw 
rather different skeptical conclusions from our contrast between 
literature and its study: literature, they argue, cannot be "stud- 
ied" at all. We can only read, enjoy, appreciate it. For the rest, 
we can only accumulate all kinds of information "about" litera- 

* For the notes, cf. pp. 299-346. 


4 Theory of Literature 

ture. Such skepticism is actually much more widespread than one 
might suppose. In practice, it shows itself in a stress on environ- 
mental "facts" and in the disparagement of all attempts to go 
beyond them. Appreciation, taste, enthusiasm are left to the 
private indulgence as an inevitable, though deplorable, escape 
from the austerity of sound scholarship. But such a dichotomy 
into "scholarship" and "appreciation" makes no provision at 
all for the true study of literature, at once "literary" and 

The problem is one of how, intellectually, to deal with art, 
and with literary art specifically. Can it be done? And how can 
it be done? One answer has been: it can be done with the methods 
developed by the natural sciences, which need only be trans- 
ferred to the study of literature. Several kinds of such transfer 
can be distinguished. One is the attempt to emulate the general 
scientific ideals of objectivity, impersonality, and certainty, an 
attempt which on the whole supports the collecting of neutral 
facts. Another is the effort to imitate the methods of natural 
science through the study of causal antecedents and origins - y in 
practice, this "genetic method" justifies the tracing of any kind 
of relationship as long as it is possible on chronological grounds. 
Applied more rigidly, scientific causality is used to explain lit- 
erary phenomena by the assignment of determining causes to 
economic, social, and political conditions. Again, there is the 
introduction of the quantitative methods appropriately used in 
some sciences, i.e., statistics, charts, and graphs. And finally there 
is the attempt to use biological concepts in the tracing of the evo- 
lution of literature. 2 

Today there would be almost general recognition that this 
transfer has not fulfilled the expectations with which it was made 
originally. Sometimes scientific methods have proved their value 
within a strictly limited area, or with a limited technique such as 
the use of statistics in certain methods of textual criticism. But 
most promoters of this scientific invasion into literary study have 
either confessed failure and ended with skepticism or have com- 
forted themselves with delusions concerning the future successes 
of the scientific method. Thus, I. A. Richards used to refer to the 
future triumphs of neurology as insuring the solutions of all 
literary problems. 3 

Literature and Literary Study 5 

We shall have to come back to some of the problems raised 
by this widespread application of natural science to literary study. 
They cannot be dismissed too facilelyj and there is, no doubt, a 
large field in which the two methodologies contact or even over- 
lap. Such fundamental methods as induction and deduction, 
analysis, synthesis, and comparison are common to all types of 
systematic knowledge. But, patently, the other solution com- 
mends itself : literary scholarship has its own valid methods which 
are not always those of the natural sciences but are nevertheless 
intellectual methods. Only a very narrow conception of truth 
can exclude the achievements of the humanities from the realm 
of knowledge. Long before modern scientific development, phi- 
losophy, history, jurisprudence, theology, and even philology 
had worked out valid methods of knowing. Their achievements 
may have become obscured by the theoretical and practical tri- 
umphs of the modern physical sciences j but they are nevertheless 
real and permanent and can, sometimes with some modifications, 
easily be resuscitated or renovated. It should be simply recog- 
nized that there is this difference between the methods and aims 
of the natural sciences and the humanities. 

How to define this difference is a complex problem. As early 
as 1883, Wilhelm Dilthey worked out the distinction between 
the methods of natural science and those of history in terms of a 
contrast between explanation and comprehension. 4 The scientist, 
Dilthey argued, accounts for an event in terms of its causal ante- 
cedents, while the historian tries to understand its meaning. This 
process of understanding is necessarily individual and even sub- 
jective. A year later, Wilhelm Windelband, the well-known 
historian of philosophy, also attacked the view that the historical 
sciences should imitate the methods of the natural sciences. 5 The 
natural scientists aim to establish general laws while the his- 
torians try to grasp the unique and non-recurring fact. This view 
was elaborated and somewhat modified by Heinrich Rickert, 
who drew a line not so much between generalizing and individ- 
ualizing methods as between the sciences of nature and the 
sciences of culture. 6 The sciences of culture, he argued, are inter- 
ested in the concrete and individual. Individuals, however, can 
be discovered and comprehended only in reference to some 
scheme of values, which is merely another name for culture. In 

6 Theory of Literature 

France, A. D. Xenopol distinguished between the natural sciences 
as occupied with the "facts of repetition" and history as occupied 
with the "facts of succession." In Italy, Benedetto Croce based 
his whole philosophy on a historical method which is totally 
different from that of the natural sciences. 7 

A full discussion of these problems would involve decision 
on such problems as the classification of the sciences, the philoso- 1 
phy of history, and the theory of knowledge. 8 Yet a few concrete 
examples may at least suggest that there is a very real problem 
which a student of literature has to face. Why do we study 
Shakespeare? It is clear we are not primarily interested in what 
he has in common with all men, for we could then as well study 
any other man, nor are we interested in what he has in common 
with all Englishmen, all men of the Renaissance, all Eliza- 
bethans, all poets, all dramatists, or even all Elizabethan drama- 
tists, because in that case we might just as well study Dekker or 
Heywood. We want rather to discover what is peculiarly Shake- 
speare's, what makes Shakespeare Shakespeare 5 and this is ob- 
viously a problem of individuality and value. Even in studying 
a period or movement or one specific national literature, the lit- 
erary student will be interested in it as an individuality with 
characteristic features and qualities which set it off from other 
similar groupings. 

The case for individuality can be supported also by another 
argument: attempts to find general laws in literature have always 
failed. M. Cazamian's so-called law of English literature, the 
"oscillation of the rhythm of the English national mind" be- 
tween two poles, sentiment and intellect (accompanied by the 
further assertion that these oscillations become speedier the 
nearer we approach the present age), is either trivial or false. 
It breaks down completely in its application to the Victorian 
age. 9 Most of these "laws" turn out to be only such psycho- 
logical uniformities as action and reaction, or convention and 
revolt, which, even if they were beyond doubt, could not tell 
us anything really significant about the processes of literature. 
While physics may see its highest triumphs in some general 
theory reducing to a formula electricity and heat, gravitation 
and light, no general law can be assumed to achieve the purpose 
of literary study: the more general, the more abstract and hence 

Literature and Literary Study 7 

empty it will seem; the more the concrete object of the work of 
art will elude our grasp. 

There are thus two extreme solutions to our problem. One, 
made fashionable by the prestige of the natural sciences, identi- 
fies scientific and historical method and leads either to the mere 
collection of facts or to the establishment of highly generalized 
historical "laws." The other, denying that literary scholarship is 
a science, asserts the personal character of literary "understand- 
ing" and the "individuality," even "uniqueness," of every work 
of literature. But in its extreme formulation the anti-scientific 
solution has its own obvious dangers. Personal "intuition" may 
lead to a merely emotional "appreciation," to complete subjec- 
tivity. To stress the "individuality" and even "uniqueness" of 
every work of art — though wholesome as a reaction against facile 
generalizations — is to forget that no work of art can be wholly 
"unique" since it then would be completely incomprehensible. 
It is, of course, true that there is only one Hamlet or even one 
"Trees" by Joyce Kilmer. But even a rubbish heap is unique in 
the sense that its precise proportions, position, and chemical com- 
binations cannot be duplicated exactly. Moreover, all words in 
every literary work of art are, by their very nature, "generals" 
and not particulars. The quarrel between the "universal" and 
"particular" in literature has been going on since Aristotle pro- 
claimed poetry to be more universal and hence more philosophi- 
cal than history, which is concerned only with the particular, and 
since Dr. Johnson asserted that the poet should not "count the 
streaks of the tulip." The Romantics and most modern critics 
never tire of stressing the particularity of poetry, its "texture," 
its concreteness. 10 But one should recognize that each work of 
literature is both general and particular, or — better, possibly — is 
both individual and general. Individuality can be distinguished 
from complete particularity and uniqueness. 11 Like every human 
being, each work of literature has its individual characteristics; 
but it also shares common properties with other works of art, just 
as every man shares traits with humanity, with all members of 
his sex, nation, class, profession, etc. We can thus generalize con- 
cerning works of art, Elizabethan drama, all drama, all litera- 
ture, all art. Literary criticism and literary history both attempt 
to characterize the individuality of a work, of an author, of a 

8 Theory of Literature 

period, or of a national literature. But this characterization can 
be accomplished only in universal terms, on the basis of a literary 
theory. Literary theory, an organon of methods, is the great 
need of literary scholarship today. 

This ideal does not, of course, minimize the importance of 
sympathetic understanding and enjoyment as preconditions of 
our knowledge and hence our reflections upon literature. But 
they are only preconditions. To say that literary study serves 
only the art of reading is to misconceive the ideal of organized 
knowledge, however indispensable this art may be to the student 
of literature. Even though "reading" be used broadly enough to 
include critical understanding and sensibility, the art of reading 
is an ideal for a purely personal cultivation. As such it is highly 
desirable, and also serves as a basis of a widely spread literary 
culture. It cannot, however, replace the conception of "literary 
scholarship," conceived of as super-personal tradition. 


The Nature of "Literature 

The first problem to confront us is, obviously, the subject 
matter of literary scholarship. What is literature? What is not 
literature? What is the nature of literature? Simple as such 
questions sound, they are rarely answered clearly. 

One way is to define "literature" as everything in print. We 
then shall be able to study the "medical profession in the four- 
teenth century" or "planetary motion in the early Middle Ages" 
or "Witchcraft in Old and New England." As Edwin Greenlaw 
has argued, "Nothing related to the history of civilization is be- 
yond our province" ; we are "not limited to belles lettres or even 
to printed or manuscript records in our effort to understand a 
period or civilization," and we "must see our work in the light 
of its possible contribution to the history of culture." x Ac- 
cording to Greenlaw's theory, and the practice of many scholars, 
literary study has thus become not merely closely related to the 
history of civilization but indeed identical with it. Such study is 
literary only in the sense that it is occupied with printed or 
written matter, necessarily the primary source of most history. 
It can be, of course, argued in defense of such a view that histo- 
rians neglect these problems, that they are too much preoccupied 
with diplomatic, military, and economic history, and that thus 
the literary scholar is justified in invading and taking over a 
neighboring terrain. Doubtless nobody should be forbidden to 
enter any area he likes, and doubtless there is much to be said 
in favor of cultivating the history of civilization in the broadest 
terms. But still the study ceases to be literary. The objection 
that this is only a quibble about terminology is not convincing. 
The study of everything connected with the history of civiliza- 
tion does, as a matter of fact, crowd out strictly literary studies. 
All distinctions fall; extraneous criteria are introduced into lit- 
erature; and, by consequence, literature will be judged valuable 


IO Theory of Literature 

only so far as it yields results for this or that adjacent discipline. 
The identification of literature with the history of civilization 
is a denial of the specific field and the specific methods of literary 

Another way of defining literature is to limit it to "great 
books," books which, whatever their subject, are "notable for 
literary form or expression." Here the criterion is either aesthetic 
worth alone or aesthetic worth in combination with general intel- 
lectual distinction. Within lyric poetry, drama, and fiction, the 
greatest works are selected on aesthetic grounds; other books are 
picked for their reputation or intellectual eminence together 
with aesthetic value of a rather narrow kind: style, composition, 
general force of presentation are the usual characteristics singled 
out. This is a common way of distinguishing or speaking of lit- 
erature. By saying that "this is not literature," we express such a 
value judgment; we make the same kind of judgment when we 
speak of a book on history, philosophy, or science as belonging 
to "literature." Studies are written with such an assumption be- 
hind them: Henry Hallam's Introduction to the Literary His- 
tory of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries dis- 
cusses books on theology, logic, and jurisprudence, and even 
mathematics; only — and for unaccountable reasons — historiog- 
raphy is left out. 

Though Hallam's dividing line may seem peculiarly arbi- 
trary, most literary histories do include treatment of philoso- 
phers, historians, theologians, moralists, politicians, and even 
some scientists. It would, for example, be difficult to imagine 
a literary history of eighteenth-century England without an 
extended treatment of Berkeley and Hume, Bishop Butler and 
Gibbon, Burke and even Adam Smith. The treatment of these 
authors, though usually much briefer than that of poets, play- 
wrights, and novelists, is rarely limited to their strictly aesthetic 
merits. In practice, we get perfunctory and inexpert accounts 
of these authors in terms of their speciality. Quite rightly, Hume 
cannot be judged except as a philosopher, Gibbon except as a 
historian, Bishop Butler as a Christian apologist and moralist, 
and Adam Smith as a moralist and economist. But in most lit- 
erary histories these thinkers are discussed in a fragmentary 
fashion without the proper context, — the history of their subject 

The Nature of Literature 1 1 

of discourse — without a real grasp, that is, of the history of 
philosophy, of ethical theory, of historiography, of economic 
theory. The literary historian is not automatically transformed 
into a proper historian of these disciplines. He becomes simply 
a compiler, a self-conscious intruder. 

The study of isolated "great books" may be highly com- 
mendable for pedagogical purposes. We all must approve the 
idea that students — and even beginning students — should read 
great or at least good books rather than compilations or historical 
curiosities. 2 We may, however, doubt that the principle is worth 
preserving in its purity for the sciences, history, or any other 
accumulative and progressing subject. Within the history of 
imaginative literature, limitation to the great books makes in- 
comprehensible the continuity of literary tradition, the develop- 
ment of literary genres, and indeed the very nature of the lit- 
erary process, besides obscuring the background of social, lin- 
guistic, ideological, and other conditioning circumstances. In his- 
tory, philosophy, and similar subjects, it actually introduces an 
excessively "aesthetic" point of view. There is obviously no other 
reason than stress on expository "style" and organization for 
singling out Thomas Huxley from all English scientists as the 
one worth reading. It is further to be remarked that this criterion 
must, with very few exceptions, favor popularizers over the great 
originators: it will, and must, prefer Huxley to Newton, Berg- 
son to Kant. 

The term "literature" seems best If we limit it to the art of 
literature, that is, to imaginative literature. There are certain 
difficulties with so employing the term; but, in English, the 
possible alternatives, such as "fiction" or "poetry," are either 
already pre-empted by narrower meanings or, like "imaginative 
literature" or belles lettres> are clumsy and misleading. One of 
the objections to "literature" is its suggestion (in its etymology 
from Utera) of limitation to written or printed literature; for, 
clearly, any coherent conception must include "oral literature." 
In this respect, the German term Wortkunst and the Russian 
slovesnost have the advantage over their English equivalent. 

The main distinctions to be drawn are between the literary, 
the everyday, and the scientific uses of language. A recent dis- 
cussion of this point by Thomas Clark Pollock, The Nature of 

1 2 Theory of Literature 

Literature? though true as far as it goes, seems not entirely 
satisfactory, especially in defining the distinction between literary 
and everyday language. The problem is crucial and by no means 
simple in practice, since literature, in distinction from the other 
arts, has no medium of its own and since many mixed forms and 
subtle transitions undoubtedly exist. It is fairly easy to distin- 
guish between the language of science and the language of lit- 
erature. The mere contrast between "thought" and "emotion" 
or "feeling" is, however, not sufficient. Literature does contain 
thought, while emotional language is by no means confined to 
literature: witness a lovers' conversation or an ordinary argu- 
ment. Still, the ideal scientific language is purely "denotative": 
it aims at a one-to-one correspondence between sign and referent. 
The sign is completely arbitrary, hence can be replaced by equiv- 
alent signs. The sign is also transparent ; that is, without draw- 
ing attention to itself, it directs us unequivocally to its referent. 

Thus scientific language tends toward such a system of signs 
as mathematics or symbolic logic. Its ideal is such a universal 
language as the characteristica universalis which Leibniz had 
begun to plan as early as the late seventeenth century. Compared 
to scientific language, literary language will appear in some ways 
deficient. It abounds in ambiguities ; it is, like every other his- 
torical language, full of homonyms, arbitrary or irrational cate- 
gories such as grammatical gender; it is permeated with histori- 
cal accidents, memories, and associations. In a word, it is highly 
"connotative." Moreover, literary language is far from merely 
referential. It has its expressive side; it conveys the tone and 
attitude of the speaker or writer. And it does not merely state 
and express what it says; it also wants to influence the attitude 
of the reader, persuade him, and ultimately change him. There 
is a further important distinction between literary and scientific 
language: in the former, the sign itself, the sound symbolism of 
the word, is stressed. All kinds of techniques have been invented 
to draw attention to it, such as meter, alliteration, and patterns 
of sound. 

These distinctions from scientific language may be made in 
different degrees by various works of literary art: for example, 
the sound pattern will be less important in a novel than in certain 
lyrical poems, impossible of adequate translation. The expressive 

The Nature of Literature 1 3 

element will be far less in an "objective novel," which may dis- 
guise and almost conceal the attitude of the writer, than in a 
"personal" lyric. The pragmatic element, slight in "pure" poetry, 
may be large in a novel with a purpose or a satirical or didactic 
poem. Furthermore, the degree to which the language is intel- 
lectualized may vary considerably: there are philosophical and 
didactic poems which cannot be excluded from literature, which 
yet approximate, at least occasionally, the scientific use of lan- 
guage. Still, whatever the mixed modes apparent upon an exami- 
nation of concrete literary works of art, the distinctions between 
the literary use and the scientific use seem clear: literary language 
is far more deeply involved in the historical structure of the 
language j it stresses the awareness of the sign itself ; it has its 
expressive and pragmatic side which scientific language will 
always want so far as possible to minimize. 

More difficult to establish is the distinction between everyday 
and literary language. Everyday language is not a uniform con- 
cept: it includes such wide variants as colloquial language, the 
language of commerce, official language, the language of re- 
ligion, the slang of students. But obviously much that has been 
said about literary language holds also for the other uses of 
language excepting the scientific. Everyday language also has 
its expressive function, though this varies from a colorless of- 
ficial announcement to the passionate plea roused by a moment 
of emotional crisis. Everyday language is full of the irrationali- 
ties and contextual changes of historical language, though there 
are moments when it aims at almost the precision of scientific 
description. Only occasionally is there awareness of the signs 
themselves in everyday speech. Yet such awareness does ap- 
pear — in the sound symbolism of names and actions. No doubt, 
everyday language wants most frequently to achieve results, to 
influence actions and attitudes. But it would be false to limit it 
merely to communication. A child's talking for hours without a 
listener and an adult's almost meaningless social chatter show 
that there are many uses of language which are not strictly, or 
at least primarily, communicative. 

It is thus quantitatively that literary language is first of all 
to be differentiated from the varied uses of every day. The re- 
sources of language are exploited much more deliberately and 

1 4 Theory of Literature 

systematically. In the work of a subjective poet, we have mani- 
fest a "personality" far more coherent and all-pervasive than 
persons as we see them in everyday situations. Certain types of 
poetry will use paradox, ambiguity, the contextual change of 
meaning, even the irrational association of grammatical cate- 
gories such as gender or tense, quite deliberately. Poetic lan- 
guage organizes, tightens, the resources of everyday language, 
and sometimes does even violence to them, in an effort to force 
us into awareness and attention. Many of these resources a writer 
will find formed, and preformed, by the silent and anonymous 
workings of many generations. In certain highly developed lit- 
eratures, and especially in certain epochs, the poet merely uses 
an established convention: the language, so to speak, poeticizes 
for him. Still, every work of art imposes an order, an organiza- 
tion, a unity on its materials. This unity sometimes seems very 
loose, as in many sketches or adventure stories j but it increases 
to the complex, close-knit organization of certain poems, in 
which it may be almost impossible to change a word or the posi- 
tion of a word without impairing its total effect. 

The pragmatic distinction between literary language and 
everyday language is much clearer. We reject as poetry or label 
as mere rhetoric everything which persuades us to a definite 
outward action. Genuine poetry affects us more subtly. Art im- 
poses some kind of framework which takes the statement of the 
work out of the world of reality. Into our semantic analysis we 
thus can reintroduce some of the common conceptions of aesthet- 
ics: "disinterested contemplation," "aesthetic distance," "fram- 
ing." Again, however, we must realize that the distinction 
between art and non-art, between literature and the non-literary 
linguistic utterance, is fluid. The aesthetic function may extend to 
linguistic pronouncements of the most various sort. It would be 
a narrow conception of literature to exclude all propaganda art 
or didactic and satirical poetry. We have to recognize transitional 
forms like the essay, biography, and much rhetorical literature. 
In different periods of history the realm of the aesthetic function 
seems to expand or to contract : the personal letter, at times, was 
an art form, as was the sermon, while today, in agreement with 
the contemporary tendency against the confusion of genres, 
there appears a narrowing of the aesthetic function, a marked 

The Nature of Literature 1 5 

stress on purity of art, a reaction against pan-aestheticism and its 
claims as voiced by the aesthetics of the late nineteenth century. 
It seems, however, best to consider as literature only works in 
which the aesthetic function is dominant, while we can recognize 
that there are aesthetic elements, such as style and composition, 
in works which have a completely different, non-aesthetic pur- 
pose, such as scientific treatises, philosophical dissertations, politi- 
cal pamphlets, sermons. 

But the nature of literature emerges most clearly under the 
referential aspect. The center of literary art is obviously to be 
found in the traditional genres of the lyric, the epic, the drama. 
In all of them, the reference is to a world of fiction, of imagina- 
tion. The statements in a novel, in a poem, or in a drama are not 
literally true 5 they are not logical propositions. There is a cen- 
tral and important difference between a statement, even in a 
historical novel or a novel by Balzac which seems to convey 
"information" about actual happenings, and the same informa- 
tion appearing in a book of history or sociology. Even in the sub- 
jective lyric, the "I" of the poet is a fictional, dramatic "I." A 
character in a novel differs from a historical figure or a figure in 
real life. He is made only of the sentences describing him or put 
into his mouth by the author. He has no past, no future, and 
sometimes no continuity of life. This elementary reflection dis- 
poses of much criticism devoted to Hamlet in Wittenberg, the 
influence of Hamlet's father on his son, the slim and young 
Falstaff in Maurice Morgann's absurdly overpraised essay, "The 
Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines," the question of "how 
many children had Lady Macbeth." 4 Time and space in a novel 
are not those of real life. Even an apparently most realistic 
novel, the very "slice of life" of the naturalist, is constructed 
according to certain artistic conventions. Especially from a later 
historical perspective we see how similar are naturalistic novels 
in choice of theme, type of characterization, events selected or 
admitted, ways of conducting dialogue. We discern, likewise, the 
extreme conventionality of even the most naturalistic drama not 
only in its assumption of a scenic frame but in the way space 
and time are handled, the way even the supposedly realistic dia- 
logue is selected and conducted, and the way characters enter 
and leave the stage. 5 Whatever the distinctions between The 

1 6 Theory of Literature 

Tempest and A Doll's House, they share in this dramatic con- 

If we recognize "nationality," "invention," or "imagination" as 
the distinguishing trait of literature, we think thus of literature 
in terms of Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Balzac, Keats rather 
than of Cicero or Montaigne, Bossuet, or Emerson. Admittedly, 
there will be "boundary" cases, works like Plato's Republic to 
which it would be difficult to deny, at least in the great myths, 
passages of "invention" and "fictionality," while they are at 
the same time primarily works of philosophy. This conception 
of literature is descriptive, not evaluative. No wrong is done to 
a great and influential work by relegating it to rhetoric, to 
philosophy, to political pamphleteering, all of which may pose 
problems of aesthetic analysis, of stylistics and composition, simi- 
lar or identical to those presented by literature, but where the 
central quality of fictionality will be absent. This conception 
will thus include in it all kinds of fiction, even the worst novel, 
the worst poem, the worst drama. Classification as art should be 
distinguished from evaluation. 

One common misunderstanding must be removed. "Imagina- 
tive" literature need not use images. Poetic language is per- 
meated with imagery, beginning with the simplest figures and 
culminating in the total all-inclusive mythological systems of a 
Blake or Yeats. But imagery is not essential to fictional state- 
ment and hence to much literature. There are good completely 
imageless poems j there is even a "poetry of statement." 
Imagery, besides, should not be confused with actual, sensuous, 
visual image-making. Under the influence of Hegel, nineteenth- 
century aestheticians such as Vischer and Eduard von Hartmann 
argued that all art is the "sensuous shining forth of the idea," 
while another school (Fiedler, Hildebrand, Riehl) spoke of all 
art as "pure visibility." 6 But much great literature does not evoke 
sensuous images, or, if it does, it does so only incidentally, oc- 
casionally, and intermittently. 7. In the depiction even of a fic- 
tional character the writer may not suggest visual images at all. 
We scarcely can visualize any of Dostoevsky's or Henry James's 
characters, while we learn to know their states of mind, their 
motivations, evaluations, attitudes, and desires very completely. 

At the most, a writer suggests some schematized outline or 

The Nature of Literature I J 

one single physical trait — the frequent practice of Tolstoy or 
Thomas Mann. The fact that we object to many illustrations, 
though by good artists and, in some cases (e.g., Thackeray's), 
even by the author himself, shows that the writer presents us 
only with such a schematized outline as is not meant to be filled 
out in detail. 

If we had to visualize every metaphor in poetry we would 
become completely bewildered and confused. While there are 
readers given to visualizing and there are passages in literature 
where such imaginings seem required by the text, the psycho- 
logical question should not be confused with analysis of the 
poet's symbolic devices. These devices are largely the organiza- 
tion of mental processes which occur also outside of literature. 
Thus metaphor is latent in much of our everyday language and 
overt in slang and popular proverbs. The most abstract terms, 
by metaphorical transfer, derive from ultimately physical rela- 
tionships {comprehend, define, eliminate, substance, subject, hy- 
pothesis}. Poetry revives and makes us conscious of this meta- 
phorical character of language, just as it uses the symbols and 
myths of our civilization: Classical, Teutonic, Celtic, and 

All these distinctions between literature and non-literature 
which we have discussed — personal expression, realization and 
exploitation of the medium, lack of practical purpose, and, of 
course, fictionality — are restatements, within a framework of 
semantic analysis, of age-old aesthetic terms such as "unity in 
variety," "disinterested contemplation," "aesthetic distance," 
"framing," and "invention," "imitation." Each of them de- 
scribes one aspect of the literary work, one characteristic feature 
of its semantic directions. None is itself satisfactory. At least one 
result should emerge: a literary work of art is not a simple 
object but rather a highly complex organization of a stratified 
character with multiple meanings and relationships. The usual 
terminology, which speaks of an "organism," is somewhat mis- 
leading, since it stresses only one aspect, that of "unity in va- 
riety," and leads to biological parallels not always relevant. 
Furthermore, the "identity of content and form" in literature, 
though the phrase draws attention to the close interrelationships 
within the work of art, is misleading in being overfacile. It en- 

1 8 Theory of Literature 

courages the illusion that the analysis of any element of an arti- 
fact, whether of content or of technique, must be equally useful, 
and thus absolves us from the obligation to see the work in its 
totality. "Content" and "form" are terms used in too widely 
different senses for them to be, merely juxtaposed, helpful ; in- 
deed, even after careful definition, they too simply dichotomize 
the work of art. A modern analysis of the work of art has to 
begin with more complex questions: its mode of existence, its 
system of strata. 8 


The Function of Literature 

The nature and the function of literature must, in any co- 
herent discourse, be correlative. The use of poetry follows from 
its nature: every object or class of objects is most efficiently and 
rationally used for what it is, or is centrally. It acquires a sec- 
ondary use only when its prime function has lapsed: the old 
spinning wheel becomes an ornament, or a specimen in a mu- 
seum; the square piano, no longer capable of music, is made 
into a useful desk. Similarly, the nature of an object follows from 
its use: it is what it does. An artifact has the structure proper to 
the performance of its function, together with whatever acces- 
sories time and materials may make it possible, and taste may 
think it desirable, to add. There may be much in any literary 
work which is unnecessary to its literary function, though inter- 
esting or defensible on other grounds. 

Have conceptions of the nature and the function of literature 
changed in the course of history? The question is not easy to 
answer. If one goes far enough back, one can say yes 3 one can 
reach a time when literature, philosophy, and religion exist un- 
differentiated: among the Greeks, Aeschylus and Hesiod would 
perhaps be instances. But Plato can already speak of the quarrel 
between the poets and the philosophers as an ancient quarrel and 
mean by it something intelligible to us. We must not, on the 
other hand, exaggerate the difference made by doctrines of "art 
for art's sake" at the end of the nineteenth century or more 
recent doctrines of "foesie 'pure? The "didactic heresy," as Poe 
called the belief in poetry as an instrument of edification, is not 
to be equated with the traditional Renaissance doctrine that the 
poem pleases and teaches or teaches through pleasing. 

On the whole, the reading of a history of aesthetics or poetics 
leaves one with the impression that the nature and the function 
of literature, so far as they can be put into large general con- 


20 Theory of Literature 

ceptual terms, for comparison and contrast with other human 
activities and values, have not basically changed. 

The history of aesthetics might almost be summarized as a 
dialectic in which the thesis and counterthesis are Horace's dulce 
and utile: poetry is sweet and useful. Either adjective separately 
represents a polar heresy with regard to the function of poetry — 
probably it is easier to correlate dulce et utile on the basis of 
function than on that of nature. The view that poetry is pleasure 
(analogous to any other pleasure) answers to the view that 
poetry is instruction (analogous to any textbook). 1 The view 
that all poetry is, or should be, propaganda is answered by the 
view that it is, or should be, pure sound and image — arabesque 
without reference to the world of human emotions. The op- 
posing theses reach their subtlest versions, perhaps, in the views 
that art is "play" and that it is "work" (the "craft" of fiction, 
the "work" of art). Neither view, in isolation, can possibly seem 
acceptable. Told that poetry is "play," spontaneous amusement, 
we feel that justice has been done neither to the care, skill, and 
planning of the artist nor to the seriousness and importance of 
the poem 5 but told that poetry is "work" or "craft," we feel 
the violence done to its joy and what Kant called its "purpose- 
lessness." We must describe the function of art in such a way 
as to do justice at once to the dulce and the utile. 

The Horatian formula itself offers a helpful start if, remem- 
bering that precision in the use of critical terms is very recent, 
we give the Horatian terms an extension generous enough to 
encompass Roman and Renaissance creative practice. The use- 
fulness of art need not be thought to lie in the enforcement 
of such a moral lesson as Le Bossu held to be Homer's reason 
for writing the Iliad , or even such as Hegel found in his 
favorite tragedy, Antigone. "Useful" is equivalent to "not a 
waste of time," not a form of "passing the time," something 
deserving of serious attention. "Sweet" is equivalent to "not a 
bore," "not a duty," "its own reward." 

Can we use this double criterion as a basis of definition of 
literature, or is it rather a criterion of great literature? In older 
discussions, the distinctions between great, good, and "sublit- 
erary" literature rarely appear. There may be real doubt 
whether subliterary literature (the pulp magazine) is "useful" 

The Function of Literature 2 1 

or "instructive." It is commonly thought of as sheer "escape" 
and "amusement." But the question has to be answered in terms 
of subliterary readers, not in those of readers of "good litera- 
ture." Mortimer Adler, at least, would find a noetic element in 
the interest of the least intellectual novel reader. And as for 
"escape," Kenneth Burke has reminded us how facile a charge 
that may become. The dream of escape may "assist a reader to 
clarify his dislike of the environment in which he is placed. The 
artist can . . , become 'subversive' by merely singing, in all 
innocence, of respite by the Mississippi." 2 In answer to our 
question, it is probable that all art is "sweet" and "useful" to its 
appropriate users: that what it articulates is superior to their 
own self-induced reverie or reflection; that it gives them pleas- 
ure by the skill with which it articulates what they take to be 
something like their own reverie or reflection and by the release 
they experience through this articulation. 

When a work of literature functions successfully, the two 
"notes" of pleasure and utility should not merely coexist but 
coalesce. The pleasure of literature, we need to maintain, is not 
one preference among a long list of possible pleasures but is a 
"higher pleasure" because pleasure in a higher kind of activity, 
i.e., non-acquisitive contemplation. And the utility — the serious- 
ness, the instructiveness — of literature is a pleasurable serious- 
ness, i.e., not the seriousness of a duty which must be done or of 
a lesson to be learned but an aesthetic seriousness, a seriousness 
of perception. The relativist who likes difficult modern poetry 
oan always shrug off aesthetic judgment by making his taste a 
personal preference, on the level of crossword puzzles or chess. 
The educationist may falsely locate the seriousness of a great 
poem or novel, as in the historical information it purveys or the 
helpful moral lesson. 

Another point of importance: Has literature a function, or 
functions? In his Primer for Critics, Boas gaily exposits a plural- 
ism of interests and corresponding types of criticism; and, at, 
the end of his Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, Eliot 
sadly, or at least wearily, insists on the "variety of poetry" and 
the variety of things the kinds of poetry may do at various times. 
But these are exceptions. To take art, or literature, or poetry 
seriously is, ordinarily at least, to attribute to it some use proper 

22 Theory of Literature 

to itself. Considering Arnold's view that poetry could supersede 
religion and philosophy, Eliot writes: ". . . nothing in this 
world or the next is a substitute for anything else. . . ." 3 That 
is, no real category of value has a real equivalent. There are no 
real substitutes. In practice, literature can obviously take the 
place of many things — of travel or sojourn in foreign lands, of 
direct experience, vicarious life; and it can be used by the his- 
torian as a social document. But has literature a work, a use, 
which nothing else does as well? Or is it an amalgam of philos- 
ophy, history, music, and imagery which, in a really modern 
economy, would be distributed? This is the basic question. 

The defenders of literature will believe that it is not an archaic 
survival but a permanence, and so will many who are neither 
poets nor teachers of poetry and who therefore lack the profes- 
sional interest in survival. The experience of unique value in 
literature is basic to any theory concerning the nature of the 
value. Our shifting theories attempt to do progressively better 
justice to the experience. 

One contemporary line asserts the use and seriousness o£ 
poetry by finding that poetry conveys knowledge — a kind of 
knowledge. Poetry is a form of knowledge. Aristotle had seemed 
to say something like that in his famous dictum that poetry is 
more philosophical than history, since history "relates things 
which have happened, poetry such as might happen," the general 
and probable. Now, however, when history, like literature, ap- 
pears a loose, ill-defined discipline, and when science, rather, is 
the impressive rival, it is, rather, contended that literature gives 
a knowledge of those particularities with which science and 
philosophy are not concerned. While a neoclassical theorist like 
Dr. Johnson could still think of poetry in terms of the "grandeur 
of generality," modern theorists, of many schools (e.g., Gilby, 
Ransom, Stace), all stress the particularity of poetry. Says Stace, 
the play Othello is not about jealousy but about Othello's jeal- 
ousy, the particular kind of jealousy a Moor married to a 
Venetian might feel. 4 

The typicality of literature or the particularity: literary theory 
and apologetics may stress one or the other; for literature, one 
may say, is more general than history and biography but more 
particularized than psychology or sociology. But not only are 

The Function of Literature 23 

there shifts in the stress of literary theory. In literary practice, 
the specific degree of generality or particularity shifts from work 
to work and period to period. Pilgrim and Everyman undertake 
to be mankind. But Morose, the "humorist" of Jonson's Epi- 
coene, is a very special and idiosyncratic person. The principle of 
characterization in literature has always been defined as that of 
combining the "type" with the "individual" — showing the type 
in the individual or the individual in the type. The attempts at 
interpreting this principle, or specific dogmas derived from it, 
have not been very helpful. Literary typologies go back to the 
Horatian doctrine of decorum, and to the repertory of types in 
Roman comedy (e.g., the bragging soldier, the miser, the spend- 
thrift and romantic son, the confidential servant). We recognize 
the typological again in the character books of the seventeenth 
century and in the comedies of Moliere. But how to apply the 
concept more generally? Is the nurse in Romeo and Juliet a 
type? If so, of what? Is Hamlet a type? Apparently, for an 
Elizabethan audience, a melancholiac, something as described by 
Dr. Timothy Bright. But he is many other things also, and his 
melancholy is given a particular genesis and context. In some 
sense, the character which is an individual as well as a type is 
so constituted by being shown to be many types: Hamlet is also 
a lover, or former lover, a scholar, a connoisseur of the drama, 
a fencer. Every man is a convergence or nexus of types — even 
the simplest man. So-called character types are seen "flat," as 
all of us see people with whom we have relations of a single 
kind ; "round" characters combine views and relations, are shown 
in different contexts — public life, private, foreign lands. 5 

One cognitive value in the drama and novels would seem to 
be psychological. "The novelists can teach you more about 
human nature than the psychologists" is a familiar kind of 
assertion. Horney recommends Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, Ibsen, 
and Balzac as inexhaustible sources. E. M. Forster (Aspects of 
the Novel) speaks of the very limited number of persons whose 
inner life and motivations we know, and sees it as the great 
service of the novel that it does reveal the introspective life of 
the characters. 6 Presumably the inner lives he assigns his char- 
acters are drawn out of his own vigilant introspection. One might 
maintain that the great novels are source books for psychologists, 

24 Theory of Literature 

or that they are case histories (i.e., illustrative, typical examples). 
But here we seem to come back to the fact that psychologists will 
use the novel only for its generalized typical value: they will 
draw off the character of Pere Goriot from the total setting (the 
Maison Vauquer) and context of characters. 

Max Eastman, himself a minor poet, would deny that the 
"literary mind" can, in an age of science, lay claim to the dis- 
covery of truth. The "literary mind" is simply the unspecialized, 
amateur mind of prescientific days attempting to persist and tak- 
ing advantage of its verbal facility to create the impression that 
it is uttering the really important "truths." Truth in literature 
is the same as truth outside of literature, i.e., systematic and pub- 
licly verifiable knowledge. The novelist has no magic short cut to 
that present state of knowledge in the social sciences which con- 
stitutes the "truth" against which his "world," his fictional real- 
ity, is to be checked. But then, believes Eastman, the imaginative 
writer — and especially the poet — misunderstands himself if he 
thinks of his prime office as that of discovering and communi- 
cating knowledge. His real function is to make us perceive what 
we see, imagine what we already, conceptually or practically, 
know. 7 

It is difficult to draw the line between views of poetry as 
realization of the given and views of poetry as "artistic insight." 
Does the artist remind us of what we have ceased to perceive 
or make us see what, though it was there all the time, we had not 
seen? One remembers the black and white drawings in which 
there are concealed figures or faces composed of dots and broken 
lines: they were there all the time, but one did not see them as 
wholes, as designs. In his Intentions, Wilde cites Whistler's 
discovery of aesthetic value in fog, of the Pre-Raphaelite discov- 
ery of beauty in types of women hitherto not seen as beautiful or 
as types. Are these instances of "knowledge" or "truth"? We 
hesitate. They are discoveries of new "perceptual values," we 
say, of new "aesthetic qualities." 

One sees generally why aestheticians hesitate to deny "truth" 
as a property and a criterion of art: 8 partly, it is an honorific 
term, and one registers one's serious respect for art, one's ap- 
prehension of it as one of the supreme values, by the attribution; 
and partly, one is illogically fearful that if art isn't "true" it is 

The Function of Literature 25 

a "lie," as Plato, in violence, called it. Imaginative literature is 
a "fiction," an artistic, verbal "imitation of life." The opposite 
of "fiction" is not "truth" but "fact" or "time and space exist- 
ence." "Fact" is stranger than the probability with which litera- 
ture must deal. 9 

Among the arts, literature, specifically, seems also to claim 
"truth" through the view of life (W eltanschauung) which every 
artistically coherent work possesses. The philosopher or critic 
must think some of these "views" truer than others (as Eliot 
thinks Dante's truer than Shelley's or even than Shakespeare's) 3 
but any mature philosophy of life must have some measure of 
truth — at any event it lays claim to it. The truth of literature, as 
we are now considering it, seems to be the truth in literature — 
the philosophy which exists, in systematic conceptual form, out- 
side of literature but may be applied to or illustrated by or em- 
bodied in literature. In this sense, the truth in Dante is Catholic 
theology and scholastic philosophy. Eliot's view of poetry in its 
relation to "truth" seems essentially of this sort. Truth is the 
province of systematic thinkers ; and artists are not such thinkers, 
though they may try to be if there are no philosophers whose 
work they can suitably assimilate. 10 

The whole controversy would appear, in large measure, se- 
mantic. What do we mean by "knowledge," "truth," "cogni- 
tion," "wisdom"? If all truth is conceptual and propositional, 
then the arts — even the art of literature — can't be forms of 
truth. Again: if positivist reductive definitions are accepted, 
limiting truth to that which can be methodically verified by any- 
one, then art can't be a form of truth experimentally. The 
alternative to these seems some bi-modal or pluri-modal truth: 
there are various "ways of knowing" 5 or there are two basic 
types of knowledge, each of which uses a language system of 
signs: the sciences, which use the "discursive" mode, and the 
arts, which use the "presentational." X1 Are these both truth? 
The former is what philosophers have ordinarily meant, while 
the latter takes care of religious "myth" as well as poetry. We 
might call the latter "true" rather than "the truth." The adjec- 
tival quality would express the distinction in center of balance: 
art is substantively beautiful and adjectively true (i.e., it doesn't 
conflict with the truth). In his "Ars Poetica," MacLeish at- 

26 Theory of Literature 

tempts to adjust the claims of literary beauty and philosophy 
by the formula, a poem is "equal to: not true": poetry is as 
serious and important as philosophy (science, knowledge, wis- 
dom) and possesses the equivalence of truth, is truth-like. 

Mrs. Langer stresses the plastic arts and, still more, music, 
rather than literature, in her plea for presentational symbolism 
as a form of knowledge. Presumably she thinks of literature as 
in some way a mixture of "discursive" and "presentational." 
But the mythic element, or archetypal images, of literature 
would correspond to her presentational. "Men who follow the 
sea," she writes, "have often a deep love for that hard life. But 
in their dangerous calling they feel secure; in their comfortless 
quarters they are at ease. Waters and ships, heaven and storm 
and harbor, somehow contain the symbols through which they 
see meaning and sense in the world. . . ." 12 

From views that art is revelation or insight into the truth we 
should distinguish the view that art — specifically literature — is 
propaganda, the view, that is, that the writer is not the discov- 
erer but the persuasive purveyor of the truth. The term "propa- 
ganda" is loose and needs scrutiny. In popular speech, it is 
applied only to doctrines viewed as pernicious and spread by men 
whom we distrust. The word implies calculation, intention, and 
is usually applied to specific, rather restricted doctrines or pro- 
grams. 13 So limiting the sense of the term, one might say that 
some art (the lowest kind) is propaganda, but that no great 
art, or good art, or Art, can possibly be. If, however, we stretch 
the term to mean "effort, whether conscious or not, to influence 
readers to share one's attitude toward life," then there is plausi- 
bility in the contention that all artists are propagandists or 
should be, or (in complete reversal of the position outlined in 
the preceding sentence) that all sincere, responsible artists are 
morally obligated to be propagandists. 

According to Montgomery Belgion, the literary artist is an 
" 'irresponsible propagandist.' That is to say, every writer adopts 
a view or theory of life. . . . The effect of the work is always 
to persuade the reader to accept that view or theory. This per- 
suasion is always illicit. That is to say, the reader is always led 
to believe something, and that assent is hypnotic — the art of the 
presentation seduces the reader. . . ." Eliot, who quotes Bel- 

The Function of Literature 27 

gion, replies by distinguishing "poets whom it is a strain to think 
of as propagandists at all" from irresponsible propagandists, and 
a third group who, like Lucretius and Dante, are "particularly 
conscious and responsible" propagandists 5 and Eliot makes the 
judgment of responsibility depend on both auctorial intention 
and historic effect. 14 "Responsible propagandist" would seem to 
most people a contradiction in terms ; but, interpreted as a tension 
of pulls, it makes a point. Serious art implies a view of life which 
can be stated in philosophical terms, even in terms of systems. 15 
Between artistic coherence (what is sometimes called "artistic 
logic") and philosophical coherence there is some kind of cor- 
relation. The responsible artist has no will to confuse emotion 
and thinking, sensibility and intellection, sincerity of feeling with 
adequacy of experience and reflection. The view of life which the 
responsible artist articulates perceptually is not, like most views 
which have popular success as "propaganda," simple; and an 
adequately complex vision of life cannot, by hypnotic suggestion, 
move to premature or naive action. 

It remains to consider those conceptions of the function of 
literature clustered about the word "catharsis." The word — 
Aristotle's Greek, in the Poetics — has had a long history. The 
exegesis of Aristotle's use of the word remains in dispute; but 
what Aristotle may have meant, an exegetical problem of inter- 
est, need not be confounded with the problems to which the term 
has come to be applied. The function of literature, some say, is 
to relieve us — either writers or readers — from the pressure of 
emotions. To express emotions is to get free of them, as Goethe 
is said to have freed himself from Weltschmerz by composing 
The Sorrows of Werther. And the spectator of a tragedy or the 
reader of a novel is also said to experience release and relief. His 
emotions have been provided with focus, leaving him, at the end 
of his aesthetic experience, with "calm of mind." 16 

But does literature relieve us of emotions or, instead, incite 
them? Tragedy and comedy, Plato thought, "nourish and water 
our emotions when we ought to dry them up." Or, if literature 
relieves us of our emotions, are they not wrongly discharged 
when they are expended on poetic fictions? As a youth, St. 
Augustine confesses, he lived in mortal sin; yet "all this I wept 
not, I who wept for Dido slain. . . ." Is some literature in- 

28 Theory of Literature 

citory and some cathartic, or are we to distinguish between 
groups of readers and the nature of their response? 17 Again: 
should all art be cathartic? These are problems for treatment 
under "The Relation of Literature to Psychology" and "The 
Relation of Literature to Society" ; but they have, preliminarily, 
to be raised now. 

That, for proper readers, literature does not and should not 
incite the emotions is our hypothetical answer. Emotions repre- 
sented in literature are, neither for writer nor for reader, the 
same as emotions in "real life"; they are "recollected in tran- 
quillity" ; they are "expressed" — that is, released — by analysis ; 
they are the feelings of emotions, the perceptions of emotions. 

To conclude: the question concerning the function of literature 
has a long history — in the Western world, from Plato down to 
the present. It is not a question instinctively raised by the poet 
or by those who like poetry; for such, "Beauty is its own excuse, 
for being," as Emerson was once drawn into saying. The ques- 
tion is put, rather, by utilitarians and moralists, or by statesmen 
and philosophers, that is, by the representatives of other special 
values or the speculative arbiters of all values. What, they ask, 
is the use of poetry anyhow — cm bono? And they ask the ques- 
tion at the full social or human dimension. Thus challenged, the 
poet and the instinctive reader of poetry are forced, as morally 
and intellectually responsible citizens, to make some reasoned 
reply to the community. They do so in a passage of an Ars 
Poetica. They write a Defense or Afology for poetry: the lit- 
erary equivalent of what is called in theology "apologetics." 18 
Writing to this end and for this prospective audience, they nat- 
urally stress the "use" rather than the "delight" of literature; 
and hence it would be semantically easy today to equate the 
"function" of literature with its extrinsic relations. But from the 
Romantic movement on, the poet has often given, when chal- 
lenged by the community, a different answer: the answer which 
A. C. Bradley calls "poetry for poetry's sake"; 19 and theorists 
do well to let the term "function" serve the whole "apologetic" 
range. So using the word, we say, poetry has many possible 
functions. Its prime and chief function is fidelity to its own 


Literary Theory, Criticism, and History 

As we have envisaged a rationale for the study of literature, 
we must conclude the possibility of a systematic and integrated 
study of literature. English affords no very satisfactory name 
for this. The most common terms for it are "literary scholar- 
ship" and "philology." The former term is objectionable only 
because it seems to exclude "criticism" and to stress the academic 
nature of the study ; it is acceptable, doubtless, if one interprets 
the term "scholar" as inclusively as did Emerson. The latter 
term, "philology," is open to many misunderstandings. His- 
torically, it has been used to include not only all literary and 
linguistic studies but studies of all products of the human mind. 
Though its greatest vogue was in nineteenth-century Germany, 
it still survives in the titles of such reviews as Modem Philology, 
Philological Quarterly, and Studies in Philology. Boekh, who 
wrote a fundamental Encyklof'ddie und Methodologie der fhi- 
lologischen Wissenschaften (1877, but based on lectures partly 
dating back to 1809), 1 defined "philology" as the "knowledge of 
the known" and hence the study of language and literatures, 
arts and politics, religion and social customs. Practically identical 
with Greenlaw's "literary history," Boekh's philology is ob- 
viously motivated by the needs of classical studies, for which the 
help of history and archaeology seems particularly necessary. 
With Boekh, literary study is only one branch of philology, 
understood as a total science of civilization, particularly a science 
of what he, with German Romanticism, called the "National 
Spirit." Today, because of its etymology and much of the actual 
work of specialists, philology is frequently understood to mean 
linguistics, especially historical grammar and the study of past 
forms of languages. Since the term has so many and such diver- 
gent meanings, it is best to abandon it. 

Another alternative term for the work of the literary scholar 


30 Theory of Literature 

is "research." But this seems particularly unfortunate, for it 
stresses the merely preliminary search for materials and draws, 
or seems to draw, an untenable distinction between materials 
which have to be "searched for" and those which are easily 
available. For example, it is "research" when one visits the 
British Museum to read a rare book, while it apparently involves 
a different mental process to sit at home in an armchair and read 
a reprint of the same book. At most, the term "research" sug- 
gests certain preliminary operations, the extent and nature of 
which will vary greatly with the nature of the problem. But it 
ill suggests those subtle concerns with interpretation, characteri- 
zation, and evaluation which are peculiarly characteristic of lit- 
erary studies. 

Within our "proper study," the distinctions between literary 
theory, criticism, and history are clearly the most important. 
There is, first, the distinction between a view of literature as a 
simultaneous order and a view of literature which sees it pri- 
marily as a series of works arranged in a chronological order 
and as integral parts of the historical process. There is, then, the 
further distinction between the study of the principles and 
criteria of literature and the study of the concrete literary works 
of art, whether we study them in isolation or in a chronological 
series. It seems best to draw attention to these distinctions by 
describing as "literary theory" the study of the principles of 
literature, its categories, criteria, and the like, and by differen- 
tiating studies of concrete works of art as either "literary criti- 
cism" (primarily static in approach) or "literary history." Of 
course, "literary criticism" is frequently used in such a way as 
to include all literary theory ; but such usage ignores a useful 
distinction. Aristotle was a theorist j Sainte-Beuve, primarily 
a critic. Kenneth Burke is largely a literary theorist, while R. P. 
Blackmur is a literary critic. The term "theory of literature" 
might well include — as this book does — the necessary "theory 
of literary criticism" and "theory of literary history." 

These distinctions are fairly obvious and rather widely ac- 
cepted. But less common is a realization that the methods so 
designated cannot be used in isolation, that they implicate each 
other so thoroughly as to make inconceivable literary theory 
without criticism or history, or criticism without theory and his- 

Literary Theory, Critic'ism y and History 3 1 

tory, or history without theory and criticism. Obviously, literary 
theory is impossible except on the basis of" a study of concrete 
literary works. Criteria, categories, and schemes cannot be ar- 
rived at in vacuo. But, conversely, no criticism or history is pos- 
sible without some set of questions, some system of concepts, 
some points of reference, some generalizations. There is here, 
of course, no unsurmountable dilemma: we always read with 
some preconceptions, and we always change and modify these 
preconceptions upon further experience of literary works. The 
process is dialectical: a mutual interpenetration of theory and 

There have been attempts to isolate literary history from 
theory and criticism. For example, F. W. Bateson 2 argued that 
literary history shows A to derive from B, while criticism pro- 
nounces A to be better than B. The first type, according to this 
view, deals with verifiable facts j the second, with matters of 
opinion and faith. But this distinction is quite untenable. There 
are simply no data in literary history which are completely neu- 
tral "facts." Value judgments are implied in the very choice of 
materials: in the simple preliminary distinction between books 
and literature, in the mere allocation of space to this or that 
author. Even the ascertaining of a date or a title presupposes 
some kind of judgment, one which selects this particular book or 
event from the millions of other books and events. Even if we 
grant that there are facts comparatively neutral, facts such as 
dates, titles, biographical events, we merely grant the possi- 
bility of compiling the annals of literature. But any question a 
little more advanced, even a question of textual criticism or of 
sources and influences, requires constant acts of judgment. Such 
a statement, for example, as "Pope derives from Dryden" not 
only presupposes the act of selecting Dryden and Pope out of 
the innumerable versifiers of their times, but requires a knowl- 
edge of the characteristics of Dryden and Pope and then a con- 
stant activity of weighing, comparing, and selecting which is 
essentially critical. The question of the collaboration of Beau- 
mont and Fletcher is insoluble unless we accept such an im- 
portant principle as that certain stylistic traits (or devices) are 
related to one rather than to the other of the two writers j other- 

$2 Theory of Literature 

wise we have to accept the stylistic differences merely as matter 
of fact. 

But usually the case for the isolation of literary history from 
literary criticism is put on different grounds. It is not denied 
that acts of judgment are necessary, but it is argued that literary 
history has its own peculiar standards and criteria, i.e., those of 
the other ages. We must, these literary reconstructionists argue, 
enter into the mind and attitudes of past periods and accept their 
standards, deliberately excluding the intrusions of our own pre- 
conceptions. This view, called "historicism," was elaborated 
consistently in Germany during the nineteenth century, though 
even there it has been criticized by historical theorists of such 
eminence as Ernst Troeltsch. 3 It seems now to have penetrated 
directly or indirectly into the United States, and to it many of 
our "literary historians" more or less clearly profess allegiance. 
Hardin Craig, for instance, said that the newest and best phase 
of recent scholarship is the "avoidance of anachronistic think- 
ing." 4 E. E. Stoll, studying the conventions of the Elizabethan 
stage and the expectations of its audience, works on the theory 
that the reconstruction of the author's intention is the central 
purpose of literary history. 5 Some such theory is implied in the 
many attempts to study Elizabethan psychological theories, such 
as the doctrine of humors, or of the scientific or pseudo-scientific 
conceptions of poets. 6 Rosemond Tuve has tried to explain 
the origin and meaning of metaphysical imagery by reference 
to the training in Ramist logic received by Donne and his con- 
temporaries. 7 

As such studies cannot but convince us that different periods 
have entertained different critical conceptions and conventions, 
it has been concluded that each age is a self-contained unity 
expressed through its own type of poetry, incommensurate with 
any other. This view has been candidly and persuasively ex- 
pounded by Frederick A. Pottle in his Idiom of Poetry. 3 He 
calls his position that of "critical relativism," and speaks of pro- 
found "shifts of sensibility," of a "total discontinuity" in the 
history of poetry. His exposition is the more valuable as he com- 
bines it with an acceptance of absolute standards in ethics and 

At its finest, this conception of "literary history" requires an 

Literary Theory } Criticism, and History 33 

effort of imagination, of "empathy," of deep congeniality with 
a past age or a vanished taste. Successful efforts have been made 
to reconstruct the general outlook in life, the attitudes, concep- 
tions, prejudices, and underlying assumptions of many civiliza- 
tions. We know a great deal about the Greek attitude toward the 
gods, women, and slaves ; we can describe the cosmology of the 
Middle Ages in great detail ; and we have attempts to show the 
very different manner of seeing, or at least the very different 
artistic traditions and conventions, implied by Byzantine and 
Chinese art. Especially in Germany there is a plethora of studies, 
many of them influenced by Spengler, on the Gothic man, the 
Baroque man — all supposed to be sharply set off from our time, 
living in a world of their own. 

In the study of literature, this attempt at historical recon- 
struction has led to great stress on the intention of the author, 
which, it is assumed, can be studied in the history of criticism 
and literary taste. It is usually assumed that if we can ascertain 
this intention and can see that the author has fulfilled it, we can 
also dispose of the problem of criticism. The author has served 
a contemporary purpose, and there is no need or even possi- 
bility of further criticizing his work. The method thus leads to 
the recognition of a single critical standard, that of contemporary 
success. There are then not only one or two but literally hun- 
dreds of independent, diverse, and mutually exclusive concep- 
tions of literature, each of which is in some way "right." The 
ideal of poetry is broken up in so many splinters that nothing 
remains of it: a general anarchy or, rather, a leveling of all 
values must be the result. The history of literature is reduced 
to a series of discrete and hence finally incomprehensible frag- 
ments. The extreme form of this historicism is the Chicago Neo- 
Aristotelianism, which, denying the possibility of a general 
theory of literature, leaves us with unique and thus incommen- 
surate and equal works. 9 The recommended rhetorical analysis 
can be carried out indifferently with the Divine Comedy or the 
trashiest detective novel. A more moderate form is the view that 
there are polar poetical ideals which are so different that there is 
no common denominator between them : Classicism and Roman- 
ticism, the ideal of Pope and of Wordsworth, the poetry of state- 
ment and the poetry of implication. 

34 Theory of Literature 

The whole idea that the "intention" of the author is the 
proper subject of literary history seems, however, quite mis- 
taken. The meaning of a work of art is not exhausted by, or 
even equivalent to, its intention. As a system of values, it leads 
an independent life. The total meaning of a work of art cannot 
be defined merely in terms of its meaning for the author and his 
contemporaries. It is rather the result of a process of accretion, 
i.e., the history of its criticism by its many readers in many 
ages. It seems unnecessary and actually impossible to declare, 
as the historical reconstructionists do, that this whole process 
is irrelevant and that we must return only to its beginning. It is 
simply not possible to stop being men of the twentieth century 
while we engage in a judgment of the past: we cannot forget the 
associations of our own language, the newly acquired attitudes, 
the impact and import of the last centuries. We cannot become 
contemporary readers of Homer or Chaucer or members of the 
audience of the theater of Dionysus in Athens or of the Globe 
in London. There will always be a decisive difference between 
an act of imaginative reconstruction and actual participation in 
a past point of view. We cannot really believe in Dionysus and 
laugh at him at the same time, as the audience of Euripides' 
Bacchae seem to have done; 10 and few of us can accept Dante's 
circles of Hell and mountain of Purgatory as literal truth. If 
we should really be able to reconstruct the meaning which 
Hamlet held for its contemporary audience, we would merely 
impoverish it. We would suppress the legitimate meanings 
which later generations found in Hamlet. We would bar the 
possibility of a new interpretation. This is not a plea for arbi- 
trary subjective misreadings: the problem of a distinction be- 
tween "correct" and wrong-headed readings will remain, and 
will need a solution in every specific case. The historical scholar 
will not be satisfied to judge a work of art merely from the point 
of view of our own time — a privilege of the practicing critic, who 
will revaluate the past in terms of the needs of a present-day 
style or movement. It may be even instructive for him to look 
at a work of art from the point of view of a third time, contem- 
poraneous neither with him nor with the author, or to survey 
the whole history of the interpretation and criticism of a work 
which will serve as a guide to the total meaning. 

Literary Theory , Criticism, and History 35 

In practice, such clear-cut choices between the historical and 
the present-day point of view are scarcely feasible. We must 
beware of both false relativism and false absolutism. Values grow 
out of the historical process of valuation, which they in turn help 
us to understand. The answer to historical relativism is not a 
doctrinaire absolutism which appeals to "unchanging human 
nature" or the "universality of art." We must rather adopt a 
view for which the term "Perspectivism" seems suitable. We 
must be able to refer a work of art to the values of its own time 
and of all the periods subsequent to its own. A work of art is 
both "eternal" (i.e., preserves a certain identity) and "histori- 
cal" (i.e., passes through a process of traceable development). 
Relativism reduces the history of literature to a series of discrete 
and hence discontinuous fragments, while most absolutisms serve 
either only a passing present-day situation or are based (like the 
standards of the New Humanists, the Marxists, and the Neo- 
Thomists) on some abstract non-literary ideal unjust to the his- 
torical variety of literature. "Perspectivism" means that we rec- 
ognize that there is one poetry, one literature, comparable in all 
ages, developing, changing, full of possibilities. Literature is 
neither a series of unique works with nothing in common nor a 
series of works enclosed in time-cycles of Romanticism or Classi- 
cism, the age of Pope and the age of Wordsworth. Nor is it, of 
course, the "block-universe" of sameness and immutability which 
an older Classicism conceived as ideal. Both absolutism and rela- 
tivism are false ; but the more insidious danger today, at least in 
the United States, is a relativism equivalent to an anarchy of 
values, a surrender of the task of criticism. 

In practice, no literary history has ever been written without 
some principles of selection and some attempt at characterization 
and evaluation. Literary historians who deny the importance of 
criticism are themselves unconscious critics, usually derivative 
critics, who have merely taken over traditional standards and 
reputations. Usually, today, they are belated Romanticists who 
have closed their minds to all other types of art and especially 
to modern literature. But, as R. G. Collingwood has said very 
pertinently, a man "who claims to know what makes Shakespeare 
a poet is tacitly claiming to know whether Miss Stein is a poet, 
and if not, why not." u 

36 Theory of Literature 

The exclusion of recent literature from serious study has been 
an especially bad consequence of this "scholarly" attitude. The 
term "modern" literature used to be interpreted so widely by 
academics that scarcely any work after Milton's was considered 
a quite respectable object of study. Since then, the eighteenth 
century has been accepted into good and regular standing as 
conventional literary history and has even become fashionable, 
since it appears to offer an escape into a more gracious, more 
stable, and more hierarchic world. The Romantic period and 
the later nineteenth century are also beginning to receive the 
attention of the scholars, and there are even a few hardy men 
in academic positions who defend and practice the scholarly 
study of contemporary literature. 

The only possible argument against the study of living authors 
is the point that the student foregoes the perspective of the 
completed work, of the explication which later works may give 
to the implications of the earlier. But this disadvantage, valid 
only for developing authors, seems small compared to the ad- 
vantages we have in knowing the setting and the time and in 
the opportunities for personal acquaintance and interrogation or 
at least correspondence. If many second- or even tenth-rate 
authors of the past are worth study, a first- or even second-rate 
author of our time is worth studying, too. It is usually lack of 
perception or timidity which makes academics reluctant to judge 
for themselves. They profess to await the "verdict of the ages," 
not realizing that this is but the verdict of other critics and 
readers, including other professors. The whole supposed im- 
munity of the literary historian to criticism and theory is thor- 
oughly false, and that for a simple reason: every work of art 
is existing now, is directly accessible to observation, and is a 
solution of certain artistic problems whether it was composed 
yesterday or a thousand years ago. It cannot be analyzed, char- 
acterized, or evaluated without a constant recourse to critical 
principles. "The literary historian must be a critic even in order 
to be an historian." 12 

Conversely, literary history is also highly important for lit- 
erary criticism as soon as the latter goes beyond the most sub- 
jective pronouncement of likes and dislikes. A critic who is con- 
tent to be ignorant of all historical relationships would con- 

Literary Theory, Criticism, and History 37 

stantly go astray in his judgments. He could not know which 
work is original and which derivative; and, through his igno- 
rance of historical conditions, he would constantly blunder in his 
understanding of specific works of art. The critic possessed of 
little or no history is inclined to make slipshod guesses, or to 
indulge in autobiographical "adventures among masterpieces," 
and, on the whole, will avoid concern with the more remote 
past, content to hand that over to the antiquarian and the 

A case in point is medieval literature, especially English 
medieval literature, which — with the possible exception of 
Chaucer — has scarcely been approached from any aesthetic and 
critical point of view. The application of modern sensibility 
would give a different perspective to much Anglo-Saxon poetry 
or to the rich medieval lyric, just as, conversely, an introduction 
of historical points of view and a systematic examination of 
genetic problems could throw much light on contemporary lit- 
erature. The common divorce between literary criticism and 
literary history has been detrimental to both. 13 


General, Comparative, and National 'Literature 

Within literary studies, we have distinguished between theory, 
history, and criticism. Using another basis of division, we shall 
now attempt a systematic definition of comparative, general, and 
national literature. The term "comparative" literature is trouble- 
some and doubtless, indeed, one of the reasons why this im- 
portant mode of literary study has had less than the expected 
academic success. Matthew Arnold, translating Ampere's use of 
"kistoire comparative" was apparently the first to use the term 
in English (1848). The French have preferred the term used 
earlier by Villemain, who had spoken of "litterature compare e" 
(1829), after the analogy of Cuvier's Analomie comparee 
(1800). The Germans speak of "vergleichende Literaturge- 
schichte." 1 Yet neither of these differently formed adjectives is 
very illuminating, since comparison is a method used by all 
criticism and sciences, and does not, in any way, adequately de- 
scribe the specific procedures of literary study. The formal com- 
parison between literatures — or even movements, figures, and 
works — is rarely a central theme in literary history, though 
such a book as F. C. Green's Minuet, 2 comparing aspects of 
French and English eighteenth-century literature, may be illu- 
minating in defining not only parallels and affinities but also 
divergences between the literary development of one nation and 
that of another. 

In practice, the term "comparative" literature has covered and 
still covers rather distinct fields of studv and groups of problems. 
It may mean, first, the study of oral literature, especiallv of 
folk-tale themes and their migration 5 of how and when they 
have entered "higher," "artistic" literature. This type of prob- 
lem can be relegated to folklore, an important branch of learn- 
ing which is only in part occupied with aesthetic facts, since it 
studies the total civilization of a "folk," its costumes and customs, 


General, C omfarative } and National Literature 39 

superstitions and tools as well as its arts. We must, however, 
endorse the view that the study of oral literature is an integral 
part of literary scholarship, for it cannot be divorced from the 
study of written works, and there has been and still is a con- 
tinuous interaction between oral and written literature. Without 
going to the extreme of folklorists such as Hans Naumann 3 who 
consider all oral literature as "gesunkenes Kuhurgut" we can 
recognize that written upper-class literature has profoundly af- 
fected oral literature. The incorporation into folklore of chivalric 
romance and troubadour lyric is an indubitable fact. Though this 
is a view which would have shocked the Romantic believers in 
the creativity of the folk and the remote antiquity of folk art, 
nevertheless popular ballads, fairy tales, and legends as we know 
them are frequently of late origin and upper-class derivation. 
Yet the study of oral literature must be an important concern 
of every literary scholar who wants to understand the processes 
of literary development, the origins and the rise of our literary 
genres and devices. It is unfortunate that the study of oral lit- 
erature has thus far been so exclusively preoccupied with the 
study of themes and their migrations from country to country, 
i.e., with the raw materials of modern literatures. 4 Of late, how- 
ever, folklorists have increasingly turned their attention to the 
study of patterns, forms, and devices, to a morphology of lit- 
erary forms, to the problems of the teller and narrator and the 
audience of a tale, and have thus prepared the way for a close 
integration of their studies into a general conception of literary 
scholarship. 5 Though the study of oral literature has its own 
peculiar problems, those of transmission and social setting, 6 its 
fundamental problems, without doubt, are shared with written 
literature; and there is a continuity between oral and written 
literature which has never been interrupted. Scholars in the 
modern European literatures have neglected these questions to 
their own disadvantage, while literary historians in the Slavic 
and Scandinavian countries, where folklore is still — or was till 
recently — alive, have been in much closer touch with these 
studies. But "comparative literature" is hardly the term by 
which to designate the study of oral literature. 

Another sense of "comparative" literature confines it to the 
study of relationships between two or more literatures. This is 

40 Theory of Literature 

the use established by the flourishing school of French com- 
faratistes headed by Fernand Baldensperger and gathered 
around the Revue de Utterature comfaree. 1 The school has 
especially given attention, sometimes mechanically but some- 
times with considerable finesse, to such questions as the repu- 
tation and penetration, the influence and fame, of Goethe in 
France and England, of Ossian and Carlyle and Schiller in 
France. It has developed a methodology which, going beyond 
the collection of information concerning reviews, translations, 
and influences, considers carefully the image, the concept of a 
particular author at a particular time, such diverse factors of 
transmission as periodicals, translators, salons, and travelers, and 
the "receiving factor," the special atmosphere and literary sit- 
uation into which the foreign author is imported. In total, much 
evidence for the close unity, especially of the Western European 
literatures, has been accumulated ; and our knowledge of the 
"foreign trade" of literatures has been immeasurably increased. 

But this conception of "comparative literature" has also, one 
recognizes, its peculiar difficulties. 8 No distinct system can, it 
seems, emerge from the accumulation of such studies. There is 
no methodological distinction between a study of "Shakespeare 
in France" and a study of "Shakespeare in eighteenth-century 
England," or between a study of Poe's influence on Baudelaire 
and one of Dryden's influence on Pope. Comparisons between 
literatures, if isolated from concern with the total national lit- 
eratures, tend to restrict themselves to external problems of 
sources and influences, reputation and fame. Such studies do 
not permit us to analyze and judge an individual work of art, or 
even to consider the complicated whole of its genesis; instead, 
they are mainly devoted either to such echoes of a masterpiece 
as translations and imitations, frequently by second-rate authors, 
or to the prehistory of a masterpiece, the migrations and the 
spread of its themes and forms. The emphasis of "comparative 
literature" thus conceived is on externals; and the decline of 
"comparative literature" in recent decades reflects the general 
turning away from stress on mere "facts," on sources and 

A third conception obviates, however, all these criticisms, by 
identifying "comparative literature" with the study of literature 

General, Comfarativey and National Literature 41 

in Its totality, with "world-literature," with "general" or "uni- 
versal" literature. There are certain difficulties with these sug- 
gested equations. The term "world literature," a translation of 
Goethe's Weltlheratur? is perhaps needlessly grandiose, imply- 
ing that literature should be studied on all five continents, from 
New Zealand to Iceland. Existing courses in world literature, 
like the textbooks and handbooks written for them, often supply 
us with snippets from famous authors and great books ranging 
from the Rig-Veda to Oscar Wilde and encourage an indis- 
criminate smattering, a vague, sentimental cosmopolitanism. 
The possibly preferable term "general literature" has the disad- 
vantage that Paul Van Tieghem 10 has tried to capture it for 
a rather narrow conception in specific contrast to "comparative 
literature." According to him, "general literature" studies those 
movements and fashions of literature which transcend national 
lines. In practice, however, it would be difficult to determine be- 
forehand which movements are general and thus to draw a line 
of distinction between the purely national and the general. Most 
of Van Tieghem's own books are rather conventional investiga- 
tions of a comparative sort, studying Ossian in France or the 
international vogue of "graveyard poetry," or are handbooks of 
external facts and interrelationships. 11 

Whatever the difficulties into which a conception of universal 
literary history may run, it is important to think of literature 
as a totality and to trace the growth and development of litera- 
ture without regard to linguistic distinctions. The practical result 
of such thinking will be a general history, especially of the 
Western tradition. One cannot doubt the continuity between 
Greek and Roman literatures, the Western medieval world, and 
the main modern literatures j and, without minimizing the im- 
portance of Oriental influences, especially that of the Bible, one 
must recognize a close unity which includes all Europe, Russia, 
the United States, and the South American literatures. This ideal 
was envisaged and, within their limited means, fulfilled, by the 
founders of literary history in the early nineteenth century, such 
men as the Schlegels, Sismondi, Bouterwek, and Hallam. 12 
During the later nineteenth century, this ideal was more closely 
defined and brought nearer to a coherent view through the in- 
fluence of evolutionism. The first theories of comparative litera- 

42 Theory of Literature 

ture, the books by Karayev and Posnett, 13 were largely under the 
influence of the sociological conceptions of Herbert Spencer and 
drew far too close a parallelism between the growth of institu- 
tions and that of literature. But a return to the ideals and ambi- 
tions of the great masters of general literary historiography is 
overdue, whatever modifications we may make today in the de- 
tails of their methods and however ampler our sources of infor- 
mation may be. Literary history as a synthesis, literary history 
on*a supernational scale, will have to be written again. The study 
of comparative literature in this sense will make high demands 
on the linguistic proficiencies of our scholars. It asks for a widen- 
ing of perspectives, a suppression of local and provincial senti- 
ments, not easy to achieve. Yet literature is one, as art and 
humanity are one; and in this conception lies the future of his- 
torical literary studies. 

Within this enormous area — in practice, identical with all lit- 
erary history — there are, no doubt, subdivisions sometimes run- 
ning along linguistic lines. There are, first of all, the groups of 
the three main linguistic families in Europe — the Germanic, the 
Romance, and the Slavic literatures. The Romance literatures 
have particularly frequently been studied in close interconnec- 
tion, from the days of Bouterwek up to Leonardo Olschki's par- 
tially successful attempt to write a history of them all for the 
medieval period. 14 The Germanic literatures have been com- 
parably studied, usually, only for the early Middle Ages, when 
the nearness of a general Teutonic civilization can be still 
strongly felt. 15 Despite the customary opposition of Polish 
scholars, it would appear that the close linguistic affinities of the 
Slavic languages, in combination with shared popular traditions 
extending even to metrical forms, make up a basis for a common 
Slavic literature. 16 

The history of themes and forms, devices and genres, is ob- 
viously an international history. While most of our genres de- 
scend from the literature of Greece and Rome, they were very 
considerably modified and augmented during the Middle Ages. 
Even the history of metrics, though closely bound up with the 
individual linguistic systems, is international. Furthermore, the 
great literary movements and styles of modern Europe (the 
Renaissance, the Baroque, Neo-Classicism, Romanticism, Real- 

General, Comfarative y and National Literature 43 

ism, Symbolism) far exceed the boundaries of one nation, even 
though there are significant national differences between the 
workings out of these styles. 17 On the whole, the importance of 
linguistic barriers was quite unduly magnified during the nine- 
teenth century. 

This emphasis was due to the very close association between 
Romantic (mostly linguistic) nationalism and the rise of mod- 
ern organized literary history. It continues today through such 
practical influences as the virtual identification, especially in this 
country, of the teaching of literature and the teaching of a 
language. The result, in this country, has been an extraordinary 
lack of contact between the students of English, German, and 
French literature. Each of these groups bears a completely dif- 
ferent imprint and uses different methods. These disjunctions are 
in part, doubtless, unavoidable, simply because most men live 
in but a single linguistic medium ; and yet they lead to grotesque 
consequences when literary problems are discussed only with 
regard to views expressed in the particular language and only 
with reference to texts and documents in that language. Though 
in certain problems of artistic style, meter, and even genre, the 
linguistic differences between the European literatures will be 
important, it is clear that for many problems of the history of 
ideas, including critical ideas, such distinctions are untenable j 
artificial cross sections are drawn through homogeneous ma- 
terials, and histories are written concerning ideological echoes by 
chance expressed in English or German or French. The excessive 
attention to one vernacular is especially detrimental to the study 
of medieval literature, since in the Middle Ages Latin was the 
foremost literary language, and Europe formed a very close 
intellectual unity. A history of literature during the Middle 
Ages in England which neglects the vast amount of writings in 
Latin and Anglo-Norman gives a false picture of England's lit- 
erary situation and general culture. 

This recommendation of comparative literature does not, of 
course, imply neglecting the study of individual national litera- 
tures. Indeed, it is just the problem of "nationality" and of the 
distinct contributions of the individual nations to this general 
literary process which should be realized as central. Instead of 
being studied with theoretical clarity, the problem has been 

44 Theory of Literature 

blurred by nationalistic sentiment and racial theories. To isolate 
the exact contributions of English literature to general literature, 
a fascinating problem, might lead to a shift of perspective and 
an altered evaluation, even of the major figures. Within each 
national literature there arise similar problems of the exact 
shares of regions and cities. Such an exaggerated theory as that 
of Josef Nadler, 18 who professes to be able to discern the traits 
and characteristics of each German tribe and region and its 
reflections in literature, should not deter us from the considera- 
tion of these problems, rarely investigated with any command of 
facts and any coherent method. Much that has been written on 
the role of New England, the Middle West, and the South in 
the history of American literature, and most of the writings on 
regionalism, amounts to no more than the expression of pious 
hopes, local pride, and resentment of centralizing powers. Any 
objective analysis will have to distinguish questions concerning 
the racial descent of authors and sociological questions concern- 
ing provenience and setting from questions concerning the actual 
influence of the landscape and questions of literary tradition 
and fashion. 

Problems of "nationality" become especially complicated if 
we have to decide that literatures in the same language are dis- 
tinct national literatures, as American and modern Irish as- 
suredly are. Such a question as why Goldsmith, Sterne, and 
Sheridan do not belong to Irish literature, while Yeats and Joyce 
do, needs an answer. Are there independent Belgian, Swiss, and 
Austrian literatures? It is not very easy to determine the point 
at which literature written in America ceased to be "colonial 
English" and became an independent national literature. Is it 
the mere fact of political independence? Is it the national con- 
sciousness of the authors themselves? Is it the use of national 
subject matter and "local color"? Or is it the rise of a definite 
national literary style? 

Only when we have reached decisions on these problems shall 
we be able to write histories of national literature which are not 
simply geographical or linguistic categories, shall we be able 
to analyze the exact way in which each national literature enters 
into European tradition. Universal and national literatures im- 
plicate each other. A pervading European convention is modified 

Generaly Comparative, and National Literature 45 

in each country: there are also centers of radiation in the individ- 
ual countries, and eccentric and individually great figures who set 
off one national tradition from the other. To be able to describe 
the exact share of the one and the other would amount to know- 
ing much that is worth knowing in the whole of literary history. 


Preliminary Operations 


The Ordering- and Establishing;: of Evidence 

One of the first tasks of scholarship is the assembly of its 
materials, the careful undoing of the effects of time, the exami- 
nation as to authorship, authenticity, and date. Enormous acumen 
and diligence have gone into the solution of these problems j yet 
the literary student will have to realize that these labors are 
preliminary to the ultimate task of scholarship. Often the im- 
portance of these operations is particularly great, since without 
them, critical analysis and historical understanding would be 
hopelessly handicapped. This is true in the case of a half-buried 
literary tradition such as that of Anglo-Saxon literature ; but for 
the student of most modern literatures, concerned with the 
literary meaning of the works, the importance of these studies 
should not be overrated. They have either been needlessly ridi- 
culed because of their pedantry or glorified for their supposed or 
real exactitude. The neatness and perfection with which certain 
problems can be solved have always attracted minds which enjoy 
orderly procedure and the intricacies of manipulation, quite apart 
from any final significance which they may have. These studies 
need to be criticized adversely only when they usurp the place 
of other studies and become a specialty mercilessly imposed on 
every student of literature. Literary works have been edited 
meticulously, passages emended and debated in the greatest de- 
tail which, from a literary or even historical point of view, are 
not worth discussing at all. Or, if they are worth it, have had 
only the kind of attention the textual critic gives to a book. Like 
other human activities, these exercises often become ends in 

Among these preliminary labors one has to distinguish two 
levels of operations: ( i) the assembling and preparing of a text; 
and (2) the problems of chronology, authenticity, authorship, 
collaboration, revision and the like, which have been frequently 


50 Theory of Literature 

described as "higher criticism," a rather unfortunate term de- 
rived from Biblical studies. 

It will be useful to distinguish the stages in these labors. 
There is, first, the assembling and collecting of the materials, 
whether in manuscript or in print. In English literary history, 
this work has been accomplished almost completely, though in 
the present century a few fairly important works like The Book 
of Margery Kempe, Medwall's Fulgens and Lucrece. and Chris- 
topher Smart's Rejoice m the Lamb have been added to our 
knowledge of the history of English mysticism and that of Eng- 
lish poetry. 1 But there is, of course, no end to the discovery of 
personal and legal documents which might illustrate the litera- 
ture or at least the lives of English writers. In recent decades the 
discoveries of Leslie Hotson on Marlowe or the recovery of the 
Boswell papers may be quoted as well-known instances. 2 In 
other literatures the possibilities of new discoveries may be much 
greater, especially in those where little has been fixed in writing. 

In the field of oral literature the assembly of materials has its 
own special problems, such as the discovery of a competent 
singer or narrator, tact and skill in inducing him to sing or to 
recite, the method of recording his recitations by phonograph 
or by phonetic writing, and many others. In finding manuscript 
materials one has to meet problems of a purely practical nature, 
such as personal acquaintance with the heirs of the writer, one's 
own social prestige and financial restrictions, and frequently some 
kind of detective skill. 3 Such a search may require very special 
knowledge as, for example, in the case of Leslie Hotson, who 
had to know much about Elizabethan legal procedure to find his 
way through the masses of documents in the Public Record 
Office. Since the majority of students can find their source ma- 
terials in libraries, a knowledge of the most important libraries, 
and familiarity with their catalogues as well as other reference 
books, is undoubtedly, in many ways, an important equipment of 
almost every student of literature. 4 

We may leave the technical details of cataloguing and biblio- 
graphical description to the librarians and professional bibliog- 
raphers; but sometimes merely bibliographical facts may have 
a literary relevance and value. The number and size of editions 
may throw light on questions of success and reputation ; the dis- 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 5 I 

tinctions between editions may allow us to trace the stages of the 
author's revision and thus throw light on problems of the genesis 
and evolution of the work of art. A skillfully edited bibliography 
such as the CBEL maps out vast areas for research ; and special- 
ized bibliographies such as Greg's Bibliography of English 
Drama, Johnson's Spenser Bibliography, Macdonald's Dryden 
Bibliography, Griffith's Pope 5 may be guides to many problems 
of literary history. Such bibliographies may necessitate investi- 
gations into printing house practices, booksellers' and publishers' 
histories; and they require knowledge of printers' devices, water- 
marks, type fonts, compositors' practices, and bindings. Some- 
thing like a library science, or certainly an immense erudition 
on the history of book production, is needed to decide questions 
which, by their implications as to date, order of editions, etc., 
may be important for literary history. "Descriptive" bibliog- 
raphy, which uses all the arts of collating and examining of the 
actual make-up of a book, must thus be distinguished from 
"enumerative" bibliography, the compiling of book lists which 
give descriptive data only sufficient for identification. 6 

Once the preliminary task of assembly and cataloguing is 
completed, the process of editing begins. Editing is often an 
extremely complex series of labors, inclusive of both interpre- 
tation and historical research. There are editions which in the 
introductions and notes contain important criticism. Indeed, an 
edition may be a complex of almost every kind of literary study. 
Editions have played a very important role in the history of 
literary studies : they may — to quote a recent example, like F. N. 
Robinson's edition of Chaucer — serve as a repository of learn- 
ing, as a handbook of all the knowledge about an author. But 
taken in its central meaning as the establishment of the text of 
a work, editing has its own problems, among which actual "tex- 
tual criticism" is a highly developed technique with a long his- 
tory especially in classical and Biblical scholarship. 7 

One must distinguish rather sharply between the problems 
which arise in editing classical or medieval MSS on the one 
hand and, on the other, printed matter. MS materials will neces- 
sitate, first, a knowledge of paleography, a study which has 
established very subtle criteria for the dating of MSS and has 
produced useful manuals for the deciphering of abbreviations. 8 

52 Theory of Literature 

Much has been done to trace the exact provenience of MSS to 
specific monasteries of a certain period. Very complex questions 
of the exact relationships between these MSS may arise. An 
investigation should lead to a classification which can be made 
graphically clear by the construction of a pedigree. 9 In recent 
decades Dom Henri Quentin and W. W. Greg 10 have worked 
out elaborate techniques for which they claim scientific certainty, 
though other scholars, such as Bedier and Shepard, 11 have ar- 
gued that there is no completely objective method of establishing 
classifications. While this is hardly the place to reach a decision 
on such a question, we would lean toward the latter view. We 
would conclude that, in most cases, it is advisable to edit the 
MS which is adjudged to be nearest the author's own without 
attempting the reconstruction of some hypothetical "original." 
The edition will, of course, draw upon the results of collation, 
and the choice of the MS itself will be determined by a study 
of the whole MS tradition. The experiences with the sixty sur- 
viving MSS of Piers Plowman and the eighty-three MSS of the 
Canterbury Tales 12 lead, we think, to conclusions mostly un- 
favorable to the idea that there ever existed an authorized re- 
cension or archetype analogous to the definitive edition of a 
modern work. 

The process of recension, i.e., constructing a stemma or pedi- 
gree, must be distinguished from actual textual criticism and 
emendation, which will, of course, be based on these classifica- 
tions but will have to take into consideration other points of 
view and criteria than those derived merely from the MS tradi- 
tion. 13 Emendation may use the criterion of "genuineness," 
i.e., derivation of a particular word or passage from the oldest 
and best (i.e., most authoritative) MS 5 but it will have to intro- 
duce distinct considerations of "correctness" such as linguistic 
criteria, historical criteria, and finally unavoidable psychological 
criteria. Otherwise we could not eliminate "mechanical" errors, 
misreadings, miswritings, associations, or even conscious changes 
of the scribes. Much must be left, after all, to the lucky guess- 
work of the critic, to his taste and linguistic feeling. Modern 
editors have, we think rightly, become more and more reluctant 
to indulge in such guesses, but the reaction in favor of the diplo- 
matic text seems to have gone too far when the editor reproduces 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 53 

all abbreviations and scribal errors and all the vagaries of the 
original punctuation. This may be important for other editors 
or sometimes for linguists but is a needless impediment for the 
literary scholar. We plead not for modernized texts but for read- 
able texts which will avoid unnecessary guesses and changes and 
give reasonable help by minimizing attention to purely scribal 
conventions and habits. 

The problems of editing printed materials are usually some- 
what simpler than those of editing manuscripts, though in gen- 
eral they are similar. But there is a distinction, formerly not 
always understood. In the case of nearly all classical MSS, we 
are met with documents from very different times and places, 
centuries remote from the original, and hence are free to use 
most of these MSS, as each may be presumed to be derived from 
some ultimate ancient authority. In the case of books, however, 
usually only one or two editions have any kind of independent 
authority. A choice has to be made of a basic edition, which will 
usually be either the first edition or the last edition supervised by 
the author. In some cases, such as Whitman's Leaves of Grass, 
which underwent many successive additions and revisions, or 
Pope's Dunciad, which exists in at least two widely divergent 
versions, it may be necessary, for a critical edition, to print all or 
both versions. 14 On the whole, modern editors are more reluctant 
to produce complete eclectic texts, though one should realize that 
practically all editions of Hamlet have been hybrids between the 
Second Quarto and the Folio. With Elizabethan plays, one may 
have to come to the conclusion that sometimes there was no final 
version which can be reconstructed. As in oral poetry (e.g., the 
ballads), the hunt for a single archetype is futile. It was long be- 
fore editors of ballads gave up the search for it. Percy and Scott 
"contaminated" different versions freely (and even rewrote 
them), while the first scientific editors such as Motherwell 
chose one version as superior and original. Finally Child de- 
cided to print all versions. 15 

Elizabethan plays represent, in some way, unique textual 
problems: their corruption is far greater than that of most 
contemporary books, partly because plays were not considered 
worth much attention in proofreading and partly because the 
MSS from which they were printed were often the much re- 

54 Theory of Literature 

vised "foul papers" of the author or authors and sometimes a 
prompt copy which contained playhouse revisions and markings. 
Besides, there was a special class of bad "quartos" which were 
apparently printed either from memorial reconstruction or from 
actors' fragmentary parts or possibly from a primitive shorthand 
version. In recent decades, very much attention has been paid to 
these problems, and the Quartos of Shakespeare have been re- 
classified after the discoveries of Pollard and Greg. 16 Pollard 
demonstrated, on the basis of purely "bibliotic" knowledge, such 
as watermarks and type fonts, that certain Quartos of Shake- 
speare's plays were purposely antedated though actually printed 
in 1 619 as preparation for a collected edition which did not 

A close study of Elizabethan handwriting, partly based on 
the assumption that two pages in the preserved MS of a play 
Sir Thomas More are in the handwriting of Shakespeare him- 
self, 17 has had important implications for textual criticism, mak- 
ing it now possible to classify the likely misreadings of the Eliza- 
bethan compositor, while a study of printing house practices has 
shown what errors are likely or possible. But the wide margin 
which is still left for the individual editor in emending shows 
that no really "objective" method of textual criticism has been 
discovered. Certainly, many of the emendations introduced by 
Dover Wilson into his Cambridge edition seem as wild and un- 
necessary guesswork as some produced by eighteenth-century 
editors. But it is interesting that Theobald's brilliant guess, 
which, in Mrs. Quickly's account of FalstafPs death, changed 
the nonsensical "table of green fields" into "a babbled of green 
fields" is supported by the study of Elizabethan handwriting 
and spelling, i.e., "a babld" could have easily been mistaken for 
"a table." 

The convincing arguments that the Quartos (with the excep- 
tion of a few bad ones) were most probably either printed from 
the author's MS or from a promptbook have restored authority 
to the earlier editions and have somewhat reduced the venera- 
tion in which the Folio had been held since the days of Dr. 
Johnson. The English textual scholars who, rather mislead- 
ingly, call themselves "bibliographers" (McKerrow, Greg, Pol- 
lard, Dover Wilson, etc.) have tried to ascertain, in each case, 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 55 

what the MS authority for each Quarto may have been, and 
have used these theories, only partially arrived at on the basis 
of strictly bibliographical investigation, for elaborate hypotheses 
on the genesis, revisions, alterations, collaborations, etc., of 
Shakespeare's plays. Their preoccupation is only partly with tex- 
tual criticism j especially the work of Dover Wilson more legiti- 
mately belongs to "higher criticism." 

Wilson makes very large claims for the method: "We can at 
times creep into the compositor's skin and catch glimpses of the 
MS through his eyes. The door of Shakespeare's workshop 
stands ajar." 18 No doubt, the "bibliographers" have thrown 
some light on the composition of Elizabethan plays and have 
suggested, and possibly proved, many traces of revision and 
alteration. But many of Dover Wilson's hypotheses seem fanci- 
ful constructions for which evidence seems very slight or even 
completely lacking. Thus, Dover Wilson has constructed the 
genesis of The Temfest. He claims that the long exposition 
scene points to the existence of an earlier version in which the 
pre-history of the plot has been told as a loosely constructed 
drama in the style of The Winter's Tale. But the slight incon- 
sistencies and irregularities in line arrangement, etc., cannot 
yield even presumptive evidence for such farfetched and need- 
less fancies. 19 

Textual criticism has been most successful, but also most un- 
certain, in the case of Elizabethan plays j but it is needed also 
in many apparently far more well-authenticated books. Pascal 
and Goethe, Jane Austen, and even Trollope have benefited 
from the meticulous attention of modern editors, 20 even though 
some of these studies have degenerated into mere lists of print- 
ing house habits and compositors' vagaries. 

In preparing an edition, one should keep firmly in mind its 
purpose and its presumed public. There will be one standard 
of editing for an audience of other textual scholars, who want 
to compare the minutest differences between existent versions, 
and another standard for the general reader, who has but mod- 
erate interest in variations of spelling or even in the minor dif- 
ferences between editions. 

Editing presents other problems than that of establishing a 
correct text. 21 In a collected edition there arise questions of 

56 Theory of Literature 

inclusion and exclusion, arrangement, annotation, etc., which 
may vary greatly from case to case. Probably the most useful 
edition for the scholar is a complete edition in strictly chrono- 
logical order, but such an ideal may be very difficult or impos- 
sible to reach. Chronological arrangement may be purely con- 
jectural or may dissolve the artistic grouping of poems within 
a collection. The literary reader will object to the mixture of 
the great and the trivial, if we print side by side an ode of 
Keats' with a jocular poem included in a contemporary letter. 
We would want to preserve the artistic arrangement of Baude- 
laire's Fleurs du Mai or Conrad Ferdinand Meyer's Gedichte, 
but we may have our doubts whether Wordsworth's elaborate 
classifications need to be kept. Yet if we were to break up Words- 
worth's own order of the poems and print them chronologically 
we would run into great difficulties as to the version we had to 
reprint. It would have to be the first version, as it would falsify 
the picture of Wordsworth's development to print a late revision 
with an early date; but obviously it seems awkward to dis- 
regard the will of the poet completely and to ignore the later 
revisions, which indubitably were improvements in many re- 
spects. Ernest de Selincourt has therefore decided to keep the 
traditional order in his new complete edition of Wordsworth's 
poems. Many complete editions, such as those of Shelley, ignore 
the important distinction between a finished work of art and a 
mere fragment or sketch by the poet which he may have aban- 
doned. The literary reputations of many poets have suffered 
from the overcompleteness of many current editions, inclusive 
of the slightest occasional verse or "workshop" jotting side by 
side with the finished product. 

The question of annotation will also have to be decided by 
the purpose of the edition: 22 the Variorum Shakespeare may 
legitimately exceed the text by the mass of annotation which is 
supposed to preserve the opinions of everybody who has ever 
written on a specific passage of Shakespeare and thus will save 
the scholar a search through enormous bodies of printed matter. 
The general reader will need much less: usually only the in- 
formation which is necessary to a complete understanding of 
a text. But, of course, opinions of what is needed may vary 
greatly: some editors tell the reader that Queen Elizabeth was 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 57 

a Protestant or who David Garrick was and, at the same time^ 
shirk all real obscurities (these are actual cases). It is difficult 
to draw the line against overannotation unless the editor is quite 
certain what audience and what purpose he has to serve. 

Annotation in the strict sense — the explanation of a text, lin- 
guistic, historical, and the like — should be distinguished from a 
general commentary, which may simply accumulate the ma- 
terials for literary or linguistic history (i.e., point out sources, 
parallels, imitations by other writers) and form a commentary 
which may be of an aesthetic nature, contain little essays on 
specific passages, and hence fulfill something like the function 
of the anthology. It may not always be easy to draw such neat 
distinctions, yet the mixture of textual criticism, literary history 
in the special form of source study, linguistic and historical ex- 
planation, and aesthetic commentary in many editions seems a 
dubious fashion of literary scholarship, justified only by the 
convenience of having all kinds of information between two 

In the editing of letters special problems arise. Should they 
be printed in full even if they are the most trivial business 
notes? The reputation of writers like Stevenson, Meredith, 
Arnold and Swinburne has not increased by the publication of 
letters which, were never meant as works of literature. Should 
we also print the answers, without which many a correspondence 
is incomprehensible? By this procedure much heterogeneous 
matter is intruded into the works of an author. These are all 
practical questions which cannot be answered without good 
sense and some consistency, much diligence, and frequently in- 
genuity and good luck. 

Beyond the establishment of the text, preliminary research 
will have to settle such questions as those of chronology, au- 
thenticity, authorship, and revision. Chronology is in many cases 
sufficiently established either by publication date on the title 
page of the book or by contemporary evidence of publication. 
But these obvious sources are often lacking, for example, in the 
case of many Elizabethan plays or a medieval MS. The Eliza- 
bethan play may have been printed long after the first per- 
formance j the medieval MS may be a copy of a copy hundreds 
of years remote from the date of composition. External evi- 

58 Theory of Literature 

dence must be then supplemented by evidence from the text 
itself, allusions to contemporary events, or to other dateable 
sources. This internal evidence pointing to some external event 
will establish only the initial date after which that part of the 
book was written. 

Take, for instance, purely internal evidence such as can be 
derived from a study of metrical statistics in the attempt to 
establish the order of Shakespeare's plays. It can establish only 
relative chronology within a wide margin of error. 23 Though 
it is safe to assume that the number of rhymes in Shakespeare's 
plays decreases from Love's Labour's Lost (which has most) to 
The Winter's Tale (which has none), we cannot conclude that 
The Winter's Tale is necessarily later than The Tern-pest ( which 
has two rhymes). As the criteria such as number of rhymes, 
feminine endings, run-on lines, etc., do not yield exactly the 
same results, no fixed and regular correlation between chronol- 
ogy and metrical tables can be established. In isolation from 
other evidence, the tables can be interpreted quite differently. 
An eighteenth-century critic, James Hurdis, 24 for example, 
thought that Shakespeare progressed from the irregular verse 
of The Winter's Tale to the regular verse of The Comedy of 
Errors. However, a judicious combination of all these types of 
evidence (external, internal-external, and internal) has led to a 
chronology of Shakespeare's plays which is, without doubt, 
broadly true. Statistical methods, mainly as to the occurrence 
and frequency of certain words, have been also used for the 
establishment of a relative chronology of Plato's dialogues, by 
Lewis Campbell and especially by Wincenty Lutoslawski, who 
calls his method "stylometry." 25 

If we have to consider undated MSS, chronological difficul- 
ties may multiply and even become insoluble. We may have to 
resort to a study of the evolution of an author's handwriting. 
We may have to puzzle over stamps or franks on letters, exam- 
ine the calendar, and trace very carefully the exact migrations 
of the author, since these may give a clue to the dating. Chrono- 
logical questions are often very important to the literary his- 
torian: without their being settled, he could not trace the ar- 
tistic development of Shakespeare or of Chaucer, to take 
examples where the dating is entirely due to the efforts of 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 59 

modern research. Malone and Tyrwhitt in the late eighteenth 
century laid the ground, but since then controversy on details 
has never ceased. 

Questions of authenticity and attribution may be even more 
important, and their solution may require elaborate stylistic and 
historical investigations. 26 We are certain of the authorship of 
most works in modern literature. But there is a large pseudon- 
ymous and anonymous literature which sometimes yields its 
secret, even if that secret is nothing else than a name unasso- 
ciated with any biographical information and hence no more 
illuminating than the pseudonym or anonym itself. 

With many authors the question of a canon of their work 
arises. The eighteenth century discovered that a large part of 
what had been included in printed editions of Chaucer's work 
(such as The Testament of Creseld and The Flower and the 
Leaf) cannot be Chaucer's authentic work. Even today the 
canon of Shakespeare's work is far from settled. The pendulum 
seems to have swung to the other extreme from the time when 
August Wilhelm Schlegel argued with strange confidence that 
all the apocrypha are Shakespeare's genuine work. 27 Recently, 
J. M. Robertson has been the most outstanding proponent of 
the "disintegration of Shakespeare," a view which would leave 
Shakespeare with little more than the authorship of a few scenes 
in the best-known plays. According to this school of thought, 
even Julius Caesar and The Merchant of Venice are supposed 
to be nothing but a hotchpotch of passages by Marlowe, Greene, 
Peele, Kyd, and several other playwrights of the time. 28 Robert- 
son's method consists largely in tracing little verbal tags, dis- 
covering inconsistencies and literary parallels. The method is 
extremely uncertain and willful. It seems based on a false as- 
sumption and a vicious circle: we know what is Shakespeare's 
work from certain contemporary testimony (the inclusion in 
the Folio, the entries under his name in the Stationer's Register, 
etc.) ; but Robertson, by an arbitrary act of aesthetic judgment, 
selects only certain purple passages as Shakespeare's and denies 
his authorship of anything that falls below that standard or 
that shows similarities to the practice of contemporary drama- 
tists. Yet there is no reason why Shakespeare could not have 
written poorly or carelessly or why he could not have written 

60 Theory of Literature 

in various styles imitating his contemporaries. On the other 
hand, the older premise that every word in the Folio is Shake- 
speare's cannot be upheld in its entirety. 

No wholly definitive conclusion can be reached on some of 
these points, since Elizabethan drama was a communal art in 
which close collaboration was a very real practice. The indi- 
vidual authors were frequently scarcely differentiate by their 
styles. Two authors might well themselves have been unable to 
distinguish between their shares. Collaboration sometimes poses 
almost hopeless tasks to the literary detective. 29 Even in the case 
of Beaumont and Fletcher, in which we have the advantage of 
having work definitely only by Fletcher written after the death 
of Beaumont, the division between their shares is not estab- 
lished beyond controversy; and the case is completely lost with 
The Revenger's Tragedy , which has been assigned to Webster, 
Tourneur, Middleton, and Marston alternatively or in various 
combinations. 30 

Similar difficulties arise in attempts to ascertain authorship 
where, in the absence of external evidence, a definite traditional 
manner and uniform style make detection extremely difficult. 
Examples are abundant in the troubadours, or in eighteenth- 
century pamphleteers (who will ever establish the canon of 
Defoe's writings?), not to speak of anonymous contributions to 
periodicals. In many cases, however, some measure of success 
can be achieved even here. Investigation of the records of pub- 
lishing houses, or marked files of periodicals may unearth new 
external evidence; and skillful study of connecting links between 
articles of authors who repeat and quote themselves (such as 
Goldsmith) may yield conclusions of a high degree of cer- 
tainty. 31 G. Udny Yule, a statistician and actuary, has used very 
complex mathematical methods to study the vocabulary of 
writers like Thomas a Kempis in order to establish the common 
authorship of several manuscripts. 32 Stylistic methods, if pa- 
tiently developed, can supply evidence which, though falling 
short of complete certainty, makes identification highly probable. 

In the history of literature, the question of the authenticity 
of forgeries or pious frauds has played an important role and 
has given valuable impetus to further investigations. Thus the 
controversy about Ossian stimulated the study of Gaelic folk 

The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 6 1 

poetry, the controversy around Chatterton led to an intensified 
study of English medieval history and literature, and the Ire- 
land Forgeries of Shakespeare plays and documents led to de- 
bates about Shakespeare and the history of the Elizabethan 
stage. 33 Discussing Chatterton, Thomas Warton, Thomas Tyr- 
whitt, and Edmond Malone brought forth historical and lit- 
erary arguments to show the Rowley Poems to be modern fabri- 
cations. Two generations later W. W. Skeat, who had made a 
systematic study of Middle English grammar, pointed to the 
violations of elementary grammatical conventions which should 
have betrayed the forgery much more quickly and completely. 
Edmond Malone demolished the clumsy forgeries of the Ire- 
lands; but even they, like Chatterton and Ossian, had bona fide 
defenders (such as Chalmers, a man of considerable learning) 
who were not without merit in the history of the Shakespearean 

The mere suspicion of forgery has also forced scholars to but- 
tress the arguments for the traditional dating and ascription and 
thus to go beyond acceptance of tradition to positive arguments: 
for example, in the case of Hroswitha, the German nun of the 
tenth century whose plays were sometimes supposed to have 
been forged by Conrad Celtes, the German fifteenth-century 
humanist, or the Russian Slovo o folku Igoreve, which is 
ascribed usually to the twelfth century but has even recently 
been argued to be a forgery of the late eighteenth century. 34 
In Bohemia, the question of the forgeries of two supposedly 
medieval MSS, the Zelend hora and Krdlove dvur MSS, was 
a hot political issue as late as the 1880's; and the public reputa- 
tion of the future President of Czechoslovakia, Thomas 
Masaryk, was partly made in these contests and arguments 
which began with linguistics but widened into an issue of scien- 
tific truthfulness versus romantic self-delusion. 35 

In some of these questions of authenticity and authorship, very 
elaborate problems of legal evidence may be involved; and all 
kinds of learning such as paleography, bibliography, linguistics, 
and history may have to be invoked. Among recent exposures, 
nothing has been neater than the conviction of T. J. Wise of the 
forgery of some eighty-six nineteenth-century pamphlets: the 
detective work, by Carter and Pollard, 36 involved watermarks, 

62 Theory of Literature 

printing house tactics such as inking procedures, use of certain 
kinds of paper and letter fonts, and the like. (The direct literary- 
bearings of many of these questions is, however, only slight : the 
forgeries of Mr. Wise, who never invented a text, concern rather 
the book collector.) 

One must never forget that the establishment of a different 
date of authorship does not dispose of the actual question of 
criticism. Chatterton's poems are neither worse nor better for 
having been written in the eighteenth century, a point which 
is frequently forgotten by those who in their moral indignation 
punish with contempt and oblivion the work proved to be a later 

The questions discussed in this chapter are practically the 
only questions to which the existent textbooks of methods and 
manuals such as those of Morize and Rudler are devoted, and 
they are almost the only methods in which American graduate 
schools provide any kind of systematic training. Still, whatever 
their importance, it must be recognized that these types of study 
only lay the foundations for an actual analysis and interpreta- 
tion as well as causal explanation of literature. They are justified 
by the uses to which their results are put. 


The Extrinsic Approach to the Study of 


The most widespread and flourishing methods of studying lit- 
erature concern themselves with its setting, its environment, its 
external causes. These extrinsic methods are not limited to a 
study of the past but are equally applicable to present-day lit- 
erature. Hence, the term "historical" should properly be re- 
served for that study of literature which concentrates on its 
change in time and is thus centrally preoccupied with the prob- 
lem of history. Though the "extrinsic" study may merely at- 
tempt to interpret literature in the light of its social context and 
its antecedents, in most cases it becomes a "causal" explanation, 
professing to account for literature, to explain it, and finally to 
reduce it to its origins (the "fallacy of origins"). Nobody can 
deny that much light has been thrown on literature by a proper 
knowledge of the conditions under which it has been produced} 
the exegetical value of such a study seems indubitable. Yet it is 
clear that causal study can never dispose of problems of descrip- 
tion, analysis, and evaluation of an object such as a work of lit- 
erary art. Cause and effect are incommensurate : the concrete re- 
sult of these extrinsic causes — the work of art — is always un- 

All history, all environmental factors, can be argued to shape 
a work of art. But the actual problems begin when we evaluate, 
compare, and isolate the individual factors which are supposed 
to determine the work of art. Most students try to isolate a spe- 
cific series of human actions and creations and to ascribe to that 
alone a determining influence on the work of literature. Thus 
one group considers literature mainly the product of an indi- 
vidual creator and concludes hence that literature should be in- 
vestigated mainly through biography and the psychology of the 
author. A second group looks for the main determining factors 
of literary creation in the institutional life of man — in economic, 


66 Theory of Literature 

social, and political conditions} another related group seeks for 
the causal explanation of literature largely in such other collec- 
tive creations of the human mind as the history of ideas, of 
theology, and the other arts. Finally, there is a group of stu- 
dents who seek to explain literature in terms of the Zeitgeist, 
some quintessential spirit of the time, some intellectual atmos- 
phere or "climate" of opinion, some unitary force abstracted 
largely from the characteristics of the other arts. 

These advocates of the extrinsic approach vary in the rigidity 
with which they apply deterministic causal methods to their 
study and hence in the claims they make for the success of their 
method. Those who believe in social causation are usually the 
most deterministic. This radicalism can be explained by their 
philosophical affiliations with nineteenth-century positivism and 
science; but one must not forget that the idealistic adherents of 
Geistesgeschichte, philosophically affiliated with Hegelianism or 
other forms of Romantic thought, are also extreme determinists 
and even fatalists in a sense. 

Many students who use these methods will make much more 
modest claims. They will seek to establish only some degree of 
relationship between the work of art and its settings and ante- 
cedents, and they will assume that some degree of illumination 
follows from such knowledge, though the precise relevance of 
these relationships may escape them altogether. These more 
modest proponents seem wiser, for surely causal explanation is 
a very overrated method in the study of literature, and as surely 
it never can dispose of the critical problems of analysis and 
evaluation. Among the different cause-governed methods, an 
explanation of the work of art in terms of the total setting seems 
preferable, since the reduction of literature to the effect of a 
single cause is manifestly impossible. Without endorsing the 
specific conceptions of German Geistesgeschickte, we recognize 
that such explanation by a synthesis of all the factors obviates 
a most important criticism against the other current methods. 
What follows is an attempt to weigh the importance of these 
different factors and to criticize the array of methods from the 
point of view of their relevance to a study which could be called 
centrally literary or "ergocentric." 


Literature and Biography 

The most obvious cause of a work of art is its creator, the 
author ; and hence an explanation in terms of the personality 
and the life of the writer has been one of the oldest and best- 
established methods of literary study. 

Biography can be judged in relation to the light it throws on 
the actual production of poetry j but we can, of course, defend 
it and justify it as a study of the man of genius, of his moral, 
intellectual, and emotional development, which has its own in- 
trinsic interest ; and finally, we can think of biography as afford- 
ing materials for a systematic study of the psychology of the 
poet and of the poetic process. 

These three points of view should be carefully distinguished. 
For our conception of "literary scholarship" only the first thesis, 
that biography explains and illuminates the actual product of 
poetry, is directly relevant. The second point of view, which 
advocates the intrinsic interest of biography, shifts the center 
of attention to human personality. The third considers biog- 
raphy as material for a science or future science, the psychology 
of artistic creation. 

Biography is an ancient literary genre. First of all — chrono- 
logically and logically — it is a part of historiography. Biography 
makes no methodological distinction between a statesman, a gen- 
eral, an architect, a lawyer, and a man who plays no public role. 
And Coleridge's view that any life, however insignificant, would, 
if truthfully told, be of interest is sound enough. 1 In the view 
of a biographer, the poet is simply another man whose moral 
and intellectual development, external career and emotional life, 
can be reconstructed and can be evaluated by reference to stand- 
ards, usually drawn from some ethical system or code of man- 
ners. His writings may appear as mere facts of publications, as 
events like those in the life of any active man. So viewed, the 


68 Theory of Literature 

problems of a biographer are simply those of a historian. He 
has to interpret his documents, letters, accounts by eye-witnesses, 
reminiscences, autobiographical statements, and to decide ques- 
tions of genuineness, trustworthiness of witnesses, and the like. 
In the actual writing of biography he encounters problems of 
chronological presentation, of selection, of discretion or frank- 
ness. The rather extensive work which has been done on biog- 
raphy as a genre deals with such questions, questions in no way 
specifically literary. 2 A historical sketch of the lives of English 
poets may suggest the different types of biography and the chief 
problems of the biographers. 3 

At least in England, biography has been one of the earliest 
and certainly one of the most persistent forms of literary study. 
Leland and Bale compiled biographical and bibliographical cata- 
logues of authors in the sixteenth century, and a collection of 
lives was the standard form of English literary history long 
before Johnson's Lives of the Poets and down to Morley's Eng- 
lish Men of Letters. In the seventeenth century, Walton wrote 
the lives of Donne and Herbert, treating these poets as An- 
glican saints. In the eighteenth century, diverse types of literary 
biography became established. Boswell's Johnson is the most 
famous example of a literary portraiture which tries, by an 
accumulation of anecdotes, to recreate a moral and intellectual 
personality. A different type of biography is best represented 
by Edmond Malone's Life of Dry den (1800), the scholarly ac- 
cumulation, verification, and examination of documents which 
yield a series of external facts. It was not till the nineteenth 
century that attempts were first made to write the biography of 
an author against his social and literary background. William 
Godwin's much padded Life of Chaucer (1803), Scott's Dry den 
(1808 — factually derived from Malone), and Nathan Drake's 
Shakespeare (1817) are early examples. The type doubtless cul- 
minates in Masson's Life of Milton (1 859-80), a work which 
manages to include almost the whole of the political and social 
history of the time; but many a Victorian Life and Times is 
similar in intent even though it may not equal Masson's per- 
formance in bulk or extravagance. 

A new type arises only when conscious attempts are made to 
trace the ethical evolution and integration of a writer. Dowden's 

Literature and Biografhy 69 

Life of Shakespeare (1875) is one early attempt out of a score, 
of which Dowden's own Shelley (1886) and Froude's Carlyle 
seem much more successful examples. The ethical biography 
easily passes into the psychological or even psychiatrical and 
psychoanalytical study of the personality of the poet. Such a 
transition occurred when Victorian standards of ethics seemed to 
become inadequate and when attention began to turn to the 
results of medical psychology. Since the success of Lytton 
Strachey's brilliant biographies, this "analysis" has been done 
frequently in a debunking spirit ; but it can be done, of course, 
in a compassionate tone of apology or from an attitude of simple 
scientific detachment. Carpenter's book on Shelley, Krutch's 
biography of Poe, and Van Wyck Brooks' Ordeal of Mark Twain 
are examples of an approach whose validity can scarcely be de- 
nied, however doubtful we may feel about the individual books, 
which indulge too frequently in the reduction of the complex to 
the simple. 

However, in our context two questions of literary biography 
are crucial. How far is the biographer justified in using the evi- 
dence of the works themselves for his purposes? How far are 
the results of literary biography relevant and important for an 
understanding of the works themselves? An affirmative answer 
to both questions is usually given. To the first question it is 
assumed by practically all biographers who are specifically at- 
tracted to poets, for poets appear to offer abundant evidence 
usable in the writing of a biography, evidence which will be 
absent, or almost absent, in the case of many far more influential 
historical personages. But is this optimism justified? 

We must distinguish two ages of man, two possible solutions. 
For most early literature we have no private documents on 
which a biographer can draw. We have only a series of public 
documents, birth registers, marriage certificates, lawsuits, and 
the like, and then the evidence of the works. We can, for 
example, trace Shakespeare's movements very roughly, and we 
know something of his finances; but we have absolutely noth- 
ing in the form of letters, diaries, reminiscences, except a few 
anecdotes of doubtful authenticity. The vast effort which has 
been expended upon the study of Shakespeare's life has yielded 
only few results of literary profit. They are chiefly facts of 

70 Theory of Literature 

chronology and illustrations of the social status and the associa- 
tions of Shakespeare. Hence those who have tried to construct 
an actual biography of Shakespeare, of his ethical and emotional 
development, have either arrived, if they went about it in a 
scientific spirit, as Miss Spurgeon attempted in her study of 
Shakespeare's imagery, at a mere list of trivialities, or if they 
used the plays -and sonnets recklessly, have constructed biograph- 
ical romances like those of Georg Brandes or Frank Harris. 4 
The whole assumption behind these attempts (which began, 
probably, with a few hints in Hazlitt and Schlegel, elaborated 
first, rather cautiously, by Dowden) is quite mistaken. One can- 
not, from fictional statements, especially those made in plays, 
draw any valid inference as to the biography of a writer. One 
may gravely doubt even the usual view that Shakespeare passed 
through a period of depression, in which he wrote his tragedies 
and his bitter comedies, to achieve some serenity of resolution in 
The T em-pest. It is not self-evident that a writer needs to be in a 
tragic mood to write tragedies or that he writes comedies when 
he feels pleased with life. There is simply no proof for the sor- 
rows of Shakespeare. 5 He cannot be made responsible for the 
views of Timon or Macbeth on life, just as he cannot be con- 
sidered to hold the views of Doll Tearsheet or Iago. There is 
no reason to believe that Prospero speaks like Shakespeare: 
authors cannot be assigned the ideas, feelings, views, virtues, 
and vices of their heroes. And this is true not only of dramatic 
characters or characters in a novel but also of the / of the lyrical 
poem. The relation between the private life and the work is not 
a simple relation of cause and effect. 

Proponents of the biographical method will, however, object 
to these contentions. Conditions, they will say, have changed 
since the time of Shakespeare. Biographical evidence has, for 
many poets, become abundant, because the poets have become 
self-conscious, have thought of themselves as living in the eyes 
of posterity (like Milton, Pope, Goethe, Wordsworth, or 
Byron), and have left many autobiographical statements as well 
as attracted much contemporary attention. The biographical 
approach now seems easy, for we can check life and work 
against each other. Indeed, the approach is even invited and 
demanded by the poet, especially the Romantic poet, who 

Literature and Biografhy 7 1 

writes about himself and his innermost feelings or even, like 
Byron, carries the "pageant of his bleeding heart" around Eu- 
rope. These poets spoke of themselves not only in private let- 
ters, diaries, and autobiographies, but also in their most formal 
pronouncements. Wordsworth's Prelude is an autobiography 
declaredly. It seems difficult not to take these pronouncements, 
sometimes not different in content or even in tone from their 
private correspondence, at their face value without interpreting 
poetry in the terms of the poet, who saw it himself, in Goethe's 
well-known phrase, as "fragments of a great confession." 

We should certainly distinguish two types of poets, the ob- 
jective and the subjective: those who, like Keats and T. S. Eliot, 
stress the poet's "negative capability," his openness to the world, 
the obliteration of his concrete personality, and the opposite type 
of the poet, who aims at displaying his personality, wants to 
draw a self-portrait, to confess, to express himself. 6 For long 
stretches of history we know only the first type: the works in 
which the element of personal expression is very weak, even 
though the aesthetic value may be great. The Italian novelle, 
chivalric romances, the sonnets of the Renaissance, Elizabethan 
drama, naturalistic novels, most folk poetry, may serve as lit- 
erary examples. 

But, even with the objective poet, the distinction between a 
personal statement of an autobiographical nature and the use of 
the very same motif in a work of art should not and cannot be 
withdrawn. A work of art forms a unity on a quite different 
plane, with a quite different relation to reality, than a book of 
memoirs, a diary, or a letter. Only by a perversion of the bio- 
graphical method could the most intimate and frequently the 
most casual documents of an author's life become the central 
study while the actual poems were interpreted in the light of the 
documents and arranged according to a scale entirely separate 
from or even contradictory to that provided by any critical judg- 
ment of the poems. Thus Brandes slights Macbeth as uninter- 
esting because it is least related to what he conceives to be 
Shakespeare's personality} thus, Kingsmill complains of Arnold's 
Sohrab and Rustum. 7 

Even when a work of art contains elements which can be 
surely identified as biographical, these elements will be so re- 

72 Theory of Literature 

arranged and transformed in a work that they lose all their 
specifically personal meaning and become simply concrete human 
material, integral elements of a work. Ramon Fernandez has 
argued this very convincingly in connection with Stendhal. 
G. W. Meyer has shown how much the professedly autobio- 
graphical Prelude differs from Wordsworth's actual life during 
the process the poem purports to describe. s 

The whole view that art is self-expression pure and simple, 
the transcript of personal feelings and experiences, is demon- 
strably false. Even when there is a close relationship between 
the work of art and the life of an author, this must never be 
construed as meaning that the work of art is a mere copy of life. 
The biographical approach forgets that a work of art is not 
simply the embodiment of experience but always the latest work 
of art in a series of such works; it is drama, a novel, a poem 
"determined," so far as it is determined at all, by literary tra- 
dition and convention. The biographical approach actually ob- 
scures a proper comprehension of the literary process, since it 
breaks up the order of literary tradition to substitute the life 
cycle of an individual. The biographical approach ignores also 
quite simple psychological facts. A work of art may rather em- 
body the "dream" of an author than his actual life, or it may 
be the "mask," the "anti-self" behind which his real person is 
hiding, or it may be a picture of the life from which the author 
wants to escape. Furthermore, we must not forget that the artist 
may "experience" life differently in terms of his art: actual ex- 
periences are seen with a view to their use in literature and come 
to him already partially shaped by artistic traditions and pre- 
conceptions. 9 

We must conclude that the biographical interpretation and 
use of every work of art needs careful scrutiny and examination 
in each case, since the work of art is not a document for biog- 
raphy. We must seriously question Miss Wade's Life of Tra- 
herne y which takes every statement of his poems as literal bio- 
graphical truth, or the many books about the lives of the Brontes 
which simply lift whole passages from Jane Eyre or Villette. 
There is The Life and Eager Death of Emily Bronte by Vir- 
ginia Moore, who thinks that Emily must have experienced the 
passions of Heathcliffj and there are others who have argued 

Literature and Biografhy J 3 

that a woman could not have written Wuthering Heights and 
that the brother, Patrick, must have been the real author. 10 
This is the type of argument which has led people to argue that 
Shakespeare must have visited Italy, must have been a lawyer, 
a soldier, a teacher, a farmer. Ellen Terry gave the crushing 
reply to all this when she argued that, by the same criteria, 
Shakespeare must have been a woman. 

But, it will be said, such instances of pretentious folly do not 
dispose of the problem of personality in literature. We read 
Dante or Goethe or Tolstoy and know that there is a person 
behind the work. There is an indubitable physiognomical simi- 
larity between the writings of one author. The question might 
be asked, however, whether it would not be better to distinguish 
sharply between the empirical person and the work, which can 
be called "personal" only in a metaphorical sense. There is a 
quality which we may call "Miltonic" or "Keatsian" in the work 
of their authors. But this quality can be determined on the basis 
of the works themselves, while it may not be ascertainable upon 
purely biographical evidence. We know what is "Virgilian" or 
"Shakespearian" without having any really definite biographical 
knowledge of the two great poets. 

Still, there are connecting links, parallelisms, oblique resem- 
blances, topsy-turvy mirrors. The poet's work may be a mask, 
a dramatized conventionalization, but it is frequently a conven- 
tionalization of his own experiences, his own life. If used with a 
sense of these distinctions, there is use in biographical study. 
First, no doubt, it has exegetical value: it may explain a great 
many allusions or even words in an author's work. The bio- 
graphical framework will also help us in studying the most ob- 
vious of all strictly developmental problems in the history of 
literature — the growth, maturing, and possible decline of an 
author's art. Biography also accumulates the materials for other 
questions of literary history such as the reading of the poet, his 
personal associations with literary men, his travels, the land- 
scape and cities he saw and lived in: all of them questions which 
may throw light on literary history, i.e., the tradition in which 
the poet was placed, the influences by which he was shaped, the 
materials on which he drew. 

Whatever the importance of biography in these respects, how- 

74 Theory of Literature 

ever, it seems dangerous to ascribe to it any real critical impor- 
tance. No biographical evidence can change or influence critical 
evaluation. The frequently adduced criterion of "sincerity" is 
thoroughly false if it judges literature in terms of biographical 
truthfulness, correspondence to the author's experience or feel- 
ings as they are attested by outside evidence. Byron's "Fare 
Thee Well . . ." is neither a worse nor a better poem because 
it dramatizes the poet's actual relations with his wife, nor "is it a 
pity," as Paul Elmer More thinks, that the MS shows no traces 
of the tears which, according to Thomas Moore's Memoranda, 
fell on it. 11 The poem exists ; the tears shed or unshed, the per- 
sonal emotions, are gone and cannot be reconstructed, nor need 
they be. 


Literature and Psychology 

By "psychology of literature," we may mean the psychological 
study of the writer, as type and as individual, or the study of 
the creative process, or the study of the psychological types and 
laws present within works of literature, or, finally, the effects 
of literature upon its readers (audience psychology). The fourth 
we shall consider under "Literature and Society"; the other 
three shall here be discussed in turn. Probably only the third 
belongs, in the strictest sense, to literary study. The first two are 
subdivisions of the psychology of art: though, at times, they 
may serve as engaging pedagogic approaches to the study of lit- 
erature, we should disavow any attempt to evaluate literary 
works in terms of their origins (the genetic fallacy). 

The nature of literary genius has always attracted speculation, 
and it was, as early as the Greeks, conceived of as related to 
"madness" (to be glossed as the range from neuroticism to psy- 
chosis). The poet is the "possessed": he is unlike other men, at 
once less and more; and the unconscious out of which he speaks 
is felt to be at once sub- and superrational. 

Another early and persistent conception is that of the poet's 
"gift" as compensatory: the Muse took away the sight of 
Demodocos' eyes but "gave him the lovely gift of song" (in 
the Odyssey), as the blinded Tiresias is given prophetic vision. 
Handicap and endowment are not always, of course, so directly 
correlative j and the malady or deformity may be psychological 
or social instead of physical. Pope was a hunchback and a dwarf; 
Byron had a club-foot; Proust was an asthmatic neurotic of 
partly Jewish descent; Keats was shorter than other men; 
Thomas Wolfe, much taller. The difficulty with the theory is 
its very ease. After the event, any success can be attributed to 
compensatory motivation, for everyone has liabilities which 
may serve him as spurs. Dubious, certainly, is the widespread 


7 6 Theory of Literature 

view that neuroticism — and "compensation" — differentiate artists 
from scientists and other "contemplatives" : the obvious distinc- 
tion is that writers often document their own cases, turning 
their maladies into their thematic material. 1 

The basic questions are these: If the writer is a neurotic, does 
his neurosis provide the themes of his work or only its motiva- 
tion? If the latter, then the writer is not to be differentiated from 
other contemplatives. The other question is: If the writer is neu- 
rotic in his themes (as Kafka certainly is), how is it that his 
work is intelligible to his readers? The writer must be doing far 
more than putting down a case history. He must either be deal- 
ing with an archetypal pattern (as does Dostoevsky, in The 
Brothers Karamazov) or with a "neurotic personality" pattern 
widespread in our time. 

Freud's view of the writer is not quite steady. Like many of 
his European colleagues, notably Jung and Rank, he was a man 
of high general culture, with the educated Austrian's respect for 
the classics and classical German literature. Then, too, he dis- 
covered in literature many insights anticipating and corroborat- 
ing his own — in Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov, in 
Hamlet, in Diderot's Nephew of Rameau, in Goethe. But he 
also thought of the author as an obdurate neurotic who, by his 
creative work, kept himself from a crackup but also from any 
real cure. "The artist," says Freud, "is originally a man who 
turns from reality because he cannot come to terms with the 
demand for the renunciation of instinctual satisfaction as it is 
first made, and who then in phantasy-life allows full play to his 
erotic and ambitious wishes. But he finds a way of return from 
this world of phantasy back to reality; with his special gifts, he 
moulds his phantasies into a new kind of reality, and men con- 
cede them a justification as valuable reflections of actual life. 
Thus by a certain path he actually becomes the hero, king, 
creator, favorite he desired to be, without the circuitous path of 
creating real alterations in the outer world." The poet, that is, 
is a daydreamer who is socially validated. Instead of altering 
his character, he perpetuates and publishes his phantasies. 2 

Such an account presumably disposes of the philosopher and 
the "pure scientist" along with the artist, and is, therefore, a 
kind of positivist "reduction" of contemplative activity to an 

Literature and Psychology 77 

observing and naming instead of acting. It scarcely does justice 
to the indirect or oblique effect of contemplative work, to the 
"alterations in the outer world" effected by the readers of nov- 
elists and philosophers. It also fails to recognize that creation is 
itself a mode of work in the outer world ; that, while the day- 
dreamer is content to dream of writing his dreams, one who is 
actually writing is engaged in an act of externalization and of 
adjustment to society. 

Most writers have drawn back from subscription to orthodox 
Freudianism or from completing — what some have begun — their 
psychoanalytic treatment. Most of them have not wanted to be 
"cured" or "adjusted," either thinking they would cease to write 
if they were adjusted, or that the adjustment proposed was to 
a normality or a social environment which they rejected as 
philistine or bourgeois. Thus Auden has asserted that artists 
should be as neurotic as they can endure ; and many have 
agreed with such revisionist Freudians as Horney, Fromm, and 
Kardiner, that Freud's conceptions of neurosis and normality, 
drawn from turn-of-the-century Vienna, need to be corrected 
by Marx and the anthropologists. 3 

The theory of art as neurosis raises the question of imagina- 
tion in relation to belief. Is the novelist analogous not only to 
the romantic child who "tells stories" — i.e., reconstructs his 
experience till it conforms to his pleasure and credit, but also to 
the man who suffers from hallucinations, confounding the world 
of reality with the phantasy world of his hopes and fears? Some 
novelists (e.g., Dickens) have spoken of vividly seeing and 
hearing their characters, and, again, of the characters as taking 
over the control of the story, shaping it to an end different from 
the novelist's preliminary design. None of the instances cited by 
psychologists seem to bear out the charge of hallucination ; some 
novelists may, however, have the capacity, common among chil- 
dren, but rare thereafter, of eidetic imagery (neither after- 
images nor memory-images yet perceptual, sensory, in char- 
acter). In the judgment of Erich Jaensch, this capacity is symp- 
tomatic of the artist's special integration of perceptual and con- 
ceptual. He retains, and has developed, an archaic trait of the 
race: he feels and even sees his thoughts. 4 

Another trait sometimes assigned to the literary man — more 

78 Theory of Literature 

specifically, the poet — is synaesthesia, or the linking together of 
sensory perceptions out of two or more senses, most commonly, 
hearing and sight {audition coloree: e.g., the trumpet as scarlet). 
As a physiological trait, it is apparently, like red-green color 
blindness, a survival from an earlier comparatively undifferen- 
tiated sensorium. Much more frequently, however, synaesthesia 
is a literary technique, a form of metaphorical translation, the 
stylized expression of a metaphysical-aesthetic attitude towards 
life. Historically, this attitude and style are characteristic of the 
Baroque and the Romantic periods and correspondingly distaste- 
ful to rationalist periods in search of the "clear and distinct" 
rather than "correspondences," analogies, and unifications. 5 

Since his earliest critical writing, T. S. Eliot has urged an 
inclusive view of the poet as recapitulating — or, better, preserv- 
ing intact — his strata of the race-history, of keeping his commu- 
nication open with his own childhood and that of the race while 
reaching forward into the future: "The artist," he wrote in 19 18, 
"is more primitive, as well as more civilized, than his contem- 
poraries. . . ." In 1932, he recurs to this conception, speaking 
particularly of the "auditory imagination" but also of the poet's 
visual imagery, and especially his recurrent images, which "may 
have symbolic value, but of what we cannot tell, for they have 
come to represent the depths of feeling into which we cannot 
peer." Eliot cites with approval the work of Cailliet and Bede 
on the relation of the Symbolist Movement to the primitive 
psyche, summarizing: "the pre-logical mentality persists in civi- 
lized man, but becomes available only to or through the poet." G 

In these passages it is not difficult to discover the influence of 
Carl Jung and a restatement of the Jungian thesis that beneath 
the individual "unconscious" — the blocked-off residue of our 
past, particularly our childhood and infancy — lies the "collective 
unconscious" — the blocked-off memory of our racial past, even 
of our pre-humanity. 

Jung has an elaborate psychological typology, according to 
which "extravert" and "introvert" subdivide the four types 
based upon the dominance respectively of thinking, feeling, 
intuition, sensation. He does not, as one might have supposed, 
assign all writers to the intuitive-introverted category, or, more 
generally, to the category of the introvert. As a further guard 

Literature and Psychology 79 

against simplification, he remarks that some writers reveal their 
type in their creative work, while others reveal their anti-type, 
their complement. 7 

Homo scriftor, it should be conceded, is not a single type. If 
we devise a romantic blend of Coleridge, Shelley, Baudelaire, 
and Poe, we must presently remember Racine, Milton, and 
Goethe, or Jane Austen and Anthony Trollope. We may begin 
by differentiating lyric poets, and Romantic poets, from dra- 
matic and epic poets and their partial equivalents, the novelists. 
One of the German typologists, Kretschmer, separates the poets 
(who are leptosomatic and incline to schizophrenia) from the 
novelists (who are pyknic of physical structure and manic- 
depressive or "cycloid" of temperament). There is certainly a 
typological pair of the "possessed," i.e., the automatic or obses- 
sive or prophetic poet, and the "maker," the writer who is pri- 
marily a trained, skillful, responsible craftsman. This distinction 
seems partly historical: the "possessed" is the primitive poet, 
the shaman j then the Romantic, the Expressionist, the Surreal- 
ist, we say. The professional poets, trained in the bardic schools 
of Ireland and Iceland, the poets of the Renaissance and neo- 
classicism, are "makers." But of course these types must be 
understood as not mutually exclusive but polar ; and in the in- 
stances of great writers — including Milton, Poe, James, and 
Eliot as well as Shakespeare and Dostoevsky — we have to think 
of the writer as both "maker" and "possessed," as combining 
an obsessively held vision of life with a conscious, precise care 
for the presentation of that vision. 8 

Perhaps the most influential of modern polarities is Nietzsche's 
in The Birth of Tragedy (1872), that between Apollo and 
Dionysus, the two art-deities of the Greeks, and the two kinds 
and processes of art which they represent: the arts of sculpture 
and of music j the psychological states of the dream and of 
ecstatic inebriation. These correspond approximately to the clas- 
sical "maker" and the romantic "possessed" (or foeta vates). 

Though he does not avow it, the French psychologist Ribot 
must owe to Nietzsche the basis for his own division of literary 
artists between the two chief types of imagination. The former 
of these, the "plastic," characterizes the sharp visualizer who is 
primarily incited by observation of the outside world, by per- 

80 Theory of Literature 

ception, while the "diffluent" (the auditory and symbolic) is that 
of the symbolist poet or the writer of Romantic tales (Tieck, 
Hoffmann, Poe), who starts from his own emotions and feelings, 
projecting them through rhythms and images unified by the 
compulsion of his Stimmung. It is doubtless from Ribot that 
Eliot starts in his contrast of Dante's "visual imagination" and 
Milton's "auditory." 

One more specimen may be offered, that of L. Rusu, a con- 
temporary Rumanian scholar, who distinguishes three basic 
types of artist: the "type sympathique" (conceived of as gay, 
spontaneous, bird-like in its creativity), the "type detnoniaque 
anarchique" and the "type demoniaque equilibre." The exam- 
ples are not always fortunate ; but there is a general suggestive- 
ness to the thesis and antithesis of "sympathetic" and "anarchic" 
with a synthesizing greatest type in which the struggle with the 
daemon has ended in triumph, an equilibrium of tensions. Rusu 
cites Goethe as the example of this greatness ; but we shall have 
to assign it all our greatest names — Dante, Shakespeare, Balzac, 
Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. 9 

The "creative process" should cover the entire sequence from 
the subconscious origins of a literary work to those last revisions 
which, with some writers, are the most genuinely creative part 
of the whole. 

There is a distinction to be made between the mental struc- 
ture of a poet and the composition of a poem, between impres- 
sion and expression. Croce has not won the assent of writers and 
critics to his reduction of both to aesthetic intuition; indeed, 
something like the contrary reduction has plausibly been argued 
by C. S. Lewis. But any attempt to dualize the pair as "Erlebnis" 
and "Dichtung," after the fashion of Dilthey, also fails to sat- 
isfy. The painter sees as a painter; the painting is the clarifica- 
tion and completion of his seeing. The poet is a maker of poems; 
but the matter of his poems is the whole of his percipient life. 
With the artist, in any medium, every impression is shaped by 
his art ; he accumulates no inchoate experience. 10 

"Inspiration," the traditional name for the unconscious factor 
in creation, is classically associated with the Muses, the daugh- 
ters of memory, and in Christian thought with the Holy Spirit. 
By definition, the inspired state of a shaman, prophet, or poet, 

Literature and Psychology 8 1 

differs from his ordinary state. In primitive societies the shaman 
may voluntarily be able to put himself into a trance, or he may 
involuntarily be "possessed" by some ancestral or totemic spirit- 
control. In modern times, inspiration is felt to have the essential 
marks of suddenness (like conversion) and impersonality: the 
work seems written through one. 11 

May not inspiration be induced? Creative habits there assur- 
edly are, as well as stimulants and rituals. Alcohol, opium, and 
other drugs dull the conscious mind, the overcritical "censor," 
and release the activity of the subconscious. Coleridge and De 
Quincey made a more grandiose claim — that through opium, a 
whole new world of experience was opened up for literary 
treatment ; but in the light of modern clinical reports it appears 
that the unusual elements in the work of such poets derive from 
their neurotic psyches and not from the specific effect of the 
drug. Miss Elizabeth Schneider has shown that De Quincey's 
"literary 'opium dreams,' so influential on later writing, actually 
differ little, save in elaborateness, from an entry made in his 
diary in 1 803 before his use of opium began. . . ." 12 

As the mantic poets of primitive communities are taught 
methods of putting themselves into states conducive to "posses- 
sion" and as, by spiritual disciplines of the East, the religious 
are advised to use set places and times for prayer, and special 
"ejaculations" or mantras, so writers of the modern world learn, 
or think they learn, rituals for inducing the creative state. 
Schiller kept rotten apples in his work-desk; Balzac wrote 
dressed in the robes of a monk. Many writers think "hori- 
zontally," and even write in bed — writers as different as Proust 
and Mark Twain. Some require silence and solitude ; but others 
prefer to write in the midst of the family or the company at a 
cafe. There are instances, which attract attention as sensational, 
of authors who work through the night and sleep during the 
day. Probably this devotion to the night (time of contempla- 
tion, the dream, the subconscious) is the chief Romantic tradi- 
tion; but there is, we must remember, a rival Romantic tradi- 
tion, the Wordsworthian, which exalts the early morning (the 
freshness of childhood). Some authors assert that they can write 
only at certain seasons, as did Milton, who held that his poetic 
vein never flowed happily but from the autumnal equinox to the 

82 Theory of Literature 

vernal. Dr. Johnson, who found all such theories distasteful, 
believed that a man might write at any time if he would set 
himself doggedly to it : he himself wrote confessedly under eco- 
nomic compulsion. But one can suppose that these seemingly 
capricious rituals have in common that, by association and habit, 
they facilitate systematic production. 13 

Does the mode of transcription have any demonstrable effect 
on the literary style? Does it matter whether one writes a first 
draught with pen and ink or composes directly on the type- 
writer? Hemingway thinks that the typewriter "solidifies one's 
sentences before they are ready to print," hence makes revision 
as an integral part of writing difficult j others suppose the in- 
strument has made for overfluent or journalistic style. No em- 
pirical investigation has been made. As for dictation, it has been 
used by authors of very various quality and spirit. Milton dic- 
tated to an amanuensis verses of Paradise Lost already com- 
posed in his head. More interesting, however, are the instances 
of Scott, Goethe in his old age, and Henry James in his, in 
which, though the structure has been thought out in advance, 
the verbal texture is extemporized. In the case of James, at least, 
it seems possible to make some causal connection between dic- 
tation and the "later manner," which, in its own complexly elo- 
quent way, is oral and even conversational. 14 

Of the creative process itself, not much has been said at the 
degree of generalization profitable to literary theory. We have 
the individual case histories of particular authors; but these of 
course will be authors from comparatively recent times only, 
and authors given to thinking and writing analytically about 
their art (authors like Goethe and Schiller, Flaubert, James, 
Eliot and Valery) ; and then we have the long-distance gener- 
alizations made by psychologists concerning such topics as origi- 
nality, invention, imagination, finding the common denominator 
between scientific, philosophical, and aesthetic creation. 

Any modern treatment of the creative process will chiefly con- 
cern the relative parts played by the unconscious and the con- 
scious mind. It would be easy to contrast literary periods: to 
distinguish romantic and expressionistic periods which exalt the 
unconscious from classical and realistic periods which stress in- 
telligence, revision, communication. But such a contrast may 

Literature and Psychology 83 

readily be exaggerated: the critical theories of classicism and 
romanticism differ more violently than the creative practice of 
their best writers. 

The authors most given to discussing their art wish naturally 
to discuss their conscious and technical procedures, for which 
they may claim credit, rather than their "given," the unelected 
experience which is their matter or their mirror or their prism. 
There are obvious reasons why self-conscious artists speak as 
though their art were impersonal, as though they chose their 
themes either by editorial compulsion or as a gratuitous aesthetic 
problem. The most famous document on the topic, Poe's "Phi- 
losophy of Composition," professes to explain by what methodo- 
logical strategies, proceeding from what initial aesthetic axioms, 
his "Raven" was constructed. To defend his vanity against the 
charge that his horror tales were literary imitations, Poe wrote 
that their horrors were not of Germany but of the soul; yet that 
they were of his own soul he could not admit: he professed to 
be a literary engineer, skilled at manipulating the souls of 
others. In Poe, the division is terrifyingly complete between the 
unconscious, which provides the obsessive themes of delirium, 
torture, and death, and the conscious, which literarily develops 
them. 15 

Were we to set up tests for the discovery of literary talent, 
they would doubtless be of two sorts: one, that for poets in the 
modern sense, would concern itself with words and their com- 
bination, with image and metaphor, with linkages semantic and 
phonetic (i.e., rhyme, assonance, alliteration) ; the latter, for 
narrative writers (novelists and dramatists) would concern itself 
with characterization and plot-structure. 

The literary man is a specialist in association ("wit"), disso- 
ciation ("judgment"), recombination (making a new whole out 
of elements separately experienced). He uses words as his me- 
dium. As a child, he may collect words as other children col- 
lect dolls, stamps, or pets. For the poet, the word is not pri- 
marily a "sign," a transparent counter, but a "symbol," valuable 
for itself as well as in its capacity of representative ; it may even 
be an "object" or "thing," dear for its sound or look. Some nov- 
elists may use words as signs (Scott, Cooper, Dreiser), in which 
case they may be read to advantage translated into another Ian- 

84 Theory of Literature 

guage, or remembered as mythic structure; poets normally us& 
words "symbolically." 16 

The traditional phrase, the "association of ideas," is an in- 
accurate name. Beyond the associative linkage of word with word 
(marked in some poets) there is the association of the objects 
to which our mental "ideas" refer. The chief categories of such 
association are contiguity in time and place, and similarity or 
dissimilarity. The novelist operates primarily, perhaps, in terms 
of the former j the poet, in terms of the latter (which we may 
equate with metaphor) ; but — especially in recent literature — 
the contrast must not be made too strong. 

In his Road to Xanadu , Lowes reconstructs with the acumen 
of a brilliant detective the process of association by which the 
vastly and curiously read Coleridge moved from one quotation 
or allusion to another. As for theory, however, he is soon con- 
tent: a few purely figurative terms serve him to describe the 
creative process. He speaks of the "hooked atoms" or (in the 
phrase of Henry James) of images and ideas as dropping for 
a time "into the deep well of unconscious cerebration," to 
emerge having undergone (in the favorite quotation of scholars) 
a "sea-change." When Coleridge's recondite reading reappears, 
we sometimes get "marquetry" or "mosaic," sometimes a 
"miracle." Lowes formally acknowledges that "at the zenith of 
its power the creative energy is both conscious and unconscious 
. . . controlling consciously the throng of images which in the 
reservoir [the "well" of the unconscious] have undergone un- 
conscious metamorphosis" j but he scarcely attends to or attempts 
to define the really purposive and constructive in the creative 
process. 17 

In the narrative writer, we think of his creation of characters 
and his "invention" of stories. Since the Romantic period, both 
have undoubtedly been conceived of too simply as either 
"original" or copied from real people (a view read back also 
into the literature of the past) or plagiarism. Yet even in the 
most "original" novelists like Dickens, character types and nar- 
rative techniques are chiefly traditional, drawn from the profes- 
sional, the institutional literary stock. ls 

The creation of characters may be supposed to blend, in vary- 
ing degrees, inherited literary types, persons observed, and the 

Literature and Psychology 85 

self. The realist, we might say, chiefly observes behavior or 
"empathizes," while the Romantic writer "projects"; yet it is 
to be doubted that mere observation can suffice for life-like 
characterization. Faust, Mephistopheles, Werther, and Wilhelm 
Meister are all, says one psychologist, "projections into fiction 
of various aspects of Goethe's own nature." The novelist's po- 
tential selves, including those selves which are viewed as evil, 
are all potential fersonae. "One man's mood is another man's 
character." Dostoevsky's four brothers Karamazov are all aspects 
of Dostoevsky. Nor should we suppose that a novelist is neces- 
sarily limited to observation in his heroines. "Madame Bovary, 
c'est moi" says Flaubert. Only selves recognized from within 
as potential can become "living characters," not "flat" but 
"round." Whatever characters a novelist has succeeded with 
must be parts of himself, since only from himself, and not 
ex nihiloy could he give them life. 19 

What kind of relation have these "living characters" to the 
novelist's actual self? The more numerous and separate his char- 
acters, the less definite his own "personality," it would seem. 
Shakespeare disappears into his plays; neither in them, nor in 
anecdote, do we get any sense of a sharply defined and indi- 
viduated character comparable to that of Ben Jonson. The char- 
acter of the poet, Keats once wrote, is to have no self: "it is 
everything and nothing. ... It has as much delight in con- 
ceiving an lago as an Imogen. ... A Poet is the most un- 
poetical of any thing in existence, because he has no Identity — 
he is continually informing and filling some other body." 20 

All these theories we have discussed belong actually to the 
psychology of the writer. The processes of his creation are the 
legitimate object of the psychologists' investigative curiosity. 
They can classify the poet according to physiological and psy- 
chological types; they can describe his mental ills; they may 
even explore his subconscious mind. The evidence of the psy- 
chologist may come from unliterary documents or it may be 
drawn from the works themselves. In the latter case, it needs 
to be checked with the documentary evidence, to be carefully 

Can psychology, in its turn, be used to interpret and evaluate 
the literary works themselves? Psychology obviously can illumi- 

86 Theory of Literature 

nate the creative process. As we have seen, attention has been 
given to the varying methods of composition, to the habits of 
authors in revising and rewriting. There has been study of the 
genesis of works: the early stages, the drafts, the rejected read- 
ings. Yet the critical relevance of much of this information, 
especially the many anecdotes about writers' habits, is surely 
overrated. A study of revisions, corrections, and the like has 
more which is literarily profitable, since, well used, it may help 
us perceive critically relevant fissures, inconsistencies, turnings, 
distortions in a work of art. Analyzing how Proust composed 
his cyclic novel, Feuillerat illuminates the later volumes, ena- 
bling us to distinguish several layers in their text. A study of 
variants seems to permit glimpses into an author's workshop. 21 
Yet if we examine drafts, rejections, exclusions, and cuts more 
soberly, we conclude them not, finally, necessary to an under- 
standing of the finished work or to a judgment upon it. Their 
interest is that of any alternative, i.e., they may set into relief 
the qualities of the final text. But the same end may very well 
be achieved by devising for ourselves alternatives, whether or 
not they have actually passed through the author's mind. Keats' 
verses in the "Ode to the Nightingale": 

The same [voice] that oft-times hath 
Charmed magic casements opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn, 

may gain something from our knowing that Keats considered 
"ruthless seas" and even "keelless seas." But the status of 
"ruthless" or "keelless," by chance preserved, does not essen- 
tially differ from "dangerous," "empty," "barren," "shipless," 
"cruel," or any other adjective the critic might invoke. They do 
not belong to the work of art; nor do these genetic questions 
dispense with the analysis and evaluation of the actual work. 22 
There remains the question of "psychology" in the works 
themselves. Characters in plays and novels are judged by us 
to be "psychologically" true. Situations are praised and plots 
accepted because of this same quality. Sometimes, a psycho- 
logical theory, held either consciously or dimly by an author, 
seems to fit a figure or a situation. Thus Lily Campbell has 
argued that Hamlet fits the type of "sanguine man's suffering 

Literature and Psychology 87 

from melancholy adust" known to the Elizabethans from their 
psychological theories. In like fashion Oscar Campbell has tried 
to show that Jaques, in As You Like It, is a case of "unnatural 
melancholy produced by adustion of phlegm." Walter Shandy 
could be shown to suffer from the disease of linguistic associa- 
tionism described in Locke. Stendhal's hero Julien Sorel is de- 
scribed in terms of the psychology of Destutt de Tracy, and the 
different kinds of love relationship are obviously classified ac- 
cording to Stendhal's own book De l y Amour. Rodion Raskol- 
nikov's motives and feelings are analyzed in a way which sug- 
gests some knowledge of clinical psychology. Proust certainly 
has a whole psychological theory of memory, important even 
for the organization of his work. Freudian psychoanalysis is 
used quite consciously by novelists such as Conrad Aiken or 
Waldo Frank. 23 

The question may be raised, of course, whether the author 
has really succeeded in incorporating psychology into his figures 
and their relationships. Mere statements of his knowledge or 
theories would not count. They would be "matter" or "content," 
like any other type of information to be found in literature, 
e.g., facts from navigation, astronomy, or history. In some cases, 
the reference to contemporary psychology may be doubted or 
minimized. The attempts to fit Hamlet or Jaques into some 
scheme of Elizabethan psychology seem mistaken, because 
Elizabethan psychology was contradictory, confusing, and con- 
fused, and Hamlet and Jaques are more than types. Though 
Raskolnikov and Sorel fit certain psychological theories, they do 
so only incompletely and intermittently. Sorel sometimes be- 
haves in a most melodramatic manner. Raskolnikov's initial 
crime is inadequately motivated. These books are not primarily 
psychological studies or expositions of theories but dramas or 
melodramas, where striking situations are more important than 
realistic psychological motivation. If one examines "stream of 
consciousness" novels, one soon discovers that there is no "real" 
reproduction of the actual mental processes of the subject, that 
the stream of consciousness is rather a device of dramatizing the 
mind, of making us aware concretely what Benjy, the idiot in 
Faulkner's The Sound and the Fury, is like, or what Mrs. 

88 Theory oj Literature 

Bloom is like. But there is little that seems scientific or even 
"realistic" about the device. 24 

Even if we assume that an author succeeds in making his fig- 
ures behave with "psychological truth," we may well raise the 
question whether such "truth" is an artistic value. Much great 
art continuously violates standards of psychology, either con- 
temporary with it or subsequent. It works with improbable situa- 
tions, with fantastic motifs. Like the demand for social realism, 
psychological truth is a naturalistic standard without universal 
validity. In some cases, to be sure, psychological insight seems 
to enhance artistic value. In such cases, it corroborates important 
artistic values, those of complexity and coherence. But such in- 
sight can be reached by other means than a theoretical knowl- 
edge of psychology. In the sense of a conscious and systematic 
theory of the mind and its workings, psychology is unnecessary 
to art and not in itself of artistic value. 25 

For some conscious artists, psychology may have tightened 
their sense of reality, sharpened their powers of observation or 
allowed them to fall into hitherto undiscovered patterns. But, 
in itself, psychology is only preparatory to the act of creation ; 
and in the work itself, psychological truth is an artistic value 
only if it enhances coherence and complexity — if, in short, it 
is art. 


Literature and Society 

Literature is a social institution, using as its medium language, 
a social creation. Such traditional literary devices as symbolism 
and meter are social in their very nature. They are conventions 
and norms which could have arisen only in society. But, fur- 
thermore, literature "imitates" "life" 3 and "life" is, in large 
measure, a social reality, even though the natural world and 
the inner or subjective world of the individual have also been 
objects of literary "imitation." The poet himself is a member 
of society, possessed of a specific social status: he receives some 
degree of social recognition and reward} he addresses an audi- 
ence, however hypothetical. Indeed, literature has usually arisen 
in close connection with particular social institutions} and in 
primitive society we may even be unable to distinguish poetry 
from ritual, magic, work, or play. Literature has also a social 
function, or "use," which cannot be purely individual. Thus a 
large majority of the questions raised by literary study are, at 
least ultimately or by implication, social questions: questions of 
tradition and convention, norms and genres, symbols and myths. 
With Tomars, one can formulate: "Esthetic institutions are not 
based upon social institutions: they are not even part of social 
institutions: they are social institutions of one type and inti- 
mately interconnected with those others." x 

Usually, however, the inquiry concerning "literature and so- 
ciety" is put more narrowly and externally. Questions are asked 
about the relations of literature to a given social situation, to an 
economic, social, and political system. Attempts are made to 
describe and define the influence of society on literature and to 
prescribe and judge the position of literature in society. This 
sociological approach to literature is particularly cultivated by 
those who profess a specific social philosophy. Marxist critics not 
only study these relations between literature and society, but 


90 Theory of Literature 

also have their clearly defined conception of what these relations 
should be, both in our present society and in a future "classless" 
society. They practice evaluative, "judicial" criticism, based on 
non-literary political, and ethical criteria. They tell us not only 
what were and are the social relations and implications of an 
author's work but what they should have been or ought to be. 2 
They are not only students of literature and society but prophets 
of the future, monitors, propagandists; and they have difficulty 
in keeping these two functions separate. 

The relation between literature and society is usually discussed 
by starting with the phrase, derived from De Bonald, that 
"literature is an expression of society." But what does this axiom 
mean? If it assumes that literature, at any given time, mirrors 
the current social situation "correctly," it is false ; it is common- 
place, trite, and vague if it means only that literature depicts 
some aspects of social reality. 3 To say that literature mirrors or 
expresses life is even more ambiguous. A writer inevitably ex- 
presses his experience and total conception of life ; but it would 
be manifestly untrue to say that he expresses the whole of life — 
or even the whole life of a given time — completely and exhaus- 
tively. It is a specific evaluative criterion to say that an author 
should express the life of his own time fully, that he should 
be "representative" of his age and society. Besides, of course, 
the terms "fully" and "representative" require much interpre- 
tation: in most social criticism they seem to mean that an author 
should be aware of specific social situations, e.g., of the plight 
of the proletariat, or even that he should share a specific attitude 
and ideology of the critic. 

But it seems best to postpone the problem of evaluative criti- 
cism till we have disengaged the actual relations between lit- 
erature and society. These descriptive (as distinct from norma- 
tive) relations admit of rather ready classification. 

First, there is the sociology of the writer and the profession 
and institutions of literature, the whole question of the economic 
basis of literary production, the social provenience and status of 
the writer, his social ideology, which may find expression in 
extraliterary pronouncements and activities. Then there is the 
problem of the social content, the implications and social pur- 
pose of the works of literature themselves. Lastly, there are the 

Literature and Society 9 1 

problems of the audience and the actual social influence of lit- 
erature. The question how far literature is actually determined 
by or dependent on its social setting, on social change and de- 
velopment, is one which, in one way or another, will enter into 
all the three divisions of our problem: the sociology of the 
writer, the social content of the works themselves, and the in- 
fluence of literature on society. We shall have to decide what is 
meant by dependence or causation ; and ultimately we shall ar- 
rive at the problem of cultural integration and specifically at how 
our own culture is integrated. 

Since every writer is a member of society, he can be studied 
as a social being. Though his biography is the main source, such 
a study can easily widen into one of the whole milieu from 
which he came and in which he lived. It will be possible to ac- 
cumulate information about the social provenience, the family 
background, the economic position of writers. We can show what 
was the exact share of aristocrats, bourgeois, and proletarians in 
the history of literature; for example, we can demonstrate the 
predominant share which the children of the professional and 
commercial classes take in the production of American litera- 
ture. 4 Statistics can establish that, in modern Europe, literature 
recruited its practitioners largely from the middle classes, since 
aristocracy was preoccupied with the pursuit of glory or leisure 
while the lower classes had little opportunity for education. In 
England, this generalization holds good only with large reser- 
vations. The sons of peasants and workmen appear infrequently 
in older English literature: exceptions such as Burns and Car- 
lyle are partly explicable by reference to the democratic Scottish 
school system. The role of the aristocracy in English literature 
was uncommonly great — partly because it was less cut off from 
the professional classes than in other countries, where there was 
no primogeniture. But, with a few exceptions, all modern Rus- 
sian writers before Goncharov and Chekhov were aristocratic in 
origin. Even Dostoevsky was technically a nobleman, though his 
father, a doctor in a Moscow Hospital for the Poor, acquired 
land and serfs only late in his life. 

It is easy enough to collect such data but harder to interpret 
them. Does social provenience prescribe social ideology and 
allegiance? The cases of Shelley, Carlyle, and Tolstoy are ob- 

92 Theory of Literature 

vious examples of such "treason" to one's class. Outside of Russia, 
most Communist writers are not proletarian in origin. Soviet and 
other Marxist critics have carried out extensive investigations to 
ascertain precisely both the exact social provenience and the social 
allegiance of Russian writers. Thus P. N. Sakulin bases his treat- 
ment of recent Russian literature on careful distinctions between 
the respective literatures of the peasants, the small bourgeoisie, 
the democratic intelligentsia, the declasse intelligentsia, the 
bourgeoisie, the aristocracy, and the revolutionary proletariat. 5 
In the study of older literature, Russian scholars attempt elab- 
orate distinctions between the many groups and sub-groups of 
the Russian aristocracy to whom Pushkin and Gogol, Turgenev 
and Tolstoy may be shown to have belonged by virtue of their 
inherited wealth and early associations. 6 But it is difficult to prove 
that Pushkin represented the interests of the impoverished 
landed nobility and Gogol those of the Ukrainian small land- 
holder ; such a conclusion is indeed disproved by the general 
ideology of their works and by the appeal the works have made 
beyond the confines of a group, a class, and a time. 7 

The social origins of a writer play only a minor part in the 
questions raised by his social status, allegiance, and ideology; for 
writers, it is clear, have often put themselves at the service of 
another class. Most Court poetry was written by men who, 
though born in lower estate, adopted the ideology and taste of 
their patrons. 

The social allegiance, attitude, and ideology of a writer can be 
studied not only in his writings but also, frequently, in biograph- 
ical extra-literary documents. The writer has been a citizen, has 
pronounced on questions of social and political importance, has 
taken part in the issues of his time. 

Much work has been done upon political and social views of 
individual writers; and in recent times more and more attention 
has been devoted to the economic implications of these views. 
Thus L. C. Knights, arguing that Ben Jonson's economic attitude 
was profoundly medieval, shows how, like several of his fellow- 
dramatists, he satirized the rising class of usurers, monopolists, 
speculators, and "undertakers." s Many works of literature — e.g., 
the "histories" of Shakespeare and Swift's Gulliver's Travels — 
have been reinterpreted in close relation to the political context 

Literature and Society 93 

of the time. 9 Pronouncements, decisions, and activities should 
never be confused with the actual social implications of a writer's 
works. Balzac is a striking example of the possible division j for, 
though his professed sympathies were all with the old order, the 
aristocracy, and the Church, his instinct and imagination were 
far more engaged by the acquisitive type, the speculator, the new 
strong man of the bourgeoisie. There may be a considerable dif- 
ference between theory and practice, between profession of faith 
and creative ability. 

These problems of social origins, allegiance, and ideology will, 
if systematized, lead to a sociology of the writer as a type, or as 
a type at a particular time and place. 10 We can distinguish be- 
tween writers according to their degree of integration into the 
social process. It is very close in popular literature, but may 
reach the extremes of dissociation, of "social distance," in Bo- 
hemianism, with the foete maudit and the free creative genius. 
On the whole, in modern times, and in the West, the literary 
man seems to have lessened his class ties. There has arisen an 
"intelligentsia," a comparatively independent in-between class 
of professionals. It will be the task of literary sociology to trace 
its exact social status, its degree of dependence on the ruling 
class, the exact economic sources of its support, the prestige of 
the writer in each society. 

The general outlines of this history are already fairly clear. In 
popular oral literature, we can study the role of the singer or 
narrator who will depend closely on the favor of his public: the 
bard in ancient Greece, the scop in Teutonic antiquity, the pro- 
fessional folk-tale teller in the Orient and Russia. In the ancient 
Greek city state, the tragedians and such composers of dithyrambs 
and hymns as Pindar had their special, semireligious position, 
one slowly becoming more secularized, as we can see when we 
compare Euripides with Aeschylus. Among the Courts of the 
Roman Empire, we must think of Virgil, Horace, and Ovid as 
dependent on the bounty and good will of their Caesar and 

In the Middle Ages, there are the monk in his cell, the 
troubadour and Minnes'dnger at the Court or baron's castle, the 
vagrant scholars on the roads. The writer is either a clerk or 
scholar, or he is a singer, an entertainer, a minstrel. But even 

94 Theory of Literature 

kings like Wenceslaus II of Bohemia or James I of Scotland are 
now poets — amateurs, dilettantes. In the German Meistersang, 
artisans are organized in poetic guilds, burghers who practice 
poetry as a craft. With the Renaissance there arose a compara- 
tively unattached group of writers, the Humanists, who wan- 
dered sometimes from country to country and offered their 
services to different patrons. Petrarch is the first modern foeta 
laureatuSy possessed of a grandiose conception of his mission, 
while Aretino is the prototype of the literary journalist, living 
on blackmail, feared rather than honored and respected. 

In the large, the later history is the transition from support by 
noble or ignoble patrons to that afforded by publishers acting as 
predictive agents of the reading public. The system of aristo- 
cratic patronage was not, however, universal. The Church and, 
soon, the theater supported special types of literature. In Eng- 
land, the patronage system apparently began to fail early in the 
eighteenth century. For a time, literature, deprived of its earlier 
benefactors and not yet fully supported by the reading public, 
was economically worse off. The early life of Dr. Johnson in Grub 
Street and his defiance of Lord Chesterfield symbolize these 
changes. Yet a generation earlier, Pope was able to amass a for- 
tune from his translation of Homer, lavishly subscribed by nobil- 
ity and university men. 

The great financial rewards, however, came only in the nine- 
teenth century, when Scott and Byron wielded an enormous 
influence upon taste and public opinion. Voltaire and Goethe had 
vastly increased the prestige and independence of the writer on 
the Continent. The growth of the reading public, the founding 
of the great reviews like the Edinburgh and the Quarterly , made 
literature more and more the almost independent "institution" 
which Prosper de Barante, writing in 1822, claimed it to have 
been in the eighteenth century. 11 

As Ashley Thorndike urged, the "outstanding characteristic 
of the printed matter of the nineteenth century is not its vul- 
garization, or its mediocrity, but rather its specialization. This 
printed matter is no longer addressed to a uniform or homo- 
geneous public: it is divided up among many publics and conse- 
quently divided by many subjects, interests, and purposes." 12 In 
Fiction and the Reading Public, which might well be considered 

Literature and Society 95 

a homily on Thorndike's text, Mrs. Q. D. Leavis 13 points out 
that the eighteenth-century peasant who learned to read had to 
read what the gentry and the university men read ; that the nine- 
teenth century readers, on the other hand, are properly spoken of 
not as "the public" but as "publics." Our own time knows still 
further multiplications in publishing lists and magazine racks: 
there exist books for 9-10-year olds, books for boys of high school 
age, books for those who "live alone" j trade journals, house or- 
gans, Sunday School weeklies, Westerns, true-story romances. 
Publishers, magazines, and writers all specialize. 

Thus a study of the economic basis of literature and of the 
social status of the writer is inextricably bound up with a study of 
the audience he addresses and upon which he is dependent finan- 
cially. 14 Even the aristocratic patron is an audience and fre- 
quently an exacting audience, requiring not only personal adula- 
tion but also conformity to the conventions of his class. In even 
earlier society, in the group where folk poetry flourishes, the 
dependence of the author on the audience is even greater: his 
work will not be transmitted unless it pleases immediately. The 
role of the audience in the theater is, at least, as tangible. There 
have been even attempts to trace the changes in Shakespeare's 
periods and style to the change in the audience between the 
open-air Globe, on the South Bank, with its mixed audience, 
and Blackfriars, a closed hall frequented by the higher classes. 
It becomes harder to trace the specific relation between author 
and public at a later time when the reading public rapidly ex- 
pands, becomes dispersed and heterogeneous, and when the rela- 
tionships of author and public grow more indirect and oblique. 
The number of intermediaries between writers and the public 
increases. We can study the role of such social institutions and 
associations as the salon, the cafe, the club, the academy, and the 
university. We can trace the history of reviews and magazines as 
well as of publishing houses. The critic becomes an important 
middleman ; a group of connoisseurs, bibliophiles, and collectors 
may support certain kinds of literature ; and the associations of 
literary men themselves may help to create a special public of 
writers or would-be writers. In America especially, women, who, 
according to Veblen provide vicarious leisure and consumption 

^6 Theory of Literature 

of the arts for the tired businessman, have become active deter- 
minants of literary taste. 

Still, the old patterns have not been completely replaced. All 
modern governments support and foster literature in various 
degrees ; and patronage means, of course, control and super- 
vision. 15 To overrate the conscious influence of the totalitarian 
state during the last decades would be difficult. It has been both 
negative — in suppression, book-burning, censorship, silencing, 
and reprimanding, and positive — in the encouragement of "blood 
and soil" regionalism or Soviet "socialist realism." The fact that 
the state has been unsuccessful in creating a literature which, 
conforming to ideological specifications, is still great art, cannot 
refute the view that government regulation of literature is effec- 
tive in offering the possibilities of creation to those who identify 
themselves voluntarily or reluctantly with the official prescrip- 
tions. Thus, in Soviet Russia, literature is, at least, in theory 
again becoming a communal art and the artist has again been 
integrated into society. 

The graph of a book's success, survival, and recrudescence, or 
a writer's reputation and fame is, mainly, a social phenomenon. 
In part it belongs, of course, to literary "history," since fame and 
reputation are measured by the actual influence of a writer on 
other writers, his general power of transforming and changing 
the literary tradition. In part, reputation is a matter of critical 
response: till now, it has been traced chiefly on the basis of more 
or less formal pronouncements assumed to be representative of 
a period's "general reader." Hence, while the whole question of 
the "whirligig of taste" is "social," it can be put on a more defi- 
nitely sociological basis: detailed work can investigate the actual 
concordance between a work and the specific public which has 
made its success ; evidence can be accumulated on editions, copies 

The stratification of every society is reflected in the stratifica- 
tion of its taste. While the norms of the upper classes usually 
descend to the lower, the movement is sometimes reversed: in- 
terest in folklore and primitive art is a case in point. There is no 
necessary concurrence between political and social advancement 
and aesthetic: leadership in literature had passed to the bour- 
geoisie long before political supremacy. Social stratification may 

Literature and Society 97 

be interfered with and even abrogated in questions of taste by 
differences of age and sex, by specific groups and associations. 
Fashion is also an important phenomenon in modern literature, 
for in a competitive fluid society, the norms of the upper classes, 
quickly imitated, are in constant need of replacement. Certainly, 
the present rapid changes of taste seem to reflect the rapid social 
changes of the last decades and the general loose relation between 
artist and audience. 

The modern writer's isolation from society, illustrated by 
Grub Street, Bohemia, Greenwich Village, the American ex- 
patriate, invites sociological study. A Russian socialist, Georgi 
Plekhanov, believes that the doctrine of "art for art's sake" de- 
velops when artists feel a "hopeless contradiction between their 
aims and the aims of the society to which they belong. Artists 
must be very hostile to their society and they must see no hope of 
changing it." 16 In his Sociology of Literary Taste, Levin L. 
Schiicking has sketched out some of these problems j elsewhere, 
he has studied in detail the role of the family and women as an 
audience in the eighteenth century. 17 

Though much evidence has been accumulated, well-substan- 
tiated conclusions have rarely been drawn concerning the exact 
relations between the production of literature and its economic 
foundations, or even concerning the exact influence of the public 
on a writer. The relationship is obviously not one of mere de- 
pendence or of passive compliance with the prescriptions of 
patron or public. Writers may succeed in creating their own spe- 
cial public ; indeed, as Coleridge knew, every new writer has to 
create the taste which will enjoy him. 

The writer is not only influenced by society: he influences it. 
Art not merely reproduces Life but also shapes it. People may 
model their lives upon the patterns of fictional heroes and 
heroines. They have made love, committed crimes and suicide 
according to the book, be it Goethe's Sorrows of Werther or 
Dumas' Musketeers. But can we precisely define the influence 
of a book on its readers? Will it ever be possible to describe the 
influence of satire? Did Addison really change the manners of 
his society or Dickens incite reforms of debtors' prisons, boys' 
schools, and poorhouses? 1S Was Mrs. Stowe really the "little 
woman who made the great war"? Has Gone with the Wind 

98 Theory of Literature 

changed Northern readers' attitudes toward Mrs. Stowe's war? 
How have Hemingway and Faulkner affected their readers? 
How great was the influence of literature on the rise of modern 
nationalism? Certainly the historical novels of Walter Scott in 
Scotland, of Henryk Sienkiewicz in Poland, of Alois Jirasek in 
Czechoslovakia, have done something very definite to increase 
national pride and a common memory of historical events. 

We can hypothesize — plausibly, no doubt — that the young 
are more directly and powerfully influenced by their reading 
than the old, that inexperienced readers take literature more 
naively as transcript rather than interpretation of life, that those 
whose books are few take them in more utter seriousness than do 
wide and professional readers. Can we advance beyond such 
conjecture? Can we make use of questionnaires and any other 
mode of sociological enquiry? No exact objectivity is obtainable, 
for the attempt at case histories will depend upon the memories 
and the analytic powers of the interrogated, and their testimonies 
will need codification and evaluation by a fallible mind. But the 
question, "How does literature affect its audience?" is an em- 
pirical one, to be answered, if at all, by the appeal to experience; 
and, since we are thinking of literature in the broadest sense, and 
society in the broadest, the appeal must be made to the experi- 
ence not of the connoisseur alone but to that of the human race. 
We have scarcely begun to study such questions. 19 

Much the most common approach to the relations of literature 
and society is the study of works of literature as social documents, 
as assumed pictures of social reality. Nor can it be doubted that 
some kind of social picture can be abstracted from literature. 
Indeed, this has been one of the earliest uses to which literature 
has been put by systematic students. Thomas Warton, the first 
real historian of English poetry, argued that literature has the 
"peculiar merit of faithfully recording the features of the times, 
and of preserving the most picturesque and expressive represen- 
tation of manners" j 20 and to him and many of his antiquarian 
successors, literature was primarily a treasury of costumes and 
customs, a source book for the history of civilization, especially 
of chivalry and its decline. As for modern readers, many of them 
derive their chief impressions of foreign societies from the read- 

Literature and Society 99 

ing of novels, from Sinclair Lewis and Galsworthy, from Balzac 
and Turgenev. 

Used as a social document, literature can be made to yield 
the outlines of social history. Chaucer and Langland preserve 
two views of fourteenth-century society. The Prologue to the 
Canterbury Tales was early seen to offer an almost complete 
survey of social types. Shakespeare, in the Merry Wives of 
Windsor, Ben Jonson in several plays, and Thomas Deloney 
seem to tell us something about the Elizabethan middle class. 
Addison, Fielding, and Smollett depict the new bourgeoisie of 
the eighteenth century 5 Jane Austen, the country gentry and 
country parsons early in the nineteenth century ; and Trollope, 
Thackeray, and Dickens, the Victorian world. At the turn of the 
century, Galsworthy shows us the English upper middle classes ; 
Wells, the lower middle classes ; Bennett, the provincial towns. 

A similar series of social pictures could be assembled for 
American life from the novels of Mrs. Stowe and Howells to 
those of Farrell and Steinbeck. The life of post-Restoration 
Paris and France seems preserved in the hundreds of characters 
moving through the pages of Balzac's Human Comedy; and 
Proust traced in endless detail the social stratifications of the de- 
caying French aristocracy. The Russia of the nineteenth-century 
landowners appears in the novels of Turgenev and Tolstoy 5 we 
have glimpses of the merchant and the intellectual in Chekhov's 
stories and plays and of collectivized farmers in Sholokhov. 

Examples could be multiplied indefinitely. One can assemble 
and exposit the "world" of each, the part each gives to love 
and marriage, to business, to the professions, its delineation of 
clergymen, whether stupid or clever, saintly or hypocritical j or 
one can specialize upon Jane Austen's naval men, Proust's arri- 
vistes y Howells' married women. This kind of specialization 
will offer us monographs on the "Relation between Landlord 
and Tenant in Nineteenth-Century American Fiction," "The 
Sailor in English Fiction and Drama," or "Irish Americans in 
Twentieth-Century Fiction." 

But such studies seem of little value so long as they take it for 
granted that literature is simply a mirror of life, a reproduction, 
and thus, obviously, a social document. Such studies make sense 
only if we know the artistic method of the novelist studied, can 

1 00 Theory of Literature 

say — not merely in general terms, but concretely — in what rela- 
tion the picture stands to the social reality. Is it realistic by inten- 
tion? Or is it, at certain points, satire, caricature, or romantic 
idealization? In an admirably clearheaded study of Aristocracy 
and the Middle Classes in Germany , Kohn-Bramstedt rightly 
cautions us: "only a person who has a knowledge of the structure 
of a society from other sources than purely literary ones is able 
to find out if, and how far, certain social types and their behavior 
are reproduced in the novel. . . . What is pure fancy, what 
realistic observation, and what only an expression of the desires 
of the author must be separated in each case in a subtle man- 
ner." 21 Using Max Weber's conception of ideal "social types," 
the same scholar studies such social phenomena as class hatred, 
the behavior of the parvenu, snobbery, and the attitude toward 
the Jews; and he argues that such phenomena are not so much 
objective facts and behavior patterns as they are complex atti- 
tudes, thus far much better illustrated in fiction than elsewhere. 
Students of social attitudes and aspirations can use literary mate- 
rial, if they know how to interpret it properly. Indeed, for older 
periods, they will be forced to use literary or at least semiliterary 
material for want of evidence from the sociologists of the time: 
writers on politics, economics, and general public questions. 

Heroes and heroines of fiction, villains and adventuresses, af- 
ford interesting indications of such social attitudes. 22 Such studies 
constantly lead into the history of ethical and religious ideas. We 
know the medieval status of the traitor and the medieval attitude 
towards usury, which, lingering on into the Renaissance, gives 
us Shylock and, later, Moliere's L'Avare. To which "deadly sin" 
have later centuries chiefly assigned the villain; and is his vil- 
lainy conceived of in terms of personal or social morality? Is he, 
for example, artist at rape or embezzler of widows' bonds? 

The classic case is that of Restoration English comedy. Was it 
simply a realm of cuckoldom, a fairyland of adulteries and mock 
marriages as Lamb believed? Or was it, as Macaulay would have 
us believe, a faithful picture of decadent, frivolous, and brutal 
aristocracy? 23 Or should we not rather, rejecting both alterna- 
tives, see what particular social group created this art for what 
audience? And should we not see whether it was a naturalistic or 
a stylized art? Should we not be mindful of satire and irony, 

Literature and Society 1 01 

self-ridicule and fantasy? Like all literature, these plays are not 
simply documents ; they are plays with stock figures, stock situa- 
tions, with stage marriages and stage conditions of marriage 
settlements. E. E. Stoll concludes his many arguments on these 
matters: "Evidently this is not a 'real society,' not a faithful 
picture even of the 'fashionable life': evidently it is not England, 
even 'under the Stuarts,' whether since or before the Revolution 
or the Great Rebellion." 24 Still, the salutary emphasis upon con- 
vention and tradition to be found in writing like Stoll's cannot 
completely discharge the relations between literature and society. 
Even the most abstruse allegory, the most unreal pastoral, the 
most outrageous farce can, properly interrogated, tell us some- 
thing of the society of a time. 

Literature occurs only in a social context, as part of a culture, 
in a milieu. Taine's famous triad of race, milieu, and moment has, 
in practice, led to an exclusive study of the milieu. Race is an un- 
known fixed integral with which Taine operates very loosely, and 
moment can be dissolved into the concept of milieu. A difference 
of time means simply a different setting, but the actual question 
of analysis arises only if we try to break up the term "milieu." 
The most immediate setting of a work of literature, we shall 
then recognize, is its linguistic and literary tradition, and this tra- 
dition in turn is encompassed by a general cultural "climate." 
Only far less directly can literature be connected with concrete 
economic political and social situations. Of course there are inter- 
relationships between all spheres of human activities. Eventually 
we can establish some connection between the modes of produc- 
tion and literature, since an economic system usually implies 
some system of power and must control the forms of family life. 
And the family plays an important role in education, in the con- 
cepts of sexuality and love, in the whole convention and tradition 
of human sentiment. Thus it is possible to link even lyric poetry 
with love conventions, religious preconceptions, and conceptions 
of nature. But these relationships may be devious and oblique. 

It seems impossible, however, to accept a view constituting 
any particular human activity the "starter" of all the others, 
whether it be the theory of Taine, who reduces all creativity to 
a mysterious biological factor, "race," or that of Hegel and the 
Hegelians, who consider "spirit" the only moving force in his- 

102 Theory of Literature 

tory, or that of the Marxists, who derive everything from the 
mode of production. No radical technological changes took 
place in the many centuries between the early Middle Ages 
and the rise of Capitalism, while cultural life, and literature in 
particular, underwent most profound transformations. Nor does 
literature always show, at least immediately, much awareness of 
an epoch's technological changes: the Industrial Revolution 
penetrated English novels only in the forties of the nineteenth 
century (with Mrs. Gaskell, Kingsley, and Charlotte Bronte), 
long after its symptoms were plainly visible to economists and 
social thinkers. 

The social situation, one should admit, seems to determine 
the possibility of the realization of certain aesthetic values, but 
not the values themselves. We can determine in general outlines 
what art forms are possible in a given society and which are im- 
possible, but it is not possible to predict that these art forms will 
actually come into existence. Many Marxists — and not Marxists 
only — attempt far too crude short cuts from economics to litera- 
ture. For example, John Maynard Keynes, not an unliterary 
person, has ascribed the existence of Shakespeare to the fact that 
"we were just in a financial position to afford Shakespeare at the 
moment when he presented himself. Great writers flourished in 
the atmosphere of buoyancy, exhilaration, and the freedom of 
economic cares felt by the governing class, which is engendered 
by profit inflations." 25 But profit inflations did not elicit great 
poets elsewhere — for instance, during the boom of the twenties 
in the United States — nor is this view of the optimistic Shake- 
speare quite beyond dispute. No more helpful is the opposite 
formula, devised by a Russian Marxist: "Shakespeare's tragic 
outlook on the world was consequential upon his being the 
dramatic expression of the feudal aristocracy, which in Eliza- 
beth's day had lost their former dominant position." 26 Such con- 
tradictory judgments, attached to vague categories like optimism 
and pessimism, fail to deal concretely with either the ascertain- 
able social content of Shakespeare's plays, his professed opinions 
on political questions (obvious from the chronicle plays), or his 
social status as a writer. 

One must be careful, however, not to dismiss the economic 
approach to literature by means of such quotations. Marx him- 

Literature and Society 1 03 

self, though on occasion he made some fanciful judgments, in 
general acutely perceived the obliqueness of the relationship 
between literature and society. In the Critique of Political Econ- 
omy, he admits that "certain periods of highest development of 
art stand in no direct connection with the general development 
of society, nor with the material basis and the skeleton structure 
of its organization. Witness the example of the Greeks as com- 
pared with the modern nations or even Shakespeare." 2T He also 
understood that the modern division of labor leads to a definite 
contradiction between the three factors ("moments" in his Hegel- 
ian terminology) of the social process — "productive forces," 
"social relations," and "consciousness." He expected, in a manner 
which scarcely seems to avoid the Utopian, that in the future 
classless society these divisions of labor would again disappear, 
that the artist would again be integrated into society. He thought 
it possible that everybody could be an excellent, even an original, 
painter. "In a communist society there are no painters, but at 
most men who, among other things, also paint." 2S 

The "vulgar Marxist" tells us that this or that writer was a 
bourgeois who voiced reactionary or progressive opinions about 
Church and State. There is a curious contradiction between this 
avowed determinism which assumes that "consciousness" must 
follow "existence," that a bourgeois cannot help being one, and 
the usual ethical judgment which condemns him for these very 
opinions. In Russia, one notes, writers of bourgeois origin who 
have joined the proletariat have constantly been subjected to 
suspicions of their sincerity, and every artistic or civic failing has 
been ascribed to their class origin. Yet if progress, in the Marxist 
sense, leads directly from feudalism via bourgeois capitalism to 
the "dictatorship of the proletariat," it would be logical and con- 
sistent for a Marxist to praise the "progressives" at any time. He 
should praise the bourgeois when, in the early stages of capi- 
talism, he fought the surviving feudalism. But frequently Marx- 
ists criticize writers from a twentieth-century point of view, or, 
like Smirnov and Grib, Marxists very critical of "vulgar sociol- 
ogy," rescue the bourgeois writer by a recognition of his universal 
humanity. Thus Smirnov comes to the conclusion that Shake- 
speare was the "humanist ideologist of the bourgeoisie, the ex- 
ponent of the program advanced by them when, in the name of 

1 04 Theory of Literature 

humanity, they first challenged the feudal order." 29 But the con- 
cept of humanism, of the universality of art, surrenders the cen- 
tral doctrine of Marxism, which is essentially relativistic. 

Marxist criticism is at its best when it exposes the implied, or 
latent, social implications of a writer's work. In this respect it is 
a technique of interpretation parallel to those founded upon the 
insights of Freud, or of Nietzsche, or of Pareto, or to the 
Scheler-Mannheim "sociology of knowledge." All these intel- 
lectuals are suspicious of the intellect, the professed doctrine, the 
mere statement. The central distinction is that Nietzsche's and 
Freud's methods are psychological, while Pareto's analysis of 
"residues" and "derivatives" and the Scheler-Mannheim tech- 
nique of the analysis of "ideology" are sociological. 

The "sociology of knowledge," as illustrated in the writings of 
Max Scheler, Max Weber, and Karl Mannheim, has been worked 
out in detail and has some definite advantages over its rivals. 30 
It not only draws attention to the presuppositions and implica- 
tions of a given ideological position, but it also stresses the hidden 
assumptions and biases of the investigator himself. It is thus self- 
critical and self-conscious, even to the extreme of morbidity. It 
is also less prone than either Marxism or psychoanalysis to isolate 
one single factor as the sole determinant of change. Whatever 
their failure at isolating the religious factor, the studies of Max 
Weber in the sociology of religion are valuable for their attempt 
to describe the influence of ideological factors on economic be- 
havior and institutions— for earlier emphasis had been entirely 
upon the economic influence on ideology. 31 A similar investiga- 
tion of the influences of literature on social change would be very 
welcome, though it would run into analogous difficulties. It 
seems as hard to isolate the strictly literary factor as the religious 
factor and to answer the question whether the influence is due to 
the particular factor itself, or to other forces for which the factor 
is a mere "shrine" or "channel." 82 

The "sociology of knowledge" suffers, however, from its exces- 
sive historicism; it has come to ultimately skeptical conclusions 
despite its thesis that "objectivity" can be achieved by synthe- 
sizing, and thus neutralizing, the conflicting perspectives. It suf- 
fers also, in application to literature, from its inability to connect 
"content" with "form." Like Marxism, preoccupied with an ir- 

Literature and Society 105 

rationalistic explanation, it is unable to provide a rational founda- 
tion for aesthetics and hence criticism and evaluation. This is, of 
course, true of all extrinsic approaches to literature. No causal 
study can do theoretical justice to the analysis, description, and 
evaluation of a literary work. 

But the problem of "literature and society" can obviously be 
put in different terms, those of symbolic or meaningful rela- 
tions: of consistency, harmony, coherence, congruence, struc- 
tural identity, stylistic analogy, or with whatever term we want 
to designate the integration of a culture and the interrelationship 
among the different activities of men. Sorokin, who has analyzed 
the various possibilities clearly, 33 has concluded that the degree 
of integration varies from society to society. 

Marxism never answers the question of the degree of de- 
pendence of literature on society. Hence many of the basic prob- 
lems have scarcely begun to be studied. Occasionally, for ex- 
ample, one sees arguments for the social determination of genres, 
as in the case of the bourgeois origin of the novel, or even the 
details of their attitudes and forms, as in E. B. Burgum's not 
very convincing view that tragicomedy "results from the impact 
of middle class seriousness upon aristocratic frivolity." 34 Are 
there definite social determinants of such a broad literary style as 
Romanticism, which, though associated with the bourgeoisie, was 
anti-bourgeois in its ideology, at least in Germany, from its very 
beginning? 35 Though some kind of dependence of literary ide- 
ologies and themes on social circumstances seems obvious, the 
social origins of forms and styles, genres and actual literary 
norms have rarely been established. 36 

It has been attempted most concretely in studies of the social 
origins of literature: in Bucher's one-sided theory of the rise of 
poetry from labor rhythms ; in the many studies by anthropolo- 
gists of the magic role of early art; in George Thomson's very 
learned attempt to bring Greek tragedy into concrete relations 
with cult and rituals and with a definite democratic social revolu- 
tion at the time of Aeschylus; in Christopher Caudwell's some- 
what naive attempt to study the sources of poetry in tribal emo- 
tions and in the bourgeois "illusion" of individual freedom. 37 

Only if the social determination of forms could be shown con- 
clusively could the question be raised whether social attitudes 

1 06 Theory of Literature 

cannot become "constitutive" and enter a work of art as effective 
parts of its artistic value. One can argue that "social truth," while 
not, as such, an artistic value, corroborates such artistic values as 
complexity and coherence. But it need not be so. There is great 
literature which has little or no social relevance j social literature 
is only one kind of literature and is not central in the theory of 
literature unless one holds the view that literature is primarily 
an "imitation" of life as it is and of social life in particular. But 
literature is no substitute for sociology or politics. It has its own 
justification and aim. 


Literature and Ideas 

The relation between literature and ideas can be conceived 
in very diverse ways. Frequently literature is thought of as a 
form of philosophy, as "ideas" wrapped in form; and it is ana- 
lyzed to yield "leading ideas." Students are encouraged to sum- 
marize and to abstract works of art in terms of such generaliza- 
tions. Much older scholarship has pushed this method to absurd 
extremes j one thinks especially of such German Shakespeare 
scholars as Ulrici, who formulated the central idea of the Mer- 
chant of Venice as "summum jus summa injuria." x Though to- 
day most scholars have become wary of such overintellectualiza- 
tion, there are still discussions which treat literature as though 
it were a philosophical tract. 

The opposite view is to deny any philosophical relevance to 
literature. In a lecture on Philosophy and Poetry , George Boas 
has stated this view quite bluntly: "Ideas in poetry are usually 
stale and false, and no one older than sixteen would find it worth 
his while to read poetry merely for what it says." 2 According to 
T. S. Eliot, neither "Shakespeare nor Dante did any real think- 
ing." 3 One may grant Boas that the intellectual content of most 
poetry (and he seems to be thinking chiefly of lyrical poetry) is 
usually much exaggerated. If we analyze many famous poems 
admired for their philosophy, we frequently discover mere com- 
monplaces concerning man's mortality or the uncertainty of fate. 
The oracular sayings of Victorian poets such as Browning, which 
have struck many readers as revelatory, often turn out mere 
portable versions of primeval truths. 4 Even if we seem to be able 
to carry away some general proposition such as Keats' "Beauty 
is Truth, Truth Beauty," we are left to make what we can of 
these conversible propositions, unless we see them as the con- 
clusion of a poem which has to do with illustrating the per- 
manence of art and the impermanence of human emotions and 


io8 Theory oj Literature 

natural beauty. The reduction of a work of art to a doctrinal 
statement — or, even worse, the isolation of passages — is dis- 
astrous to understanding the uniqueness of a work: it disinte- 
grates its structure and imposes alien criteria of value. 

To be sure, literature can be treated as a document in the his- 
tory of ideas and philosophy, for literary history parallels and 
reflects intellectual history. Frequently either explicit statements 
or allusions show the allegiance of a poet to a specific philosophy, 
or establish that he has had some direct acquaintance with phi- 
losophies once well-known or at least that he is aware of their 
general assumptions. 

In recent decades, a whole group of American scholars have 
devoted themselves to a study of these questions, calling their 
method the "History of Ideas," a somewhat misleading term for 
the specific, limited method developed and advocated by A. O. 
Lovejoy. 5 Lovejoy has brilliantly demonstrated its effectiveness 
in a book on The Great Chain oj Being which traces the idea of 
a scale of nature from Plato to Schelling, pursuing the idea 
through all modes of thought: philosophy in the strict sense, 
scientific thought, theology, and — specifically — literature. The 
method differs from history of philosophy in two respects. Love- 
joy limits the study of the history of philosophy to the great 
thinkers and conceives of his own "history of ideas" as inclusive 
also of small thinkers, including the poets, conceived as deriva- 
tive from the thinkers. He further distinguishes that the history 
of philosophy studies the great systems, while the history of ideas 
traces unit ideas, i.e., breaks up the systems of philosophers into 
their component parts, studying individual motifs. 

The particular deliminations made by Lovejoy, while per- 
fectly defensible as the basis of an individual study like The 
Great Chain of Being, fail to be generally convincing. The his- 
tory of philosophical concepts belongs properly enough to the 
history of philosophy and was so included by Hegel and Windel- 
band long ago. Of course it is as one-sided to study unit ideas to 
the exclusion of systems as it would be to restrict literary history 
to the history of versification or diction or imagery, neglecting 
the study of those coherent wholes, specific works of art. "His- 
tory of Ideas" is simply a specific approach to the general history 
of thought, using literature only as document and illustration. 

Literature and Ideas 1 09 

This assumption is obvious when Lovejoy calls ideas in seri- 
ous reflective literature in great part "philosophical ideas in 
dilution." 6 

None the less, the "History of Ideas" must be welcomed by 
literary students, and not merely for the indirect light a better 
comprehension of philosophical history must throw on literature. 
Lovejoy 's method reacts against the excessive intellectualism of 
most historians of thought. It recognizes that thought, or at least 
the choice between systems of thought, is frequently determined 
by assumptions, by more or less unconscious mental habits ; that 
people are influenced in their adoption of ideas by their sus- 
ceptibility to diverse kinds of metaphysical pathos ; and that ideas 
are frequently key words, pious phrases, which must be studied 
semantically. Leo Spitzer, who has disapproved of many fea- 
tures of Lovejoy's "History of Ideas," has himself given excel- 
lent examples of how to combine intellectual and semantic his- 
tory in studies tracing such words as "milieu," "ambiance," and 
"Stimmung" through all their associations and ramifications in 
history. 7 Finally, Lovejoy's scheme has one most attractive fea- 
ture. It explicitly ignores the division of literary and historical 
studies by nationalities and languages. 

The value for the exegesis of a poetic text of a knowledge of 
the history of philosophy and of general thought can scarcely be 
overrated. Besides, literary history — especially when occupied 
with such writers as Pascal, Emerson, Nietzsche — has constantly 
to treat problems of intellectual history. Indeed, the history of 
criticism is simply a part of the history of aesthetic thought — at 
least, if it is treated in itself, without reference to the creative 
work contemporary with it. 

Without doubt, English literature can be shown to reflect the 
history of philosophy. Renaissance Platonism pervades Eliza- 
bethan poetry: Spenser wrote four hymns describing the Neo- 
Platonic ascent from matter to Heavenly Beauty, and in the 
Faerie Queene, decides the dispute between Mutability and Na- 
ture in favor of an eternal, unchangeable order. In Marlowe we 
hear reverberations of the contemporary Italianate atheism and 
skepticism. Even in Shakespeare, there are many traces of 
Renaissance Platonism, e.g., in the famous speech of Ulysses in 
Troilus, together with echoes of Montaigne and tags from 

no Theory of Literature 

Stoicism. We can trace Donne's study of the Fathers and the 
Schoolmen as well as the impact of the new science upon his 
sensibility. Milton himself evolved a highly personal theology 
and cosmogony, which, according to one interpretation, combine 
materialistic and Platonic elements and draw both on Oriental 
thought and on the doctrines of such contemporary sects as the 

Dryden has written philosophical poetry which expounds the 
theological and political controversies of the time and certainly 
demonstrates his awareness of fideism, modern science, skepti- 
cism, and deism. Thomson can be described as the expounder of 
a system combining Newtonianism and Shaftesbury. Pope's 
Essay on Man abounds in philosophical echoes; and Gray versi- 
fied Locke's theories in Latin hexameters. Laurence Sterne was 
an enthusiastic admirer of Locke and used his ideas of association 
and duration, often for comic purposes, throughout Tristram- 

Among the great Romantic poets, Coleridge was himself a 
technical philosopher of great ambition and some standing. He 
was a detailed student of Kant and Schelling and expounded 
their views, even though not always critically. Through Cole- 
ridge, whose own poetry seems little affected by his systematic 
philosophy, many German or generally Neo-Platonic ideas en- 
tered or re-entered the tradition of English poetry. There are 
traces of Kant in Wordsworth, and it has been shown that he was 
a close student of the psychologist Hartley. Shelley at first was 
deeply influenced by the French eighteenth-century philosofihes 
and their English disciple Godwin, but later assimilated ideas 
derived from Spinoza, Berkeley, and Plato. 

The Victorian controversy between science and religion finds 
well-known expression in Tennyson and Browning. Swinburne 
and Hardy reflect the pessimistic atheism of the time, while 
Hopkins shows the effect of his study of Duns Scotus. George 
Eliot translated Feuerbach and Strauss, Shaw read Samuel But- 
ler and Nietzsche. Most recent writers have read Freud or read 
about him. Joyce knew not only Freud and Jung but Vico, Gior- 
dano Bruno, and, of course, Thomas Aquinas; Yeats was deeply 
immersed in theosophy, mysticism, and even Berkeley. 

In other literatures, studies of such problems have been pos- 

Literature and Ideas ill 

sibly even more abundant. Numberless are the interpretations of 
Dante's theology. In France, M. Gilson has applied his learning 
in medieval philosophy to the exegesis of passages in Rabelais 
and Pascal. 8 Paul Hazard has written skillfully on the Crisis of 
European Consciousness toward the end of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, tracing the spread of the ideas of the Enlightenment and, 
in a new work, their establishment throughout Europe. 9 In Ger- 
many, studies abound on Schiller's Kantianism, Goethe's con- 
tacts with Plotinus and Spinoza, Kleist's with Kant, Hebbel's 
with Hegel, and such topics. In Germany, indeed, the collabora- 
tion between philosophy and literature was frequently extremely 
close, especially during the Romantic period, when Fichte, 
Schelling, and Hegel lived with the poets and when even as 
pure a poet as Holderlin thought it incumbent upon him to 
speculate systematically on questions of epistemology and meta- 
physics. In Russia, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy have been treated 
frequently simply as philosophers and religious thinkers, and 
even Pushkin has been made to yield an elusive wisdom. 10 At 
the time of the Symbolist movement, a whole school of "meta- 
physical critics" arose in Russia, interpreting literature in terms 
of their own philosophical positions. Rozanov, Merezhkovsky, 
Shestov, Berdayev, Volynsky, and Vyacheslav Ivanov all wrote 
on Dostoevsky or around him, 11 sometimes using him merely as 
a text for preaching their own doctrine, sometimes reducing him 
to a system and, rarely, thinking of him as a tragic novelist. 

But at the end, or better at the beginning, of such studies 
some questions must be raised which are not always answered 
clearly. How far do mere echoes of philosophers' thought in the 
poet's work define the view of an author, especially a dramatic 
author like Shakespeare? How clearly and systematically were 
philosophical views held by poets and other writers? Isn't it fre- 
quently an anachronism of the worst sort to assume that a writer 
in older centuries held a personal philosophy, felt even the de- 
mand for it, or lived among people who would encourage any 
personal pattern of opinions or be interested in it? Do not liter- 
ary historians frequently grossly overrate, even among recent 
authors, the coherence, clarity, and scope of their philosophical 

Even if we think of authors who were highly self-conscious or 

112 Theory of Literature 

even, as in a few instances, speculative philosophers themselves 
and wrote poetry which could be called "philosophical," we shall 
still have to ask such questions as these: Is poetry better because 
it is more philosophical? Can poetry be judged according to the 
value of the philosophy which it adopts or according to the de- 
gree of insight which it shows into the philosophy it adopts? Or 
can it be judged by criteria of philosophical originality, by the de- 
gree with which it modified traditional thought? T. S. Eliot has 
preferred Dante to Shakespeare because the philosophy of Dante 
seemed to him sounder than that of Shakespeare. A German 
philosopher, Hermann Glockner, has argued that poetry and 
philosophy have never been farther apart than in Dante because 
Dante took over a finished system without changing it. 12 The 
true collaboration between philosophy and poetry occurred when 
there were poets-thinkers like Empedocles in the pre-Socratic 
age of Greece, or during the Renaissance when Ficino or Gior- 
dano Bruno wrote poetry and philosophy, poetic philosophy 
and philosophical poetry, and later in Germany, when Goethe 
was both a poet and an original philosopher. 

But are philosophical standards of this sort criteria of literary 
criticism? Is Pope's Essay on Man to be condemned because it 
shows considerable eclecticism in its sources and consistency only 
passage by passage, while the total is riddled with over-all inco- 
herencies? Does the fact that we can show Shelley to have pro- 
gressed, at a certain time of his life, from the crude materialism 
of Godwin to some sort of Platonic idealism, make him a better 
poet or a worse? Can the impression that Shelley's poetry is 
vague, monotonous, and boring, which seems to be the experience 
of a new generation of readers, be refuted by showing that, prop- 
erly interpreted, his philosophy made sense in its time, or that 
this or that passage is not meaningless but alludes to contempo- 
rary scientific or pseudo-scientific conceptions? 13 All these criteria 
are surely based on the intellectualist misunderstanding, on a 
confusion of the functions of philosophy and art, on a misunder- 
standing of the way ideas actually enter into literature. 

These objections to the excessive intellectualism of the phil- 
osophical approach have been taken account of in some methods 
developed especially in Germany. Rudolf Unger has most clearly 
defended an approach which, though not systematically ex- 

Literature and Ideas 1 1 3 

ploited before, had long been used. 14 He rightly argues that lit- 
erature is not philosophical knowledge translated into imagery 
and verse, but that literature expresses a general attitude toward 
life, that poets usually answer, unsystematically, questions which 
are also themes of philosophy but that the poetic mode of an- 
swering differs in different ages and situations. Unger classifies 
these "problems" in the following rather arbitrary manner: the 
problem of fate, by which he means the relation of freedom and 
necessity, spirit and nature ; the religious "problem," including 
the interpretation of Christ, the attitude toward sin and salva- 
tion} the problem of nature, which would include such questions 
as the feelings for nature, but also questions of myth and magic. 
Another group of problems Unger calls the problem of man. 
It concerns questions of the concept of man, but also of man's 
relation to death, man's concept of love; and finally there is 
a group of problems of society, family, and state. The attitude 
of the writers is to be studied in relation to these problems, and 
in some cases, books have been produced which try to trace the 
history of these problems in terms of an assumed immanent de- 
velopment. Walter Rehm has written a large book on the prob- 
lem of death in German poetry, Paul Kluckhohn on the concep- 
tion of love in the eighteenth century and the Romantic age. 15 

In other languages, there is similar work. Mario Praz's Ro- 
mantic Agony could be described as a book about the problem of 
sex and death as its Italian title The Fleshy Death, and the 
Devil 16 suggests. C. S. Lewis' Allegory of Love, besides being 
a genre history of allegory, contains much about changing atti- 
tudes toward love and marriage, and Theodore Spencer has 
written a book on Death and Elizabethan Tragedy which traces 
in its introductory part the medieval conception of death in con- 
trast to Renaissance conceptions. 17 To give only one example: 
man in the Middle Ages feared sudden death most, as it pre- 
cluded preparation and repentance, while Montaigne begins to 
think that a quick death is best. He has lost the Christian view 
that death is the aim of life. H. N. Fairchild has attempted to 
trace religious trends in English eighteenth-century poetry by 
classifying writers according to the heat of their religious emo- 
tions. 18 In France, Abbe Bremond's voluminous History of 

114 Theory of Literature 

French Religious Sentiment in the Seventeenth Century draws 
much of its material from literature} and Monglond and Tra- 
hard have written very fine studies of sentimentalism, the pre- 
romantic feeling for nature, and the curious sensibility displayed 
by the French Revolutionaries. 19 

If one surveys Unger's list, one must recognize that some of 
the problems he enumerates are simply philosophical, ideological 
problems for which the poet has been only, in Sidney's phrase, 
the "right popular philosopher," while other problems belong 
rather to a history of sensibility and sentiment than to a history 
of thought. Sometimes the ideological intermingles with the 
purely emotional. In his attitude to nature man is profoundly in- 
fluenced by cosmological and religious speculations but also di- 
rectly by aesthetic considerations, literary conventions, and pos- 
sibly even physiological changes in his manner of seeing. 20 Land- 
scape feeling, though also determined by travelers, painters, and 
garden designers, has been profoundly influenced by poets such 
as Milton or Thomson and writers like Ruskin. 

A history of sentiment will make considerable difficulties, since 
sentiment is elusive and, at the same time, uniform. The Ger- 
mans have certainly exaggerated the changes in human attitudes 
and have constructed schemes of their development which are 
suspiciously neat. Still, there is little doubt that sentiment 
changes^ has at the very least its conventions and fashions. Balzac 
amusingly comments on M. Hulot's frivolous eighteenth-cen- 
tury attitude to love as different from that of Madame Marneffe, 
who has the new Restoration conventions of the poor feeble 
woman, the "sister of charity." 21 The torrents of tears of the 
eighteenth-century reader and writer are a commonplace of lit- 
erary history. Gellert, a German poet of intellectual and social 
standing, cried over the parting of Grandison and Clementine 
till his handkerchief, his book, his table, and even the floor got 
wet, and boasted of it in a letter} 22 and even Dr. Johnson, not 
renowned for softheartedness, indulged in tears and sentimental 
effusions far more unrestrainedly than our contemporaries, at 
least those of the intellectual classes. 23 

In the study of the individual writer, Unger's less intellectual- 
ist point of view also has its advantages, since it tries to define 

Literature and Ideas 1 1 5 

less tangibly, less overtly formulated attitudes and ideas. It is less 
in danger of isolating and reducing the contents of a work of art 
to mere prose statement, a mere formula. 

The study of these attitudes has led some German philos- 
ophers to speculate about the possibility of reducing them to a 
few types of W eltanschauung> a term which is used widely 
enough to include both philosophical ideas and emotional atti- 
tudes. The most well-known attempt is that of Dilthey, who in 
his practice as a literary historian has constantly stressed the dif- 
ference between an idea and an experience (Erlebnis). He finds 
three main types in the history of thought: 2i positivism, which 
derives from Democritus and Lucretius and includes Hobbes, 
the French encyclopedists, and modern materialists and positiv- 
ists; objective idealism, which includes Heraclitus, Spinoza, 
Leibniz, Schelling, Hegel ; and a dualistic idealism, or "Idealism 
of Freedom," which includes Plato, the Christian theologians, 
Kant, and Fichte. The first group explains the spiritual by the 
physical world, the second sees reality as the expression of an 
internal reality and does not recognize a conflict between being 
and value, the third assumes the independence of spirit against 
nature. Dilthey then associates specific authors with these types: 
Balzac and Stendhal belong to the first type; Goethe to the sec- 
ond; Schiller to the third. This is a classification not based merely 
on conscious adherence and pronouncements, but deducible, it 
is supposed, from even the most unintellectual art. The types 
are also associated with general psychological attitudes: thus 
realism with predominance of the intellect, objective idealism 
with the predominance of feeling, the dualistic idealism with the 
predominance of will. 

Hermann Nohl has tried to show that the types are also ap- 
plicable to painting and music. 25 Rembrandt and Rubens belong 
to the objective idealists, the pantheists; painters like Velasquez 
and Hals to the realists; Michelangelo to the subjective idealists. 
Berlioz belongs to type I, Schubert to type II, Beethoven to type 
III. The argument from painting and music is important, since 
it implies that these types can exist also in literature without any 
overtly intellectual content. Unger has tried to show that the 
differences will hold good even of small lyrical poems by 

1 1 6 Theory of Literature 

Morike, C. F. Meyer and Liliencron ; 26 he and Nohl tried to 
show that Weltanschauung can be discovered merely from style 
or, at least, from scenes in a novel with no direct intellectual con- 
tent. Here the theory changes into a theory of fundamental 
artistic styles. Walzel has attempted to link it with the Principles 
of Art History of Wolfflin and similar typologies. 27 

The interest of these speculations is considerable, and many 
variations of the theory here expounded have been invented in 
Germany. They have also been applied to the history of litera- 
ture. Walzel, for example, sees, in nineteenth-century Germany 
and, presumably, European literature, a clear evolution from 
type II (Goethe's and the Romantics' objective idealism), 
through type I (realism), which progressively becomes conscious 
of the phenomenality of the world in impressionism, to a sub- 
jective, dualistic idealism represented by expressionism, the rep- 
resentative of type III. Walzel's scheme does not merely state 
that there was this change but that this change is somehow inter- 
locking and logical. Pantheism at a certain stage leads to natural- 
ism, and naturalism leads to impressionism, and the subjectivity 
of impressionism finally merges into a new idealism. The scheme 
is dialectical and ultimately Hegelian. 

A sober view of these speculations will be skeptical of the 
neatness of these schemes. It will doubt the sacredness of the 
number three. Unger himself, for example, distinguishes two 
types of objective idealism: a harmonious type, represented by 
Goethe, and a dialectical, in Boehme, Schelling, and Hegel - y and 
similar objections could be voiced against the types of "posi- 
tivism," which seems to cover a multitude of frequently highly 
divergent points of view. But less important than such objections 
against the details of the classification are the doubts which must 
arise about the whole assumption behind the undertaking. All 
typology of this sort leads only to a rough classification of all lit- 
erature under three, or at the most five or six, headings. The 
concrete individuality of the poets and their works is ignored or 
minimized. From a literary point of view, little seems to be 
achieved by classifying such diverse poets as Blake, Wordsworth, 
and Shelley as "objective idealists." There seems little point in 
reducing the history of poetry to the permutations of three or 

Literature and Ideas 1 1 7 

more types of W eltanschauung. Finally, the position implies a 
radical and excessive relativism. The assumption must be that 
these three types are of equal value and that the poet cannot but 
choose one of them on the basis of his temperament or some 
fundamentally irrational, merely given attitude toward the 
world. The implication is that there are only so many types and 
that every poet is an illustration of one of these types. The whole 
theory, of course, is based on a general philosophy of history 
which assumes a close and necessary relation between philosophy 
and art not only in the individual but in a period and in history. 
We are led to a discussion of the assumptions of Geistesge- 

Geistesgeschichte may be used widely as an alternative term for 
intellectual history, for the history of ideas in Lovejoy's sense ; 
and it has the advantage of being a less intellectualized term than 
the English. Geist is a wide term which will include the prob- 
lems described as belonging largely to the history of sentiment. 
Geist has, however, less desirable associations with the whole 
conception of an objective "spirit." But Geistesgeschichte is 
usually understood in Germany in an even more special sense: it 
assumes that each period has its "time spirit" and aims to "recon- 
struct the spirit of a time from the different objectivations of an 
age — from its religion down to its costumes. We look for the 
totality behind the objects and explain all facts by this spirit of 
the time." 28 

It assumes a very tight coherence of all cultural and other 
activities of man, a complete parallelism of the arts and sciences. 
The method goes back to suggestions made by the Schlegels and 
has had its most well-known as well as most extravagant ex- 
ponent in Spengler. But it has also academic practitioners who are 
literary historians by profession and who have used the method 
largely with literary materials. Its practice varies from fairly 
sober dialecticians like Korff (who traces the history of German 
literature between 1750 and 1830 in terms of a dialectical move- 
ment from rationality to irrationality to their Hegelian synthesis) 
to fantastic, quibbling, pseudo-mystical, verbalistic productions 
by Cysarz, Deutschbein, Stefansky, and Meissner. 29 The method 
is largely a method of analogy: negative analogy, in so far as it 
tends to emphasize the differences between a given age and to 

1 1 8 Theory of Literature 

forget the likenesses, and positive analogy, in so far as it tends to 
emphasize the likenesses among the happenings or productions 
of a particular period and to forget the differences. The Ro- 
mantic and the Baroque periods have proved to be particularly 
happy hunting grounds for such exercises of ingenuity. 

A good example is Meissner's Die geisteswissenschajtlichen 
Grundlagen des englischen Liter aturbarocks (1934), which de- 
fines the spirit of the age as a conflict of antithetic tendencies and 
pursues this formula relentlessly through all human activities 
from technology to exploration, from traveling to religion. The 
material is neatly ordered into such categories as expansion and 
concentration, macrocosmos and microcosmos, sin and salvation, 
faith and reason, absolutism and democracy, "atectonics" and 
"tectonics." By such universal analogizing, Meissner arrives at 
the triumphant conclusion that the Baroque age showed conflict, 
contradiction, and tension throughout its manifestations. There 
were active men interested in conquering nature and praising 
war j there were passionate collectors, travelers, adventurers -, 
but there were also contemplative men who sought out solitude 
or founded secret societies. Some people were fascinated by the 
new astronomy, while others, the diarists, analyzed personal 
states of mind or drew the individual features of men like the 
painters of portraits. There were some who believed in the divine 
right of kings and others who believed in an equalitarian de- 
mocracy. Everything exemplifies thus the principle either of con- 
centration or of expansion. If we want concentration in literature, 
we are presented with the plain style of prose promoted by the 
Royal Society after the Restoration. If we want expansion, we 
are shown the long involved sentences of Milton or Sir Thomas 
Browne. Like his fellow workers, Meissner never asks the ob- 
vious but fundamental question whether the same scheme of 
contraries could not be extracted from almost any other age. Nor 
does he raise the question whether we could not impose a com- 
pletely different scheme of contraries on the seventeenth century, 
and even on the basis of the same quotations, drawn from his wide 

Similarly, Korff's large books reduce all and everything to the 
thesis, "rationalism," the antithesis, "irrationalism," and their 
synthesis, "Romanticism." Rationalism quickly assumes in Korff 

Literature and Ideas 1 1 9 

also a formal meaning, "Classicism," and irrationalism the mean- 
ing of the loose Storm and Stress form, while German Romanti- 
cism is pressed into service as the synthesis. There are many 
books in German which work with such contraries: Cassirer's 
much more sober Freiheit und Form, Cysarz's tortuous Erfah- 
rung und Idee. 30 With some German writers these ideological 
types are either closely connected or simply shade off into racial 
types : the German, or at least the Teuton, is the man of feeling, 
while the Latin is the man of reason ; or again the types may be 
basically psychological, like the usual contrast between the dae- 
monic and the rational. Finally, the ideological types are said to 
be interchangeable with stylistic concepts: they merge with 
Classicism and Romanticism, the Baroque and the Gothic, and 
have given rise to an enormous literature in which ethnology, 
psychology, ideology, and art history are presented in an inex- 
tricable mixture and confusion. 

But the whole assumption of a complete integration of a time, 
of a race, of a work of art is open to serious question. The paral- 
lelism of the arts can be accepted only with large reservations. 
The parallelism between philosophy and poetry is even more 
open to doubt. We need only to think of English Romantic 
poetry which flourished during a time when English and Scot- 
tish philosophy were completely dominated by common sense 
philosophy and utilitarianism. Even at times when philosophy 
seems to be in close contact with literature, the actual integration 
is far less certain than it is assumed by German Geistesgeschichte. 
The German Romantic movement is studied mostly in the light 
of the philosophy developed by men like Fichte or Schelling, 
professional philosophers, and by writers like Friedrich Schlegel 
and Novalis, borderline cases whose actual artistic productions 
were neither of central importance nor artistically very success- 
ful. The greatest poets or dramatists or novelists of the German 
Romantic movement had frequently only tenuous relationships 
with contemporary philosophy (as was the case with E. T. A. 
Hoffmann and Eichendorff, a traditional Catholic) or evolved 
a philosophical point of view inimical to the Romantic philos- 
ophers far excellence, as did Jean Paul Richter, who attacked 
Fichte, or Kleist, who felt crushed by Kant. The strong integra- 
tion between philosophy and literature, even during the German 

120 Theory of Literature 

Romantic movement, can be achieved only by arguing from frag- 
ments and theoretical disquisitions of Novalis and Friedrich 
Schlegel, avowedly Fichte's disciples, whose speculations, fre- 
quently unpublished in their time, had little to do with the pro- 
duction of concrete works of literature. The genuine artistic 
achievements of Novalis (such as some poems) are scarcely re- 
lated to the Fragmente. 

The close integration between philosophy and literature is fre- 
quently deceptive, and arguments in its favor are overrated be- 
cause they are based on a study of literary ideology, professions 
of intentions, and programs which, necessarily borrowing from 
existing aesthetic formulations, may sustain only remote rela- 
tionship to the actual practice of the artists. This skepticism about 
the close integration of philosophy and literature does not, of 
course, deny the existence of many relationships and even the 
likelihood of a certain parallelism reinforced by the common 
social background of a time, and hence by common influences 
exerted on literature and philosophy. But, even here, the as- 
sumption of a common social background may really be decep- 
tive. Philosophy has frequently been cultivated by a special class 
which may be very different from the practitioners of poetry, 
both in social affiliations and provenience. Philosophy, much 
more than literature, has been identified with the Church and 
the Academy. It has, like all the other activities of mankind, its 
own history, its own dialectics: its factions and movements are 
not, it seems to us, so closely related to literary movements as it 
is assumed by many practitioners of Geistesgeschkhte. 

The explanation of literary change in terms of a "time spirit" 
seems positively vicious when this spirit becomes a mythical in- 
tegral and absolute, instead of being, at the most, a pointer to a 
difficult and obscure problem. German Geistesgeschkhte has 
usually merely succeeded in transferring criteria from one series 
(either one of the arts or philosophy) to the whole of cultural 
activity and has then characterized the time and in it every indi- 
vidual work of literature in terms of such vague contraries as 
Classicism and Romanticism or Rationalism and Irrationalism. 
The conception of the "time spirit" has also frequently disastrous 
consequences for a conception of the continuity of Western 
civilization: the individual ages are conceived as far too sharply 

Literature and Ideas 1 2 1 

distinct and discontinuous, and the revolutions which they show 
are conceived of as so radical that the Geisteswissenschaftler 
ends not only in complete historical relativism (one age is as 
good as another) but also in a false conception of individuality 
and originality which obscures the basic constants in human na- 
ture, civilization, and the arts. In Spengler we arrive at the idea 
of closed cultural cycles developing with fatal necessity: self- 
enclosed, though mysteriously parallel. Antiquity does not con- 
tinue into the Middle Ages, the continuity of Western literary 
evolution is completely obscured, denied, or forgotten. 

These fantastic card palaces should not, of course, obscure the 
real problem of a general history of mankind or, at least, of 
Western civilization. We are only convinced that the solutions 
offered by the usual Geistesgeschichte, with its excessive reliance 
on contraries and analogies, its uncritical presupposition of the 
seesaw alterations of styles and Denkformen, and its belief in a 
complete integration of all activities of man, have been premature 
and, frequently, immature. 

Instead of speculating on such large-scale problems of the 
philosophy of history and the ultimate integral of civilization, 
the literary student should turn his attention to the concrete 
problem not yet solved or even adequately discussed : the question 
of how ideas actually enter into literature. It is obviously not a 
question of ideas in a work of literature as long as these ideas 
remain mere raw material, mere information. The question 
arises only when and if these ideas are actually incorporated into 
the very texture of the work of art, when they become "constitu- 
tive," in short, when they cease to be ideas in the ordinary sense 
of concepts and become symbols, or even myths. There is the 
large province of didactic poetry in which ideas are merely 
stated, are provided with meter or with some embellishments of 
metaphor or allegory. There is the novel of ideas such as George 
Sand's or George Eliot's where we get discussions of "problems," 
social, moral, or philosophical. On a higher level of integration 
there is a novel like Melville's Moby Dick where the whole ac- 
tion conveys some mythic meaning, or a poem like Bridges' 
Testament of Beauty which in intention at least is pervaded by 
a single philosophical metaphor. And there is Dostoevsky, in 
whose novels the drama of ideas is acted out in concrete terms of 

122 Theory of Literature 

characters and events. In the Brothers Karamazov, the four 
brothers are but carriers, symbols who represent an ideological 
debate which is, at the same time, a personal drama. The ideo- 
logical conclusion is integral to the personal catastrophes of the 
main figures. 

But are these philosophical novels and poems, such as Goethe's 
Faust or Dostoevsky's Brothers , superior works of art because of 
their philosophical import? Must not we rather conclude that 
"philosophical truth" as such has no artistic value just as we 
argued that psychological or social truth has no artistic value as 
such? Philosophy, ideological content, in it proper context, seems 
to enhance artistic value because it corroborates several important 
artistic values: those of complexity and coherence. A theoretical 
insight may increase the artist's depth of penetration and scope 
of reach. But it need not be so. The artist will be hampered by 
too much ideology if it remains unassimilated. Croce has argued 
that the Divine Comedy consists of passages of poetry alternat- 
ing with passages of rhymed theology and pseudo-science. 31 The 
second part of Faust indubitably suffers from overintellec- 
tualization, is constantly on the verge of overt allegory j and in 
Dostoevsky we frequently feel the discrepancy between the ar- 
tistic success and the weight of thought. Zossima, Dostoevsky's 
spokesman, is a less vividly realized character than Ivan Karama- 
zov. On a lower level, Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain il- 
lustrates the same contradiction: the early parts, with their evo- 
cation of the sanatorium world, are artistically superior to the 
later parts of large philosophical pretensions. Sometimes, in the 
history of literature, however, there are cases, confessedly rare, 
when ideas incandesce, when figures and scenes not merely rep- 
resent but actually embody ideas, when some identification of 
philosophy and art seems to take place. Image becomes concept 
and concept image. But are these necessarily the summits of art, 
as many philosophically inclined critics assume them to be? 
Croce seems right arguing, in a discussion of the second part of 
Faust, that "when poetry becomes superior in this manner, that 
is to say, superior to itself, it loses rank as poetry, and should be 
termed rather inferior, namely wanting in poetry." 32 At least, it 
should be granted that philosophical poetry, however integrated, 
is only one kind of poetry, and that its position is not necessarily 

Literature and Ideas 123 

central in literature unless one holds to a theory of poetry which 
is revelatory, essentially mystical. Poetry is not substitute-phi- 
losophy j it has its own justification and aim. Poetry of ideas is 
like other poetry, not to be judged by the value of the material 
but by its degree of integration and artistic intensity. 


Literature and the Other Arts 

The relationships of literature with the fine arts and music 
are highly various and complex. Sometimes poetry has drawn 
inspiration from paintings or sculpture or music. Like natural 
objects and persons, other works of art may become the themes 
of poetry. That poets have described pieces of sculpture, painting, 
or even music presents no particular theoretical problem. Spen- 
ser, it has been suggested, drew some of his descriptions from 
tapestries and pageants 5 the paintings of Claude Lorrain and 
Salvatore Rosa influenced eighteenth-century landscape poetry j 
Keats derived details of his "Ode on a Grecian Urn" from a spe- 
cific picture of Claude Lorrain. 1 Stephen A. Larrabee has con- 
sidered all the allusions and treatments of Greek sculpture to be 
found in English poetry. 2 Albert Thibaudet has shown that 
Mallarme's "L'Apres-midi d'un faune" was inspired by a paint- 
ing of Boucher in the London National Gallery. 3 Poets, espe- 
cially nineteenth-century poets like Hugo, Gautier, the Parnas- 
siens, and Tieck, have written poems on definite pictures. Poets, 
of course, have had their theories about painting and their pref- 
erences among painters, which can be studied and more or less 
related to their theories about literature and their literary tastes. 
Here is a wide area for investigation, only partially traversed in 
recent decades. 4 

In its turn, obviously, literature can become the theme of 

painting or of music, especially vocal and program music, just 

as literature, especially the lyric and the drama, has intimately 

collaborated with music. In an increasing number, there are 

studies of medieval carols or Elizabethan lyrical poetry which 

stress the close association of the musical setting. 5 In art history 

there has appeared a whole group of scholars (Erwin Panofsky, 

Fritz Saxl, and others) who study the conceptual and symbolic 


Literature and the Other Arts 125 

meanings of works of art ("Iconology") and frequently also 
their literary relations and inspirations. 

Beyond these obvious questions of sources and influences, in- 
spiration, and co-operation, there arises a more important prob- 
lem: literature has sometimes definitely attempted to achieve 
the effects of painting — to become word painting, or has tried to 
achieve the effects of music — to turn into music. At times, poetry 
has even wanted to be sculpturesque. A critic may, as did Lessing 
in his Laokoon and Irving Babbitt in his New Laokodn y deplore 
this confusion of genres ; but one cannot deny that the arts have 
tried to borrow effects from each other and that they have been, 
in considerable measure, successful in achieving these effects. 
One can, of course, deny the possibility of the literal metamor- 
phosis of poetry into sculpture, painting, or music. The term 
"sculpturesque," applied to poetry, even to that of Landor or 
Gautier or Heredia, is merely a vague metaphor, meaning that 
the poetry conveys an impression somehow similar to the effects 
of Greek sculpture : coolness, induced by white marble or plaster 
casts, stillness, repose, sharp outlines, clarity. But we must recog- 
nize that coolness in poetry is something very different from the 
tactual sensation of marble, or the imaginative reconstruction of 
that perception from whiteness ; that stillness in poetry is some- 
thing very different from stillness in sculpture. When Collins' 
"Ode to Evening" is called a "sculptured poem" nothing is said 
that implies any real relationship with sculpture. 7 The only 
analyzable objectivities are the slow, solemn meter and the dic- 
tion, which is strange enough to compel attention to individual 
words and hence to enforce a slow pace in reading. 

But one can hardly deny the success of the Horatian formula 
ut fictura foesis. 5 Though the amount of visualization in the 
reading of poetry is likely to be overrated, there were ages and 
there were poets who did make the reader visualize. Lessing may 
have been right in criticizing the enumerative description of fe- 
male beauty in Ariosto as visually ineffective (though not neces- 
sarily poetically ineffective), but the eighteenth-century addicts 
of the picturesque cannot be easily dismissed ; and modern litera- 
ture from Chateaubriand to Proust has given us many descrip- 
tions at least suggesting the effects of painting and inciting us to 
visualize scenes in terms frequently evocative of contemporary 

126 Theory of Literature 

paintings. Though it may be doubted whether the poet can really 
suggest the effects of painting to hypothetical readers totally ig- 
norant of painting, it is clear that, within our general cultural 
tradition, writers did suggest the emblem, the landscape painting 
of the eighteenth century, the impressionistic effects of a Whistler 
and the like. 

Whether poetry can achieve the effects of music seems more 
doubtful, though it is a widely held view that it can. "Musical- 
ity" in verse, closely analyzed, turns out to be something entirely 
different from "melody" in music: it means an arrangement of 
phonetic patterns, an avoidance of accumulations of consonants, 
or simply the presence of certain rhythmical effects. With such 
romantic poets as Tieck and, later, Verlaine, the attempts to 
achieve musical effects are largely attempts to suppress the 
meaning structure of verse, to avoid logical constructions, to 
stress connotations rather than denotations. Yet blurred outlines, 
vagueness of meaning, and illogicality are not, in a literal sense, 
"musical" at all. Literary imitations of musical structures like 
leitmotiv, the sonata or symphonic form seem to be more con- 
crete ; but it is hard to see why repetitive motifs or a certain con- 
trasting and balancing of moods, though by avowed intention 
imitative of musical composition, are not essentially the familiar 
literary devices of recurrence, contrast, and the like which are 
common to all the arts. 9 In the comparatively rare instances 
where poetry suggests definite musical sounds, Verlaine's "Les 
sanglonts longs des violons" or Poe's "Bells," the effect of the 
timbre of an instrument or the very generalized clang of bells is 
achieved by means which are not much beyond ordinary onomat- 

Poems have been, of course, written with the intention that 
music should be added, e.g., many Elizabethan airs and all 
librettos for opera. In rare instances, poets and composers have 
been one and the same 5 but it seems hard to prove that the com- 
position of music and words was ever a simultaneous process. 
Even Wagner sometimes wrote his "dramas" years before they 
were set to music ; and, no doubt, many lyrics were composed to 
fit ready melodies. But the relation between music and really 
great poetry seems rather tenuous when we think of the evidence 
afforded by even the most successful settings into musical terms. 

Literature and the Other Arts 127 

Poems of close-knit, highly integrated structure do not lend 
themselves to musical setting, while mediocre or poor poetry, 
like much of the early Heine or Wilhelm Miiller, has provided 
the text for the finest songs of Schubert and Schumann. If the 
poetry is of high literary value, the setting frequently distorts or 
obscures its patterns completely, even when the music has value 
in its own right. One need not cite such examples as the lot of 
Shakespeare's Othello in Verdi's opera, for nearly all the settings 
of the Psalms or of the poems of Goethe offer adequate proof 
of the contention. Collaboration between poetry and music ex- 
ists, to be sure j but the highest poetry does not tend towards 
music, and the greatest music stands in no need of words. 

The parallels between the fine arts and literature usually 
amount to the assertion that this picture and that poem induce 
the same mood in me : for example, that I feel light-hearted and 
gay in hearing a minuet of Mozart, seeing a landscape by Wat- 
teau, and reading an Anacreontic poem. But this is the kind of 
parallelism which is of little worth for purposes of precise 
analysis: joy induced by a piece of music is not joy in general or 
even joy of a particular shade, but is an emotion closely follow- 
ing and thus tied to the pattern of the music. We experience 
emotions which have only a general tone in common with those 
of real life, and even if we define these emotions as closely as 
we can, we are still quite removed from the specific object which 
induced them. Parallels between the arts which remain inside 
the individual reactions of a reader or spectator and are content 
with describing some emotional similarity of our reactions to two 
arts will, therefore, never lend themselves to verification and 
thus to a co-operative advance in our knowledge. 

Another common approach is the intentions and theories of 
the artists. No doubt, we can show that there are some similar- 
ities in the theories and formulas behind the different arts, in the 
Neo-Classical or the Romantic movements, and we can find 
also professions of intentions of the individual artists in the dif- 
ferent arts which sound identical or similar. But "Classicism" in 
music must mean something very different from its use in liter- 
ature for the simple reason that no real classical music (with the 
exception of a few fragments) was known and could thus shape 
the evolution of music as literature was actually shaped by the 

128 Theory of Literature 

precepts and practice of antiquity. Likewise painting, before the 
excavation of the frescoes in Pompeii and Herculaneum, can 
scarcely be described as influenced by classical painting in spite of 
the frequent reference to classical theories and Greek painters 
like Apelles and some remote pictorial traditions which must 
have descended from antiquity through the Middle Ages. Sculp- 
ture and architecture, however, were to an extent far exceeding 
the other arts, including literature, determined by classical mod- 
els and their derivatives. Thus theories and conscious intentions 
mean something very different in the various arts and say little 
or nothing about the concrete results of an artist's activity: his 
work and its specific content and form. 

How indecisive for specific exegesis the approach through the 
author's intention may be, can best be observed in the rare cases 
when artist and poet are identical. For example, a comparison of 
the poetry and the paintings of Blake, or of Rossetti, will show 
that the character — not merely the technical quality — of their 
painting and poetry is very different, even divergent. A gro- 
tesque little animal is supposed to illustrate "Tiger! Tiger! 
Burning bright." W. M. Thackeray illustrated Vanity Fair, but 
his smirky caricature of Becky Sharp has hardly anything to do 
with the complex character in the novel. In structure and quality 
there is little comparison between Michelangelo's Sonnets and 
his sculpture and paintings, though we can find the same Neo- 
Platonic ideas in all and may discover some psychological simi- 
larities. 10 This shows that the "medium" of a work of art (an un- 
fortunate question-begging term) is not merely a technical ob- 
stacle to be overcome by the artist in order to express his per- 
sonality, but a factor preformed by tradition and having a pow- 
erful determining character which shapes and modifies the ap- 
proach and expression of the individual artist. The artist does 
not conceive in general mental terms but in terms of concrete 
material ; and the concrete medium has its own history, fre- 
quently very different from that of any other medium. 

More valuable than the approach through the artist's inten- 
tions and theories is a comparison of the arts on the basis of their 
common social and cultural background. Certainly it is possible 
to describe the common temporal, local, or social nourishing soil 
of the arts and literature and thus to point to common influences 

Literature and the Other Arts 129 

working on them. Many parallels between the arts are possible 
only because they ignore the utterly different social background 
to which the individual work of art appealed or from which it 
seems to be derived. The social classes either creating or de- 
manding a certain type of art may be quite different at any one 
time or place. Certainly the Gothic cathedrals have a different 
social background from the French epic; and sculpture fre- 
quently appeals to and is paid for by a very different audience 
from the novel. Just as fallacious as the assumption of a common 
social background of the arts at a given time and place is the 
usual assumption that the intellectual background is necessarily 
identical and effective in all the arts. It seems hazardous to in- 
terpret painting in the light of contemporary philosophy: to 
mention only one example, Karoly Tolnai X1 has attempted to 
interpret the pictures of the elder Brueghel in evidence of a 
pantheistic monism paralleling Cusanus or Paracelsus and an- 
ticipating Spinoza and Goethe. Even more dangerous is an "ex- 
planation" of the arts in terms of a "time spirit," as practiced by 
German G eistes geschichte y a movement which we have criticized 
in a different context. 12 

The genuine parallelisms which follow from the identical or 
similar social or intellectual background scarcely ever have been 
analyzed in concrete terms. We have no studies which would 
concretely show how, for example, all the arts in a given time 
or setting expand or narrow their field over the objects of 
"nature," or how the norms of art are tied to specific social 
classes and thus subject to uniform changes, or how aesthetic 
values change with social revolutions. Here is a wide field for 
investigation which has been scarcely touched, yet promises con- 
crete results for the comparison of the arts. Of course, only 
similar influences on the evolution of the different arts can be 
proved by this method, not any necessary parallelism. 

Obviously, the most central approach to a comparison of the 
arts is based on an analysis of the actual objects of art, and thus 
of their structural relationships. There will never be a proper 
history of an art, not to speak of a comparative history of the 
arts, unless we concentrate on an analysis of the works them- 
selves and relegate to the background studies in the psychology 
of the reader and the spectator or the author and the artist as 

130 Theory of Literature 

well as studies in the cultural and social background, however 
illuminating they may be from their own point of view. Unfor- 
tunately hitherto we have had scarcely any tools for such a com- 
parison between the arts. Here a very difficult question arises: 
What are the common and the comparable elements of the arts? 
We see no light in a theory like Croce's, which concentrates all 
aesthetic problems on the act of intuition, mysteriously identi- 
fied with expression. Croce asserts the non-existence of modes of 
expression and condemns "any attempt at an aesthetic classifica- 
tion of the arts as absurd" and thus a fortiori rejects all distinc- 
tion between genres or types. 13 Nor is much gained for our 
problem by John Dewey's insistence, in his Art as Experience 
(1934), that there is a common substance among the arts be- 
cause there are "general conditions without which an experience 
is not possible." 14 No doubt, there is a common denominator in 
the act of all artistic creation or, for that matter, in all human 
creation, activity, and experience. But these are solutions which 
do not help us in comparing the arts. More concretely, Theodore 
Meyer Greene defines the comparable elements of the arts as 
complexity, integration, and rhythm, and he argues eloquently, 
as John Dewey had done before him, for the applicability of the 
term "rhythm" to the plastic arts. 15 It seems, however, impos- 
sible to overcome the profound distinction between the rhythm 
of a piece of music and the rhythm of a colonnade, where neither 
the order nor the tempo is imposed by the structure of the work 
itself. Complexity and integration are merely other terms for 
"variety" and "unity" and thus of only very limited use. Few 
concrete attempts to arrive at such common denominators among 
the arts on a structural basis have gone any further. G. D. 
BirkhofF, a Harvard mathematician, in a book on Aesthetic 
Measure, 16 has with apparent success tried to find a common 
mathematical basis for simple art forms and music and he has 
included a study of the "musicality" of verse which is also de- 
fined in mathematical equations and coefficients. But the problem 
of euphony in verse cannot be solved in isolation from meaning, 
and BirkhofPs high grades for poems by Edgar Allan Poe 
seem to confirm such an assumption. His ingenious attempt, if 
accepted, would tend rather to widen the gulf between the essen- 
tially "literary" qualities of poetry and the other arts which 

Literature and the Other Arts 1 3 1 

share much more fully in "aesthetic measure" than literature. 

The problem of the parallelism of the arts early suggested 
the application to literature of style-concepts arrived at in the 
history of the arts. In the eighteenth century, innumerable com- 
parisons were made between the structure of Spenser's Faerie 
Queene and the glorious disorder of a Gothic cathedral. 17 In 
The Decline of the West, analogizing all the arts of a culture, 
Spengler speaks of the "visible chamber music of the bent fur- 
niture, the mirror rooms, pastorals and porcelain groups of the 
eighteenth century," mentions the "Titian style of the mad- 
rigal," and refers to the "allegro feroce of Franz Hals and the 
andante con moto of Van Dyck." 18 In Germany this mode of 
analogizing the arts has incited copious writing on the Gothic 
man and the spirit of the Baroque, has led to the literary use 
of the terms "Rococo" and "Biedermeier." In the periodization 
of literature, the clearly worked-out sequence of art styles of 
Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Romanticism, Bieder- 
meier, Realism, Impressionism, Expressionism has impressed 
literary historians and has imposed itself also on literature. The 
styles named are grouped into two main groups, presenting fun- 
damentally the contrast between the Classical and the Romantic : 
Gothic, the Baroque, Romanticism, Expressionism appear on 
one line 5 the Renaissance, Neo-Classicism, Realism on the other. 
Rococo, Biedermeier, can be interpreted as late decadent, florid 
variations of the preceding styles — respectively Baroque and 
Romanticism. Frequently the parallelisms are pressed very 
hard j and it is easy to pick out absurdities from the writings of 
even the most reputable scholars who have indulged in the 
method. 19 

The most concrete attempt to transfer the categories of art 
history to literature is Oskar Walzel's application of Wolfflin's 
criteria. In his Principles of Art History, 20 Wolmin distin- 
guished, on purely structural grounds, between Renaissance and 
Baroque art. He constructed a scheme of contraries applicable to 
any kind of picture, piece of sculpture, or specimen of architec- 
ture in the period. Renaissance art, he held, is "linear," while 
Baroque art is "painterly." "Linear" suggests that the outlines 
of figures and objects are drawn clearly, while "painterly" means 
that light and color, which blur the outlines of objects, are them- 

132 Theory of Literature 

selves the principles of composition. Renaissance painting and 
sculpture use a "closed" form, a symmetrical, balanced group- 
ing of figures or surfaces, while Baroque prefers an "open" form, 
an unsymmetrical composition which puts emphasis on a corner 
of a picture rather than its center, or even points beyond the 
frame of the picture. Renaissance pictures are "flat" or, at least, 
composed on different recessive planes, while Baroque pictures 
are "deep" or seem to lead the eye into a distant and indistinct 
background. Renaissance pictures are "multiple" in the sense of 
having clearly distinct parts; Baroque works are "unified," 
highly integrated, closely knit. Renaissance works of art are 
"clear," while Baroque works are relatively "unclear," blurred, 

Wolfflin demonstrated his conclusions by an admirably sensi- 
tive analysis of concrete works of art and suggested the neces- 
sity of the progression from the Renaissance to the Baroque. 
Certainly their sequence cannot be inverted. Wolfflin offers no 
causal explanation of the process, except that he suggests a 
change in the "manner of seeing," a process which, however, 
hardly can be thought of as purely physiological. This view, 
with its stress on changes in the "manner of seeing," on the 
purely structural, compositional changes, goes back to the theo- 
ries of Fiedler and Hildebrand concerning pure visibility, and 
is ultimately derived from Zimmermann, an Herbartian aesthe- 
tician. 21 But Wolfflin himself, especially in later pronounce- 
ments, 22 recognized the limitations of his method and by no 
means thought that his history of forms had exhausted all the 
problems of art history. Even early he admitted "personal" and 
"local" styles and saw that his types could be found elsewhere 
than in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, though in a less 
clearly defined form. 

In 19 1 6, fresh from the reading of the Principles of Art His- 
tory, Walzel attempted to transfer Wolfflin's categories to lit- 
erature. 23 Studying the composition of Shakespeare's plays, he 
came to the conclusion that Shakespeare belongs to the Baroque, 
since his plays are not built in the symmetrical manner found by 
Wolfflin in pictures of the Renaissance. The number of minor 
characters, their unsymmetrical grouping, the varying emphasis 
on different acts of the play: all these characteristics are supposed 

Literature and the Other Arts 133 

to show that Shakespeare's technique is the same as that of 
Baroque art, while Corneille and Racine, who composed their 
tragedies around one central figure and distributed the emphasis 
among the acts according to a traditional Aristotelian pattern, 
are assigned to the Renaissance type. In a little book, Wechsel- 
seitige Erhellung der Kiinste, and in many later writings, 24 
Walzel tried to elaborate and justify this transfer, at first rather 
modestly and then with increasingly extravagant claims. 

Some of Wolfflin's categories can clearly and rather easily be 
reformulated in literary terms. There is an obvious opposition 
between an art which prefers clear outlines and distinct parts 
and an art with looser composition and blurred outlines. Fritz 
Strich's attempt to describe the opposition between German 
Classicism and Romanticism by applying Wolfflin's categories 
devised for the Renaissance and Baroque shows that these cate- 
gories, liberally interpreted, can restate the old oppositions be- 
tween the perfect Classical poem and the unfinished, frag- 
mentary, or blurred Romantic poetry. 25 But we are then left with 
only one set of contraries for all the history of literature. Even 
reformulated in strictly literary terms, Wolfflin's categories help 
us merely to arrange works of art into two categories which, 
when examined in detail, amount only to the old distinction be- 
tween classic and romantic, severe and loose structure, plastic 
and picturesque art : a dualism which was known to the Schlegels 
and to Schelling and Coleridge and was arrived at by them 
through ideological and literary arguments. Wolfflin's one set of 
contraries manages to group all Classical and pseudo-Classical 
art together, on the one hand, and on the other to combine 
very divergent movements such as the Gothic, the Baroque, and 
Romanticism. This theory appears to obscure the undoubted and 
extremely important continuity between the Renaissance and 
Baroque, just as its application to German literature by Strich 
makes an artificial contrast between the pseudo-Classical stage in 
the development of Schiller and Goethe and the Romantic 
movement of the early nineteenth century, while it must leave 
the "Storm and Stress" unexplained and incomprehensible. Ac- 
tually, German literature at the turn of the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries forms a comparative unity which it seems 
absurd to break up into an irreconcilable antithesis. Thus, 

134 Theory of Literature 

Wolfflin's theory may help us in classifying works of art and 
establishing or rather confirming the old action-reaction, con- 
vention-revolt, or seesaw type of dualistic evolutionary scheme, 
which, however, confronted with the reality of the complex 
process of literature, falls far short of coping with the highly 
diversified pattern of the actual development. 

The transfer of Wolfflin's pairs of concepts also leaves one 
important problem completely unsolved. We cannot explain in 
any way the undoubted fact that the arts did not evolve with 
the same speed at the same time. Literature seems sometimes to 
linger behind the arts: for instance, we can scarcely speak of an 
English literature when the great English cathedrals were being 
built. At other times music lags behind literature and the other 
arts: for instance, we cannot speak of "Romantic" music before 
1800, while much Romantic poetry preceded that date. We have 
difficulty in accounting for the fact that there was "picturesque" 
poetry at least sixty years before the picturesque invaded archi- 
tecture 26 or for the fact, mentioned by Burckhardt, 27 that 
Nencia, the description of peasant life by Lorenzo Magnifico, 
preceded by some eighty years the first genre pictures of Jacopo 
Bassano and his school. Even if these few examples were 
wrongly chosen and could be refuted, they raise a question which 
cannot be answered by an over-simple theory according to which, 
let us say, music is always lagging by a generation after poetry. 28 
Obviously a correlation with social factors should be attempted, 
and these factors will vary in every single instance. 

We are finally confronted with the problem that certain times 
or nations were extremely productive only in one or two arts, 
while either completely barren or merely imitative and derivative 
in others. The flowering of Elizabethan literature, which was not 
accompanied by any comparable flowering of the fine arts, is a 
case in point ; and little is gained by speculations to the effect that 
the "national soul," in some way, concentrated on one art or that, 
as Emile Legouis phrases it in his History of English Literature, 
"Spenser would have become a Titian or Veronese had he been 
born in Italy or a Rubens or Rembrandt in the Netherlands." 29 
In the case of English literature it is easy to suggest that Puri- 
tanism was responsible for the neglect of the fine arts, but that is 
scarcely enough to account for the differences between the pro- 

Literature and the Other Arts 135 

ductivity in very secular literature and the comparative barren- 
ness in painting. But all this leads us far afield into concrete his- 
torical questions. 

The various arts — the plastic arts, literature, and music — have 
each their individual evolution, with a different tempo and a dif- 
ferent internal structure of elements. No doubt they are in con- 
stant relationship with each other, but these relationships are not 
influences which start from one point and determine the evolu- 
tion of the other arts ; they have to be conceived rather as a com- 
plex scheme of dialectical relationships which work both ways, 
from one art to another and vice versa, and may be completely 
transformed within the art which they have entered. It is not a 
simple affair of a "time spirit" determining and permeating each 
and every art. We must conceive of the sum total of man's cul- 
tural activities as of a whole system of self-evolving series, each 
having its own set of norms which are not necessarily identical 
with those of the neighboring series. The task of art historians in 
the widest sense, including historians of literature and of music, 
is to evolve a descriptive set of terms in each art, based on the 
specific characteristics of each art. Thus poetry today needs a new 
poetics, a technique of analysis which cannot be arrived at by a 
simple transfer or adaptation of terms from the fine arts. Only 
when we have evolved a successful system of terms for the anal- 
ysis of literary works of art can we delimit literary periods, not 
as metaphysical entities dominated by a "time spirit." Having 
established such outlines of strictly literary evolution, we then 
can ask the question whether this evolution is, in some way, 
similar to the similarly established evolution of the other arts. 
The answer will be, as we can see, not a flat "yes" or "no." It 
will take the form of an intricate pattern of coincidences and di- 
vergences rather than parallel lines. 


The Intrinsic Study of Literature 


The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 

The natural and sensible starting point for work in literary 
scholarship is the interpretation and analysis of the works of 
literature themselves. After all, only the works themselves 
justify all our interest in the life of an author, in his social en- 
vironment and the whole process of literature. But, curiously 
enough, literary history has been so preoccupied with the setting 
of a work of literature that its attempts at an analysis of the works 
themselves have been slight in comparison with the enormous 
efforts expended on the study of environment. Some reasons for 
this overemphasis on the conditioning circumstances rather than 
on the works themselves are not far to seek. Modern literary 
history arose in close connection with the Romantic movement, 
which could subvert the critical system of Neo-Classicism only 
with the relativist argument that different times required dif- 
ferent standards. Thus the emphasis shifted from the literature 
itself to its historical background, which was used to justify the 
new values ascribed to old literature. In the nineteenth century, 
explanation by causes became the great watchword, largely in an 
endeavor to emulate the methods of the natural sciences. Besides, 
the breakdown of the old "poetics," which occurred with the 
shift of interest to the individual "taste" of the reader, 
strengthened the conviction that art, being fundamentally irra- 
tional, should be left to "appreciation." Sir Sidney Lee, in his 
inaugural lecture, merely summed up the theory of most 
academic literary scholarship when he said: "In literary history 
we seek the external circumstances — political, social, economic — 
in which literature is produced." x The result of a lack of clarity 
on questions of poetics has been the astonishing helplessness of 
most scholars when confronted with the task of actually ana- 
lyzing and evaluating a work of art. 

In recent years a healthy reaction has taken place which recog- 


140 Theory of Literature 

nizes that the study of literature should, first and foremost, con- 
centrate on the actual works of art themselves. The old methods 
of classical rhetoric, poetics, or metrics are and must be reviewed 
and restated in modern terms. New methods based on a survey 
of the wider range of forms in modern literature are being intro- 
duced. In France the method of explication de textes, 2 in Ger- 
many the formal analyses based on parallels with the history of 
fine arts, cultivated by Oskar Walzel, 3 and especially the brilliant 
movement of the Russian formalists and their Czech and Polish 
followers 4 have brought new stimuli to the study of the literary 
work, which we are only beginning to see properly and to analyze 
adequately. In England some of the followers of I. A. Richards 
have paid close attention to the text of poetry 5 and also in this 
country a group of critics have made a study of the work of art 
the center of their interest. 6 Several studies of the drama 7 which 
stress its difference from life and combat the confusion between 
dramatic and empirical reality point in the same direction. Simi- 
larly, many studies of the novel 8 are not content to consider it 
merely in terms of its relations to the social structure but try to 
analyze its artistic methods — its points of view, its narrative tech- 

The Russian Formalists most vigorously objected to the old 
dichotomy of "content versus form," which cuts a work of art 
into two halves: a crude content and a superimposed, purely ex- 
ternal form. 9 Clearly, the aesthetic effect of a work of art does 
not reside in what is commonly called its content. There are few 
works of art which are not ridiculous or meaningless in synopsis 
(which can be justified only as a pedagogical device). 10 But a 
distinction between form as the factor aesthetically active and a 
content aesthetically indifferent meets with insuperable diffi- 
culties. At first sight the boundary line may seem fairly definite. 
If we understand by content the ideas and emotions conveyed in 
a work of literature, the form would include all linguistic ele- 
ments by which contents are expressed. But if we examine this 
distinction more closely, we see that content implies some ele- 
ments of form: e.g., the events told in a novel are parts of the 
content, while the way in which they are arranged into a "plot" 
is part of the form. Dissociated from this way of arrangement 
they have no artistic effect whatsoever. The common remedy pro- 

The Analysts of the Literary Work of Art 141 

posed and widely used by Germans, i.e., the introduction of the 
term "inner form," which originally dates back to Plotinus and 
Shaftesbury, is merely complicating matters, as the boundary 
line between inner and outer form remains completely obscure. 
It must simply be admitted that the manner in which events are 
arranged in a plot is part of the form. Things become even more 
disastrous for the traditional concepts when we realize that even 
in the language, commonly considered part of the form, it is 
necessary to distinguish between words in themselves, aestheti- 
cally indifferent, and the manner in which individual words 
make up units of sound and meaning, aesthetically effective. It 
would be better to rechristen all the aesthetically indifferent 
elements "materials," while the manner in which they acquire 
aesthetic efficacy may be styled "structure." This distinction is by 
no means a simple renaming of the old pair, content and form. 
It cuts right across the old boundary lines. "Materials" include 
elements formerly considered part of the content, and parts for- 
merly considered formal. "Structure" is a concept including both 
content and form so far as they are organized for aesthetic pur- 
poses. The work of art is, then, considered as a whole system of 
signs, or structure of signs, serving a specific aesthetic purpose. 

How, more concretely, can we envisage an analysis of this 
structure? What is meant by this totality, and how can it be 
analyzed? What is meant by saying that an analysis is wrong or 
mistaken? This raises an extremely difficult epistemological ques- 
tion, that of the "mode of existence" or the "ontological situs" 
of a literary work of art (which, for brevity's sake, we shall call 
a "poem" in what follows). 11 What is the "real" poem; where 
should we look for it; how does it exist? A correct answer to 
these questions must solve several critical problems and open a 
way to the proper analysis of a work of literature. 

To the question what and where is a poem, or rather a literary 
work of art in general, several traditional answers have been 
given which must be criticized and eliminated before we can at- 
tempt an answer of our own. One of the most common and oldest 
answers is the view that a poem is an "artifact," an object of the 
same nature as a piece of sculpture or a painting. Thus the work 
of art is considered identical with the black lines of ink on white 
paper or parchment or, if we think of a Babylonian poem, with 

142 Theory of Literature 

the grooves in the brick. Obviously this answer is quite unsatis- 
factory. There is, first of all, the huge oral "literature." There 
are poems or stories which have never been fixed in writing and 
still continue to exist. Thus the lines in black ink are merely a 
method of recording a poem which must be conceived as existing 
elsewhere. If we destroy the writing or even all copies of a 
printed book we still may not destroy the poem, as it might be 
preserved in oral tradition or in the memory of a man like 
Macaulay, who boasted of knowing Paradise Lost and Pilgrim's 
Progress by heart. On the other hand, if we destroy a painting 
or a piece of sculpture or a building, we destroy it completely, 
though we may preserve descriptions or records in another me- 
dium and might even try to reconstruct what has been lost. But 
we shall always create a different work of art (however similar), 
while the mere destruction of the copy of a book or even of all 
its copies may not touch the work of art at all. 

That the writing on the paper is not the "real" poem can be 
demonstrated also by another argument. The printed page con- 
tains a great many elements which are extraneous to the poem: 
the size of the type, the sort of type used (roman, italic), the 
size of the page, and many other factors. If we should take seri- 
ously the view that a poem is an artifact, we would have to come 
to the conclusion that every single copy is a different work of art. 
There would be no a friori reason why copies in different edi- 
tions should be copies of the same book. Besides, not every print- 
ing is considered by us, the readers, a correct printing of a poem. 
The very fact that we are able to correct printer's errors in a text 
which we might not have read before or, in some rare cases, 
restore the genuine meaning of the text shows that we do not 
consider the printed lines as the genuine poem. Thus we have 
shown that the poem (or any literary work of art) can exist out- 
side its printed version and that the printed artifact contains 
many elements which we all must consider as not included in the 
genuine poem. 

Still, this negative conclusion should not blind us to the 
enormous practical importance, since the invention of writing and 
printing, of our methods of recording poetry. There is no doubt 
that much literature has been lost and thus completely destroyed 
because its written records have disappeared and the theoretically 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 143 

possible means of oral tradition have failed or have been inter- 
rupted. Writing and especially printing have made possible the 
continuity of literary tradition and must have done much to in- 
crease the unity and integrity of works of art. Besides, at least in 
certain periods of the history of poetry, the graphic picture has 
become a part of some finished works of art. 

In Chinese poetry, as Ernest Fenollosa has shown, the pic- 
torial ideograms form a part of the total meaning of the poems. 
But also in the Western tradition there are the graphic poems 
of the Greek Anthology, the "Altar" or the "Church-floor" of 
George Herbert, and similar poems of the Metaphysicals which 
can be paralleled on the Continent in Spanish Gongorism, Italian 
Marinism, in German Baroque poetry, and elsewhere. Also 
modern poetry in America (e. e. cummings), in Germany 
(Arno Holz), in France (Apollinaire), and elsewhere has used 
graphic devices like unusual line arrangements or even begin- 
nings at the bottom of the page, different colors of printing, etc. 12 
In the novel Tristram Shandy, Sterne used, as far back as the 
eighteenth century, blank and marbled pages. All such devices 
are integral parts of these particular works of art. Though we 
know that a majority of poetry is independent of them, they can- 
not and should not be ignored in those cases. 

Besides, the role of print in poetry is by no means confined to 
such comparatively rare extravaganzas ; the line-ends of verses, 
the grouping into stanzas, the paragraphs of prose passages, eye- 
rhymes or puns which are comprehensible only through spelling, 
and many similar devices must be considered integral factors of 
literary works of art. A purely oral theory tends to exclude all 
considerations of such devices, but they cannot be ignored in any 
complete analysis of many works of literary art. Their existence 
merely proves that print has become very important for the prac- 
tice of poetry in modern times, that poetry is written for the eye 
as well as for the ear. Though the use of graphic devices is not 
indispensable, they are far more frequent in literature than in 
music, where the printed score is in a position similar to the 
printed page in poetry. In music such uses are rare, though by no 
means non-existent. There are many curious optical devices 
(colors, etc.) in Italian madrigal scores of the sixteenth century. 
The supposedly "pure" composer Handel wrote a chorus speak- 

144 Theory of Literature 

ing of the Red Sea flood where the "water stood like a wall," and 
the notes on the printed page of music form firm rows of evenly 
spaced dots suggesting a phalanx or wall. 13 

We have started with a theory which probably has not many 
serious adherents today. The second answer to our question puts 
the essence of a literary work of art into the sequence of sounds 
uttered by a speaker or reader of poetry. This is a widely accepted 
solution favored especially by reciters. But the answer is equally 
unsatisfactory. Every reading aloud or reciting of a poem is 
merely a performance of a poem and not the poem itself. It is 
on exactly the same level as the performance of a piece of music 
by a musician. There is — to follow the line of our previous argu- 
ment — a huge written literature which may never be sounded at 
all. To deny this, we have to subscribe to some such absurd 
theory as that of some behaviorists that all silent reading is ac- 
companied by movements of the vocal cords. Actually, all ex- 
perience shows that, unless we are almost illiterate or are strug- 
gling with the reading of a foreign language or want to articu- 
late the sound whisperingly on purpose, we usually read "glob- 
ally," that is, we grasp printed words as wholes without breaking 
them up into sequences of phonemes and thus do not pronounce 
them even silently. In reading quickly we have no time even to 
articulate the sounds with our vocal cords. To assume besides that 
a poem exists in the reading aloud leads to the absurd conse- 
quence that a poem is non-existent when it is not sounded and 
that it is recreated afresh by every reading. Moreover, we could 
not show how a work like Homer's Iliad y or Tolstoy's War and 
Peace, exists as a unity, as it can never be read aloud all in one 

But most importantly, every reading of a poem is more than 
the genuine poem: each performance contains elements which 
are extraneous to the poem and individual idiosyncrasies of pro- 
nunciation, pitch, tempo, and distribution of stress — elements 
which are either determined by the personality of the speaker or 
are symptoms and means of his interpretation of the poem. 
Moreover, the reading of a poem not only adds individual ele- 
ments but always represents only a selection of factors implicit 
in the text of a poem: the pitch of the voice, the speed in which a 
passage is read, the distribution and intensity of the stresses, these 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 145 

may be either right or wrong, and even when right, may still 
represent only one version of reading a poem. We must acknowl- 
edge the possibility of several readings of a poem: readings 
which we either consider wrong readings, if we feel them to be 
distortions of the true meaning of the poem, or readings which 
we have to consider as correct and admissible, but still may not 
consider ideal. 

The reading of the poem is not the poem itself, for we can 
correct the performance mentally. Even if we hear a recitation 
which we acknowledge to be excellent or perfect, we cannot pre- 
clude the possibility that somebody else, or even the same reciter 
at another time, may give a very different rendering which would 
bring out other elements of the poem equally well. The analogy 
to a musical performance is again helpful: the performance of a 
symphony even by a Toscanini is not the symphony itself, for it 
is inevitably colored by the individuality of the performers and 
adds concrete details of tempo, rubato, timbre, etc., which may be 
changed in a next performance, though it would be impossible to 
deny that the same symphony has been performed for the second 
time. Thus we have shown that the poem can exist outside its 
sounded performance, and that the sounded performance con- 
tains many elements which we must consider as not included in 
the poem. 

Still, in some literary works of art (especially in lyrical poetry) 
the vocal side of poetry may be an important factor of the gen- 
eral structure. Attention can be drawn to it by various means like 
meter, patterns of vowel or consonant sequences, alliteration, 
assonance, rhyme, etc. This fact explains — or rather helps to ex- 
plain — the inadequacy of much translating of lyrical poetry, since 
these potential sound-patterns cannot be transferred into another 
linguistic system, though a skillful translator may approximate 
their general effect in his own language. There is, however, an 
enormous literature which is relatively independent of sound- 
patterns, as can be shown by the historical effects of many works 
in even pedestrian translations. Sound may be an important fac- 
tor in the structure of a poem, but the answer that a poem is a 
sequence of sounds is as unsatisfactory as the solution which puts 
faith in the print on the page. 

The third, very common answer to our question says that a 

146 Theory of Literature 

poem is the experience of the reader. A poem, it is argued, is 
nothing outside the mental processes of individual readers and is 
thus identical with the mental state or process which we experi- 
ence in reading or listening to a poem. Again, this "psycho- 
logical" solution seems unsatisfactory. It is true, of course, that 
a poem can be known only through individual experiences, but 
it is not identical with such an individual experience. Every indi- 
vidual experience of a poem contains something idiosyncratic 
and purely individual. It is colored by our mood and our indi- 
vidual preparation. The education, the personality of every 
reader, the general cultural climate of a time, the religious or 
philosophical or purely technical preconceptions of every reader 
will add something instantaneous and extraneous to every read- 
ing of a poem. Two readings at different times by the same indi- 
vidual may vary considerably either because he has matured 
mentally or because he is weakened by momentary circumstances 
such as fatigue, worry, or distraction. Every experience of a 
poem thus both leaves out something or adds something indi- 
vidual. The experience will never be commensurate with the 
poem: even a good reader will discover new details in poems 
which he had not experienced during previous readings, and it 
is needless to point out how distorted or shallow may be the 
reading of a less trained or untrained reader. 

The view that the mental experience of a reader is the poem 
itself leads to the absurd conclusion that a poem is non-existent 
unless experienced and that it is recreated in every experience. 
There thus would not be one Divine Comedy but as many Divine 
Comedies as there are and were and will be readers. We end in 
complete skepticism and anarchy and arrive at the vicious maxim 
of De gustibus non est disfutandum. If we should take this view 
seriously, it would be impossible to explain why one experience 
of a poem by one reader should be better than the experience of 
any other reader and why it is possible to correct the interpreta- 
tion of another reader. It would mean the definite end of all 
teaching of literature which aims at enhancing the understanding 
and appreciation of a text. The writings of I. A. Richards, 
especially his book on Practical Criticism-, have shown how much 
can be done in analyzing the individual idiosyncrasies of readers 
and how much a good teacher can achieve in rectifying false ap- 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 147 

proaches. Curiously enough, Richards, who constantly criticizes 
the experiences of his pupils, holds to an extreme psychological 
theory which is in flat contradiction to his excellent critical prac- 
tice. The idea that poetry is supposed to order our impulses and 
the conclusion that the value of poetry is in some sort of psychical 
therapy lead him finally to the admission that this goal may be 
accomplished by a bad as well as a good poem, by a carpet, a pot, 
a gesture as well as by a sonata. 14 Thus the supposed pattern in 
our mind is not definitely related to the poem which caused it. 

The psychology of the reader, however interesting in itself 
or useful for pedagogical purposes, will always remain outside 
the object of literary study — the concrete work of art — and is 
unable to deal with the question of the structure and value of 
the work of art. Psychological theories must be theories of effect 
and may lead in extreme cases to such criteria of the value of 
poetry as that proposed by A. E. Housman in a lecture, The 
Name and Nature of Poetry (1933), where he tells us, one 
hopes with his tongue in his cheek, that good poetry can be recog- 
nized by the thrill down our spine. This is on the same level as 
eighteenth-century theories which measured the quality of a 
tragedy by the amount of tears shed by the audience or the movie 
scout's conception of the quality of a comedy on the basis of the 
number of laughs he has counted in the audience. Thus anarchy, 
skepticism, a complete confusion of values is the result of every 
psychological theory, as it must be unrelated either to the struc- 
ture or the quality of a poem. 

The psychological theory is only very slightly improved by 
I. A. Richards when he defines a poem as the "experience of the 
right kind of reader." 15 Obviously the whole problem is shifted 
to the conception of the right reader — and the meaning of that 
adjective. But even assuming an ideal condition of mood in a 
reader of the finest background and the best training, the defini- 
tion remains unsatisfactory, as it is open to all the criticism we 
have made of the psychological method. It puts the essence of 
the poem into a momentary experience which even the right 
kind of reader could not repeat unchanged. It will always fall 
short of the full meaning of a poem at any given instance and 
will always add inevitable personal elements to the reading. 

A fourth answer has been suggested to obviate this difficulty. 

148 Theory of Literature 

The poem, we hear, is the experience of the author. Only in 
parenthesis, we may dismiss the view that the poem is the ex- 
perience of the author at any time of his life after the creation of 
his work, when he rereads it. He then has obviously become sim- 
ply a reader of his work and is liable to errors and misinterpreta- 
tions of his own work almost as much as any other reader. Many 
instances of glaring misinterpretations by an author of his own 
work could be collected: the old anecdote about Browning pro- 
fessing not to understand his own poem has probably its element 
of truth. It happens to all of us that we misinterpret or do not 
fully understand what we have written some time ago. Thus the 
suggested answer must refer to the experience of the author dur- 
ing the time of creation. By "experience of the author" we might 
mean, however, two different things: the conscious experience, 
the intentions which the author wanted to embody in his work, 
or the total conscious and unconscious experience during the pro- 
longed time of creation. The view that the genuine poem is to be 
found in the intentions of an author is widespread even though 
it is not always explicitly stated. 16 It justifies much historical re- 
search and is at the bottom of many arguments in favor of spe- 
cific interpretations. However, for most works of art we have no 
evidence to reconstruct the intentions of the author except the 
finished work itself. Even if we are in possession of contemporary 
evidence in the form of an explicit profession of intentions, such 
a profession need not be binding on a modern observer. "Inten- 
tions" of the author are always "rationalizations," commentaries 
which certainly must be taken into account but also must be 
criticized in the light of the finished work of art. The "inten- 
tions" of an author may go far beyond the finished work of art: 
they may be merely pronouncements of plans and ideals, while 
the performance may be either far below or far aside the mark. 
If we could have interviewed Shakespeare he probably would 
have expressed his intentions in writing Hamlet in a way which 
we should find most unsatisfactory. We would still quite rightly 
insist on finding meanings in Hamlet (and not merely inventing 
them) which were probably far from clearly formulated in 
Shakespeare's conscious mind. 

Artists may be strongly influenced by a contemporary critical 
situation and by contemporary critical formulae while giving 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 149 

expression to their intentions, but the critical formulae them- 
selves might be quite inadequate to characterize their actual 
artistic achievement. The Baroque age is an obvious case in point, 
since a surprisingly new artistic practice found little expression 
either in the pronouncements of the artists or the comments of 
the critics. A sculptor such as Bernini could lecture to the Paris 
Academy expounding the view that his own practice was in strict 
conformity to that of the ancients and Daniel Adam Poppel- 
mann, the architect of that highly rococo building in Dresden 
called the Zwinger, wrote a whole pamphlet in order to demon- 
strate the strict agreement of his creation with the purest prin- 
ciples of Vitruvius. 17 The metaphysical poets had only a few quite 
inadequate critical formulae (like "strong lines") which scarcely 
touch the actual novelty of their practice ; and medieval artists 
frequently had purely religious or didactic "intentions" which 
do not even begin to give expression to the artistic principles of 
their practice. Divergence between conscious intention and actual 
performance is a common phenomenon in the history of litera- 
ture, Zola sincerely believed in his scientific theory of the experi- 
mental novel, but actually produced highly melodramatic and 
symbolic novels. Gogol thought of himself as a social reformer, 
as a "geographer" of Russia, while, in practice, he produced 
novels and stories full of fantastic and grotesque creatures of his 
imagination. It is simply impossible to rely on the study of the 
intentions of an author, as they might not even represent a re- 
liable commentary on his work, and at their best are not more 
than such a commentary. There can be no objections against the 
study of "intention," if we mean by it merely a study of the 
integral work of art directed towards the total meaning. 18 But 
this use of the term "intention" is different and somewhat mis- 

But also the alternative suggestion — that the genuine poem 
is in the total experience, conscious and unconscious, during the 
time of the creation — is very unsatisfactory. In practice, this con- 
clusion has the serious disadvantage of putting the problem into 
a completely inaccessible and purely hypothetical x which we 
have no means of reconstructing or even of exploring. Beyond 
this insurmountable practical difficulty, the solution is also un- 
satisfactory because it puts the existence of the poem into a sub- 

150 Theory of Literature 

jective experience which already is a thing of the past. The ex- 
periences of the author during creation ceased precisely when the 
poem had begun to exist. If this conception were right, we should 
never be able to come into direct contact with the work of art 
itself, but have constantly to make the assumption that our ex- 
periences in reading the poem are in some way identical with the 
long-past experiences of the author. E. M. Tillyard in his book 
on Milton has tried to use the idea that Paradise Lost is about 
the state of the author when he wrote it, and could not, in a long 
and frequently irrelevant exchange of arguments with C. S. 
Lewis, acknowledge that Paradise Lost is, first of all, about Satan 
and Adam and Eve and hundreds and thousands of different 
ideas, representations, and concepts, *rather than about Milton's 
state of mind during creation. 19 That the whole content of the 
poem was once in contact with the conscious and subconscious 
mind of Milton is perfectly true; but this state of mind is in- 
accessible and might have been filled, in those particular 
moments, with millions of experiences of which we cannot find 
a trace in the poem itself. Taken literally, this whole solution 
must lead to absurd speculations about the exact duration of the 
state of mind of the creator and its exact content, which might 
include a toothache at the moment of creation. 20 The whole 
psychological approach through states of mind, whether of the 
reader or the listener, the speaker or the author, raises more 
problems than it can possibly solve. 

A better way is obviously in the direction of defining the work 
of art in terms of social and collective experience. There are two 
possibilities of solution, which, however, still fall short of solv- 
ing our problem satisfactorily. We may say that the work of art 
is the sum of all past and possible experiences of the poem: a so- 
lution which leaves us with an infinity of irrelevant individual 
experiences, bad and false readings, and perversions. In short, it 
merely gives us the answer that the poem is in the state of mind 
of its reader, multiplied by infinity. Another answer solves the 
question by stating that the genuine poem is the experience com- 
mon to all the experiences of the poem. 21 But this answer would 
obviously reduce the work of art to the common denominator of 
all these experiences. This denominator must be the lowest com- 
mon denominator, the most shallow, most superficial and trivial 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 1 5 1 

experience. This solution, besides its practical difficulties, would 
completely impoverish the total meaning of a work of art. 

An answer to our question in terms of individual or social 
psychology cannot be found. A poem, we have to conclude, is 
not an individual experience or a sum of experiences, but only a 
potential cause of experiences. Definition in terms of states of 
mind fails because it cannot account for the normative character 
of the genuine poem, for the simple fact that it might be ex- 
perienced correctly or incorrectly. In every individual experience 
only a small part can be considered as adequate to the true poem. 
Thus, the real poem must be conceived as a structure of norms, 
realized only partially in the actual experience of its many 
readers. Every single experience (reading, reciting, and so forth) 
is only an attempt — more or less successful and complete — to 
grasp this set of norms or standards. 

The term "norms" as used here should not, of course, be con- 
fused with norms which are either classical or romantic, ethical 
or political. The norms we have in mind are implicit norms which 
have to be extracted from every individual experience of a work 
of art and together make up the genuine work of art as a whole. 
It is true that if we compare works of art among themselves, 
similarities or differences between these norms will be ascer- 
tained, and from the similarities themselves it ought to be pos- 
sible to proceed to a classification of works of art according to 
the type of norms they embody. We may finally arrive at theories 
of genres and ultimately at theories of literature in general. To 
deny this as it has been denied by those who, with some justi- 
fication, stress the uniqueness of every work of art, seems to push 
the conception of individuality so far that every work of art 
would become completely isolated from tradition and thus finally 
both incommunicable and incomprehensible. Assuming that we 
have to start with the analysis of an individual work of art, we 
still can scarcely deny that there must be some links, some 
similarities, some common elements or factors which would ap- 
proximate two or more given works of art and thus would open 
the door to a transition from the analysis of one individual work 
of art to a type such as Greek tragedy and hence to tragedy in 
general, to literature in general, and finally to some all-inclusive 
structure common to all arts. 

152 Theory of Literature 

But this is a further problem. We, however, have still to de- 
cide where and how these norms exist. A closer analysis of a work 
of art will show that it is best to think of it as not merely one 
system of norms but rather of a system which is made up of sev- 
eral strata, each implying its own subordinate group. The Polish 
philosopher, Roman Ingarden, in an ingenious highly technical 
analysis of the literary work of art, 22 has employed the methods 
of Husserl's "Phenomenology" to arrive at such distinctions of 
strata. We need not follow him in every detail to see that his 
general distinctions are sound and useful: there is, first, the 
sound-stratum which is not, of course, to be confused with the 
actual sounding of the words, as our preceding argument must 
have shown. Still, this pattern is indispensable, as only on the 
basis of sounds can the second stratum arise: the units of mean- 
ing. Every single word will have its meaning, will combine into 
units in the context, into syntagmas and sentence patterns. Out 
of this syntactic structure arises a third stratum, that of the 
objects represented, the "world" of a novelist, the characters, the 
setting. Ingarden adds two other strata which may not have to 
be distinguished as separable. The stratum of the "world" is seen 
from a particular viewpoint, which is not necessarily stated but is 
implied. An event presented in literature can be, for example, 
presented as "seen" or as "heard": even the same event, for ex- 
ample, the banging of a door; a character can be seen in its 
"inner" or "outer" characteristic traits. And finally, Ingarden 
speaks of a stratum of "metaphysical qualities" (the sublime, the 
tragic, the terrible, the holy) of which art can give us contempla- 
tion. This stratum is not indispensable, and may be missing in 
some works of literature. Possibly the two last strata can be in- 
cluded in the "world," in the realm of represented objects. But 
they also suggest very real problems in the analysis of literature. 
The "point of view" has, at least in the novel, received consid- 
erable attention since Henry James and since Lubbock's more 
systematic exposition of the Jamesian theory and practice. The 
stratum of "metaphysical qualities" allows Ingarden to reintro- 
duce questions of the "philosophical meaning" of works of art 
without the risk of the usual intellectualist errors. 

It is useful to illustrate the conception by the parallel which 
can be drawn from linguistics. Linguists such as the Geneva 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 153 

School and the Prague Linguistic Circle carefully distinguish be- 
tween langue and parole, 23 the system of language and the indi- 
vidual speech-act; and this distinction corresponds to that be- 
tween the individual experience of the poem and the poem as 
such. The system of language is a collection of conventions and 
norms whose workings and relations we can observe and describe 
as having a fundamental coherence and identity in spite of very 
different, imperfect, or incomplete pronouncements of individual 
speakers. In this respect at least, a literary work of art is in 
exactly the same position as a system of language. We as indi- 
viduals shall never realize it completely, for we shall never use 
our own language completely and perfectly. The very same sit- 
uation is actually exhibited in every single act of cognition. We 
shall never know an object in all its qualities, but still we can 
scarcely deny the identity of objects even though we may see 
them from different perspectives. We always grasp some "struc- 
ture of determination" in the object which makes the act of 
cognition not an act of arbitrary invention or subjective distinc- 
tion but the recognition of some norms imposed on us by reality. 
Similarly, the structure of a work of art has the character of a 
"duty which I have to realize." I shall always realize it im- 
perfectly, but in spite of some incompleteness, a certain "struc- 
ture of determination" remains, just as in any other object of 
knowledge. 24 

Modern linguists have analyzed the potential sounds as pho- 
nemes j they can also analyze morphemes and syntagmas. The 
sentence, for instance, can be described not merely as an ad hoc 
utterance but as a syntactic pattern. Outside of phonemics, 
modern functional linguistics is still comparatively undeveloped; 
but the problems, though difficult, are not insoluble or com- 
pletely new: they are rather restatements of the morphological 
and syntactical questions as they were discussed in older gram- 
mars. The analysis of a literary work of art encounters parallel 
problems in units of meaning and their specific organization for 
aesthetic purposes. Such problems as those of poetic semantics, 
diction, and imagery are reintroduced in a new and more careful 
statement. Units of meaning, sentences, and sentence structures 
refer to objects, construct imaginative realities such as landscapes, 
interiors, characters, actions, or ideas. These also can be analyzed 

154 Theory of Literature 

in a way which does not confuse them with empirical reality and 
does not ignore the fact that they inhere in linguistic structures. 
A character in a novel grows only out of the units of meaning, 
is made of the sentences either pronounced by the figure or 
pronounced about it. It has an indeterminate structure in com- 
parison with a biological person who has his coherent past. 25 
These distinctions of strata have the advantage of superseding 
the traditional, misleading distinction between content and form. 
The content will reappear in close contact with the linguistic 
substratum, in which it is implied and on which it is dependent. 
But this conception of the literary work of art as a stratified 
system of norms still leaves undetermined the actual mode of 
existence of this system. To deal with this matter properly we 
should have to settle such controversies as those of nominalism 
versus realism, mentalism versus behaviorism — in short, all the 
chief problems of epistemology. For our purposes, however, it 
will be sufficient to avoid two opposites, extreme Platonism and 
extreme nominalism. There is no need to hypostatize or "reify" 
this system of norms, to make it a sort of archetypal idea presid- 
ing over a timeless realm of essences. The literary work of art 
has not the same ontological status as the idea of a triangle, or 
of a number, or a quality like "redness." Unlike such "subsis- 
tences," the literary work of art is, first of all, created at a certain 
point in time and, secondly, is subject to change and even to com- 
plete destruction. In this respect it rather resembles the system of 
language, though the exact moment of creation or death is prob- 
ably much less clearly definable in the case of language than in 
that of the literary work of art, usually an individual creation. 
On the other hand, one should recognize that an extreme 
nominalism which rejects the concept of a "system of language" 
and thus of a work of art in our sense, or admits it only as a 
useful fiction or a "scientific description," misses the whole prob- 
lem and the point at issue. The narrow assumptions of behavior- 
ism define anything to be "mystical" or "metaphysical" which 
does not conform to a very limited conception of empirical real- 
ity. Yet to call the phoneme a "fiction," or the system of lan- 
guage merely a "scientific description of speech-acts," is to ignore 
the problem of truth. 26 We recognize norms and deviations 
from norms and do not merely devise some purely verbal de- 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 155 

scriptions. The whole behaviorist point o£ view is, in this respect, 
based on a bad theory of abstraction. Numbers or norms are what 
they are, whether we construct them or not. Certainly I perform 
the counting, I perform the reading; but number presentation 
or recognition of a norm is not the same as the number or norm 
itself. The pronouncement of the sound h is not the phoneme h. 
We recognize a structure of norms within reality and do not 
simply invent verbal constructs. The objection that we have 
access to these norms only through individual acts of cognition, 
and that we cannot get out of these acts or beyond them, is only 
apparently impressive. It is the objection which has been made 
to Kant's criticism of our cognition, and it can be refuted with 
the Kantian arguments. 

It is true we are ourselves liable to misunderstandings and 
lack of comprehension of these norms, but this does not mean 
that the critic assumes a superhuman role of criticizing our com- 
prehension from the outside or that he pretends to grasp the 
perfect whole of the system of norms in some act of intellectual 
intuition. Rather, we criticize a part of our knowledge in the 
light of the higher standard set by another part. We are not sup- 
posed to put ourselves into the position of a man who, in order to 
test his vision, tries to look at his own eyes, but into the position 
of a man who compares the objects he sees clearly with those he 
sees only dimly, makes then generalizations as to the kinds of 
objects which fall into the two classes, and explains the difference 
by some theory of vision which takes account of distance, light, 
and so forth. 

Analogously, we can distinguish between right and wrong 
readings of a poem, or between a recognition or a distortion of 
the norms implicit in a work of art, by acts of comparison, by a 
study of different false or incomplete realizations. We can study 
the actual workings, relations, and combinations of these norms, 
just as the phoneme can be studied. The literary work of art is 
neither an empirical fact, in the sense of being a state of mind of 
any given individual or of any group of individuals, nor is it an 
ideal changeless object such as a triangle. The work of art may 
become an object of experience; it is, we admit, accessible only 
through individual experience, but it is not identical with any 
experience. It differs from ideal objects such as numbers precisely 

156 Theory of Literature 

because it is only accessible through the empirical part of its 
structure, the sound-system, while a triangle or a number can be 
intuited directly. It also differs from ideal objects in one impor- 
tant respect. It has something which can be called "life." It 
arises at a certain point of time, changes in the course of history, 
and may perish. A work of art is "timeless" only in the sense that, 
if preserved, it has some fundamental structure of identity since 
its creation, but it is "historical" too. It has a development which 
can be described. This development is nothing but the series of 
concretizations of a given work of art in the course of history 
which we may, to a certain extent, reconstruct from the reports 
of critics and readers about their experiences and judgments and 
the effect of a given work of art on other works. Our conscious- 
ness of earlier concretizations (readings, criticisms, misinterpre- 
tations) will affect our own experience: earlier readings may 
educate us to a deeper understanding or may cause a violent 
reaction against the prevalent interpretations of the past. All this 
shows the importance of the history of criticism or, in linguistics, 
of historical grammar, and leads to difficult questions about the 
nature and limits of individuality. How far can a work of art be 
said to be changed and still remain identical? The Iliad still 
"exists"; that is, it can become again and again effective and is 
thus different from a historical phenomenon like the battle of 
Waterloo which is definitely past, though its course may be re- 
constructed and its effects may be felt even today. In what sense 
can we, however, speak of an identity between the Iliad as the 
contemporary Greeks heard or read it and the Iliad we now 
read? Even assuming that we know the identical text, our actual 
experience must be different. We cannot contrast its language 
with the everyday language of Greece, and cannot therefore feel 
the deviations from colloquial language on which much of the 
poetic effect must depend. We are unable to understand many 
verbal ambiguities which are an essential part of every poet's 
meaning. Obviously it requires in addition some imaginative ef- 
fort, which can have only very partial success, to think ourselves 
back into the Greek belief in gods, or the Greek scale of moral 
values. Still, it could be scarcely denied that there is a substantial 
identity of "structure" which has remained the same throughout 
the ages. This structure, however, is dynamic: it changes through- 

The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 1 57 

out the process of history while passing through the minds of its 
readers, critics, and fellow artists. 27 Thus the system of norms is 
growing and changing and will remain, in some sense, always 
incompletely and imperfectly realized. But this dynamic concep- 
tion does not mean mere subjectivism and relativism. All the dif- 
ferent points of view are by no means equally right. It will 
always be possible to determine which point of view grasps the 
subject most thoroughly and deeply. A hierarchy of viewpoints, 
a criticism of the grasp of norms, is implied in the concept of the 
adequacy of interpretation. All relativism is ultimately defeated 
by the recognition that "the Absolute is in the relative, though 
not finally and fully in it." 28 

The work of art, then, appears as an object of knowledge sui 
generis which has a special ontological status. It is neither real 
(like a statue) nor mental (like the experience of light or pain) 
nor ideal (like a triangle). It is a system of norms of ideal con- 
cepts which are intersubjective. They must be assumed to exist 
in collective ideology, changing with it, accessible only through 
individual mental experiences based on the sound-structure of 
its sentences. 

We have not discussed the question of artistic values. But the 
preceding examination should have shown that there is no struc- 
ture outside norms and values. We cannot comprehend and 
analyze any work of art without reference to values. The very 
fact that I recognize a certain structure as a "work of art" im- 
plies a judgment of value. The error of pure phenomenology is 
in the assumption that such a dissociation is possible, that values 
are superimposed on structure, "inhere" on or in structures. This 
error of analysis vitiates the penetrating book of Roman Ingar- 
den, who tries to analyze the work of art without reference to 
values. The root of the matter lies, of course, in the phenomenol- 
ogist's assumption of an eternal, non-temporal order of "es- 
sences" to which the empirical individualizations are added only 
later. By assuming an absolute scale of values we necessarily lose 
contact with the relativity of individual judgments. A frozen 
Absolute faces a valueless flux of individual judgments. 

The unsound thesis of absolutism and the equally unsound 
antithesis of relativism must be superseded and harmonized in a 
new synthesis which makes the scale of values itself dynamic, 

158 Theory of Literature 

but does not surrender it as such. "Perspectivism," as we have 
termed such a conception, 29 does not mean an anarchy of values, 
a glorification of individual caprice, but a process of getting to 
know the object from different points of view which may be 
defined and criticized in their turn. Structure, sign, and value 
form three aspects of the very same problem and cannot be arti- 
ficially isolated. 


Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 

Every work of literary art is, first of all, a series of sounds out 
of which arises the meaning. In some literary works, this stratum 
of sounds is minimized in its importance j and it becomes, so to 
speak, diaphanous, as in most novels. But even there the phonetic 
stratum is a necessary precondition of the meaning. The distinc- 
tion between a novel by Dreiser and a poem like Poe's "The 
Bells" is in this respect only quantitative and fails to justify the 
setting-up of two contrasting kinds of literature, fiction and 
poetry. In many works of art, including, of course, prose, the 
sound-stratum attracts attention and thus constitutes an integral 
part of the aesthetic effect. This is true of much ornate prose and 
of all verse, which, by definition, is an organization of a lan- 
guage's sound-system. 

In analyzing these sound-effects, we have to bear in mind two 
principles, important but frequently ignored. We must, initially, 
distinguish between performance and pattern of sound. The 
reading aloud of a literary work of art is a performance, a 
realization of a pattern which adds something individual and 
personal and, on the other hand, may distort or even entirely 
ignore the pattern. Hence a real science of rhythmics and metrics 
cannot be based only on the study of individual recitals. A second 
common assumption, that sound should be analyzed in complete 
divorce from meaning, is also false. It follows from our general 
conception of the integrity of any work of art that such a divorce 
is false j but it follows also from the demonstration that mere 
sound in itself can have no or little aesthetic effect. There is no 
"musical" verse without some general conception of its meaning 
or at least its emotional tone. Even listening to a foreign lan- 
guage which we do not understand at all, we do not hear pure 
sound but impose our phonetic habits on it as well as hear, of 
course, the meaningful intonation given to it by the speaker or 


160 Theory of Literature 

reader. In poetry, pure sound is either a fiction or an extremely 
simple and elementary series of relationships such as those 
studied in BirkhofPs Aesthetic Measure^ which cannot possibly 
account for the variety and importance possessed by the sound- 
stratum when seen as integral to the total character of a poem. 

We must first distinguish between two very different aspects 
of the problem: the inherent and the relational elements of 
sound. By the former, we mean the peculiar individuality of the 
sound a or o, or / or -p, independent of quantity, since there can- 
not be more or less a or f. Inherent distinctions in quality are the 
basis for the effects which are usually called "musicality" or 
"euphony." Relational distinctions, on the other hand, are those 
which may become the basis of rhythm and meter: the pitch, the 
duration of the sounds, the stress, the frequency of recurrence, 
all elements permitting quantitative distinctions. Pitch is higher 
or lower, duration shorter or longer, stress stronger or weaker, 
frequency of recurrence greater or smaller. This fairly elementary 
distinction is important, for it isolates a whole group of linguistic 
phenomena: those which the Russians have called "orchestra- 
tion" (instrumentovka) in order to stress the fact that the sound- 
quality is here the element which is being manipulated and ex- 
ploited by the writer. The term "musicality" (or "melody") of 
verse should be dropped as misleading. The phenomena we are 
identifying are not parallel to musical "melody" at all: melody 
in music is, of course, determined by pitch and hence is vaguely 
parallel to intonation in language. There are actually consider- 
able differences between the intonation line of a spoken sentence, 
with its wavering, quickly changing pitches, and a musical mel- 
ody with its fixed pitches and definite intervals. 2 Nor is the term 
"euphony" quite sufficient since, under "orchestration," "ca- 
cophony" needs to be considered in poets like Browning or Hop- 
kins who aim at deliberately harsh, expressive sound-effects. 

Among the devices of "orchestration" we have to distinguish 
between sound-patterns, repetition of identical or associated 
sound-qualities, and the use of expressive sounds, of sound- 
imitation. Sound-patterns have been studied by the Russian 
formalists with particular ingenuity; in English, W. J. Bate has 
recently analyzed the elaborate sound-figures in the verse of 
Keats, who himself rather curiously theorized about his practice. 3 

Eufhony, Rhythm , and Meter 161 

Osip Brik 4 has classified the possible sound-figures according to 
the number of repeated sounds, the number of repetitions, the 
order in which the sounds follow each other in the repeated 
groups, and the position of the sounds in the rhythmical units. 
This last and most useful classification needs further division. 
One can distinguish repetitions of sounds closely placed within a 
single verse, of sounds which occur in the beginning of one group 
and at the end of another, or at the end of one line and the begin- 
ning of the next, or at the beginning of lines, or simply in final 
position. The next to last group is parallel to the stylistic figure 
of anaphora. The last will include such a common phenomenon 
as rhyme. According to this classification, rhyme appears as only 
one example of sound-repetition and should not be studied to the 
exclusion of such analogous phenomena as alliteration and as- 

We should not forget that these sound-figures will vary in 
their effect from language to language, that each language has 
its own system of phonemes and hence of oppositions and 
parallels of vowels or affinities of consonants, and finally, that 
even such sound-effects are scarcely divorceable from the gen- 
eral meaning-tone of a poem or line. The Romantic and Sym- 
bolistic attempt to identify poetry with song and music is little 
more than a metaphor, since poetry cannot compete with music 
in the variety, clarity, and patterning of pure sounds. 5 Meanings, 
context, and "tone" are needed to turn linguistic sounds into 
artistic facts. 

This can be demonstrated clearly through a study of rhyme. 
Rhyme is an extremely complex phenomenon. It has its mere 
euphonious function as a repetition (or near-repetition) of 
sounds. The rhyming of vowels is, as Henry Lanz has shown in 
his Physical Basis of Rime, & determined by a recurrence of their 
overtones. But, though this sound-side may be basic, it is ob- 
viously only one aspect of rhyme. Aesthetically far more im- 
portant is its metrical function signaling the conclusion of a line 
of verse, or as the organizer, sometimes the sole organizer, of 
stanzaic patterns. But, most importantly, rhyme has meaning 
and is thus deeply involved in the whole character of a work of 
poetry. Words are brought together by rhyme, linked up or 
contrasted. Several aspects of this semantic function of rhyme 

1 62 Theory of Literature 

can be distinguished. We may ask what is the semantic function 
of the syllables which rhyme, whether rhyme is in the suffix 
(character: register), in the roots (drink: think), or in both 
(passion: fashion). We may ask from what semantic sphere 
rhyme-words are selected: whether, for example, they belong to 
one or several linguistic categories (parts of speech, different 
cases) or groups of objects. We might want to know what is the 
semantic relation between the words linked by rhyme, whether 
they belong to the same semantic context as do many of the com- 
mon doubles (heart: part, tears: fears) or whether they surprise 
precisely by the association and juxtaposition of completely di- 
vergent semantic spheres. In a brilliant paper 7 W. K. Wimsatt 
has studied these effects in Pope and Byron, who aim at the 
shock of confronting "Queens" and "screens," "elope" and 
"Pope," or "mahogany" and "philogyny." Finally one can dis- 
tinguish the degree to which rhyme is implicated in the total 
context of a poem, how far rhyme-words seem mere fillers or, 
at the opposite extreme, whether we could conjecture the mean- 
ing of a poem or stanza only from its rhyme-words. Rhymes 
may constitute the skeleton of a stanza or they may be minimized 
so much that one scarcely notices their presence (as in Brown- 
ing's "Last Duchess"). 

Rhyme can be studied, as H. C. Wyld has done, 8 as linguistic 
evidence for the history of pronunciation (Pope rhymed "join" 
and "shine") ; but for literary purposes we must bear in mind 
that standards of "exactness" have varied considerably with dif- 
ferent poetic schools and, of course, in different nations. In 
English, where masculine rhyme prevails, feminine rhymes have 
usually burlesque or comic effects, while in Medieval Latin, in 
Italian or Polish, feminine rhymes will be obligatory in the most 
serious contexts. In English, we have the special problem of the 
eye-rhyme, the rhyming of homonyms which is a form of pun- 
ning, the wide diversity of standard pronunciations in different 
ages and places, the idiosyncrasies of individual poets, all prob- 
lems which have hitherto been scarcely raised. There is nothing 
in English to compare with Viktor Zhirmunsky's book on 
rhyme, 9 which classifies the effects of rhyme in even greater de- 
tail than this sketch and gives its history in Russia and in the 
main European countries. 

Eufhony y Rhythm y and Meter 163 

From these sound-patterns where the repetition of a vowel or 
consonant-quality (as in alliteration) is decisive, we must dis- 
tinguish the different problem of sound-imitation. Sound-imita- 
tion has attracted a great deal of attention, both because some of 
the most well-known virtuoso passages in poetry aim at such 
imitation and because the problem is closely connected with the 
older mystical conception which assumes that sound must in some 
way correspond with things signified. It is sufficient to think of 
some passages in Pope or Southey or to remember how the 
seventeenth century thought of actually intoning the music of 
the universe (e.g., Harsdorfer in Germany 10 ). The view that 
a word "correctly" represents the thing or action has been gen- 
erally abandoned: modern linguistics is inclined to grant, at the 
most, a special class of words, called "onomatopoeic," which are, 
in some respects, outside the usual sound-system of a language 
and which definitely attempt to imitate heard sounds (cuckoo, 
buzz, bang, miaw). It can be easily shown that identical sound- 
combinations may have completely different meanings in dif- 
ferent languages (e.g., Rock in German means "jacket," in 
English, a large stone ; rok in Russian means "fate," in Czech, 
"year") 3 or that certain sounds in nature are very differently 
represented in different languages (e.g., "ring," sonner, tauten, 
zvonit). It can be shown, as John Crowe Ransom has amusingly 
done, that the sound-effect of a line like "the murmuring of in- 
numerable bees" is really dependent on the meaning. If we make 
only a slight phonetic change to "murdering of innumerable 
beeves" we destroy the imitative effect completely. 

Still, it seems that the problem has been unduly minimized by 
modern linguists and is too easily dismissed by modern critics 
like Richards and Ransom. 11 One must distinguish between three 
different degrees. First there is the actual imitation of physical 
sounds, which is undeniably successful in cases like "cuckoo," 
though it may, of course, vary according to the linguistic system 
of a speaker. Such sound-imitation must be differentiated from 
elaborate sound-painting, the reproduction of natural sounds 
through speech-sounds in a context where words, in themselves 
quite devoid of onomatopoeic effects, will be drawn into a sound 
pattern like "innumerable" in the quotation from Tennyson or 
many words in passages in Homer and Virgil. Finally, there is 

164 Theory of Literature 

the important level of sound-symbolism or sound-metaphor, 
which in each language has its established conventions and pat- 
terns. Maurice Grammont has made the most elaborate and in- 
genious study of French verse 12 in regard to expressiveness. He 
has classified all French consonants and vowels and studied their 
expressive effects in different poets. Clear vowels, for example, 
can express smallness, rapidity, elan, grace, and the like. 

While the study of Grammont is open to the charge of mere 
subjectivity, there is still, within a given linguistic system, some- 
thing like a "physiognomy" of words, a sound-symbolism far 
more pervasive than mere onomatopoeia. There is no doubt that 
synaesthetic combinations and associations permeate all lan- 
guages and that these correspondences have been, quite rightly, 
exploited and elaborated by the poets. A poem such as Rimbaud's 
well-known "Les Voyelles," which gives a one-to-one relation- 
ship between individual vowels and colors, though based on a 
widespread tradition, 13 may be purely wilful ; but the fundamen- 
tal associations between high vowels (e and i) and thin, quick, 
clear, and bright objects and, again, between low vowels (0 and 
u) and clumsy, slow, dull, and dark objects can be proved by 
acoustic experiments. 14 The work of Carl Stumpf and Wolfgang 
Kohler shows also that consonants can be divided into dark 
(labials and velars) and bright (dentals and palatals). These 
are by no means mere metaphors but associations based on in- 
dubitable similarities between sound and color observable espe- 
cially in the structure of the respective systems. 15 There are the 
general linguistic problem of "sound and meaning" 16 and the 
separate problem of its exploitation and organization in a work 
of literature. The last, especially, has been studied only very 

Rhythm and meter present problems distinct from these of 
"orchestration." They have been studied very widely, and a 
huge literature has grown up around them. The problem of 
rhythm is, of course, by no means specific to literature or even to 
language. There are the rhythms of nature and work, the 
rhythms of light-signals, the rhythms of music, and, in a rather 
metaphorical sense, the rhythms in the plastic arts. Rhythm is 
also a general linguistic phenomenon. We need not discuss the 
hundred and one theories about its actual nature. 17 For our pur- 

Eu-phony, Rhythm, and Meter 165 

poses, it is sufficient to distinguish between theories requiring 
"periodicity" as the sine qua non of rhythm and theories which, 
conceiving of rhythm more widely, include in it even non- 
recurrent configurations of movements. The first view definitely 
identifies rhythm with meter, and thus may require the rejection 
of the concept of "prose rhythm" as a contradiction or a mere 
metaphor. 18 The other and wider view is strongly supported by 
the researches of Sievers into individual speech rhythms and a 
wide variety of musical phenomena, including plainsong and 
much exotic music which, without periodicity, are still rhyth- 
mical. So conceived, rhythm allows us to study individual speech 
and the rhythm of all prose. It can easily be shown that all prose 
has some kind of rhythm, that even the most prosaic sentence can 
be scanned, that is, subdivided into groups of longs and shorts, 
stressed and unstressed syllables. Much was made of this fact 
even in the eighteenth century by a writer, Joshua Steele; 19 and 
there is a large literature today analyzing pages of prose. 
Rhythm is closely associated with "melody," the line of intona- 
tion determined by the sequence of pitches; and the term is fre- 
quently used so broadly as to include both rhythm and melody. 
The famous German philologist Eduard Sievers professed to 
distinguish personal rhythmical and intonational patterns, and 
Ottmar Rutz has associated these with specific physiological 
types of bodily posture and breathing. 20 Though attempts have 
been made to apply these researches to strictly literary purposes, 
to establish a correlation between literary styles and the types of 
Rutz, 21 these questions seem to us mostly outside the realm of 
literary scholarship. 

We enter the realm of literary scholarship when we have to 
explain the nature of prose rhythm, the peculiarity and use of 
rhythmical prose, the prose of certain passages in the English 
Bible, in Sir Thomas Browne, and Ruskin or De Quincey, where 
rhythm and sometimes melody force themselves even on the un- 
attentive reader. The exact nature of the artistic prose rhythm 
has caused very considerable difficulty. One well-known book, 
W. M. Patterson's Rhythm of Prose, 22 tried to account for it by 
a system of elaborate syncopation. George Saintsbury's very full 
History of English Prose Rhythm 23 constantly insists that prose 
rhythm is based on "variety," but leaves its actual nature com- 

1 66 Theory of Literature 

pletely undefined. If Saintsbury's "explanation" were correct 
there would be, of course, no rhythm at all. But Saintsbury 
doubtless was only stressing the danger of prose rhythm's falling 
into exact metrical patterns. Today, at least, we feel the frequent 
blank verse in Dickens as awkward and sentimental deviation. 

Other investigators of prose rhythm study only one rather 
distinct aspect, "cadence," the concluding rhythm of sentences 
in the tradition of Latin oratorical prose for which Latin had ex- 
act patterns with specific names. "Cadence," especially in inter- 
rogatory and exclamatory sentences, is partly also a question of 
melody. The modern reader has difficulty in feeling the elab- 
orate patterns of the Latin cursus when imitated in English, 
since English longs and shorts are not fixed with the same con- 
ventional rigidity as in the Latin system ; but it has been shown 
that effects analogous to the Latin were widely attempted and 
occasionally achieved, especially in the seventeenth century. 24 

In general, the artistic rhythm of prose is best approached by 
keeping clearly in mind that it has to be distinguished both from 
the general rhythm of prose and from verse. The artistic rhythm 
of prose can be described as an organization of ordinary speech 
rhythms. It differs from ordinary prose by a greater regularity 
of stress distribution, which, however, must not reach an ap- 
parent isochronism (that is, a regularity of time intervals be- 
tween rhythmical accents). In an ordinary sentence there are 
usually considerable differences of intensity and pitch, while in 
rhythmical prose there is a marked tendency toward a leveling 
of stress and pitch differences. Analyzing passages from Push- 
kin's "Queen of Spades," Boris Tomashevsky, one of the fore- 
most Russian students of these questions, has shown by statistical 
methods 25 that the beginnings and ends of sentences tend toward 
greater rhythmical regularity than do the centers. The general 
impression of regularity and periodicity is usually strengthened 
by phonetic and syntactical devices: by sound-figures, by parallel 
clauses, antithetic balancings where the whole structure of mean- 
ing strongly supports the rhythmical pattern. There are all kinds 
of gradations from almost non-rhythmical prose: from chopped 
sentences full of accumulated stresses to rhythmical prose ap- 
proaching the regularity of verse. The main transitional form 

Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 167 

toward verse is called verset by the French and occurs in the 
English Psalms and in such writers who aim at Biblical effects as 
Ossian or Claudel. Every other accented syllable in the verset 
is stressed more strongly, and thus groups of two stresses are 
created similar to the groups in dipodic verse. 

We need not enter into a detailed analysis of these devices. 
They clearly have a long history which has been most pro- 
foundly influenced by Latin oratorical prose. 26 In English litera- 
ture, rhythmical prose climaxes in the seventeenth century with 
writers like Sir Thomas Browne or Jeremy Taylor. It gives way 
to a more simple colloquial diction in the eighteenth century, 
even if a new "grand style" — the style of Johnson, Gibbon, and 
Burke — arose toward the end of the century. 27 It was variously 
revived in the nineteenth century by De Quincey and Ruskin, 
Emerson and Melville, and again, though on different prin- 
ciples, by Gertrude Stein and James Joyce. In Germany, there 
is the rhythmical prose of Nietzsche ; in Russia, there are famous 
passages in Gogol and Turgenev and, more recently, the "orna- 
mental" prose of Andrey Byely. 

The artistic value of rhythmical prose is still debated and 
debatable. In accordance with the modern preference for purity 
in the arts and genres, most modern readers prefer their poetry 
poetic and their prose prosaic. Rhythmical prose seems to be felt 
as a mixed form, as neither prose nor verse. But this is probably 
a critical prejudice of our time. A defense of rhythmical prose 
would presumably be the same as a defense of verse. Used well 
it forces us into a fuller awareness of the text ; it underscores ; it 
ties together j it builds up gradations, suggests parallelisms ; it 
organizes speech} and organization is art. 

Prosody, or metrics, is a subject which has attracted an enor- 
mous amount of labor through the centuries. Today, it might be 
supposed, we need do little more than survey new metrical speci- 
mens and extend such studies to the new techniques of recent 
poetry. Actually, the very foundations and main criteria of 
metrics are still uncertain , and there is an astonishing amount of 
loose thinking and confused or shifting terminology even in 
standard treatises. Saintsbury's History of English Prosody, 
which in its scale has never been surpassed or equaled, rests on 
completely undefined and vague theoretical foundations. In his 

1 68 Theory of Literature 

strange empiricism, Saintsbury is even proud of his refusal to 
define or even to describe his terms. He speaks, for instance, of 
longs and shorts, but cannot make up his mind whether his term 
refers to distinctions in duration or stress. 28 In his Study of 
Poetry, Bliss Perry speaks confusedly and confusingly of the 
"weight" of words, "the relative loudness or pitch, by which 
their meaning or importance is indicated." 29 Similar misconcep- 
tions and equivocations could be easily quoted from many other 
standard books. Even when correct distinctions are made, they 
may be disguised under a completely contradictory terminology. 
Thus T. S. Omond's elaborate history of English metrical 
theories and Pallister Barkas' useful survey of recent theories 30 
must be welcomed as attempts to straighten out these confusions 
though their conclusions support an unwarranted skepticism. 
One must multiply these distinctions many times when we con- 
sider the enormous variety of metrical theories on the Continent, 
especially in France, Germany, and Russia. 

For our purposes it will be best to distinguish only the main 
types of metrical theories without getting involved in the finer 
differences or in mixed types. The oldest type can be called 
"graphic" prosody and is derived from Renaissance handbooks. 
It works with graphic signs of longs and shorts, which in English 
usually are meant to represent the stressed and unstressed syl- 
lables. Graphic prosodists usually attempt to draw up metrical 
schemes or patterns which the poet is assumed to observe exactly. 
We all have learned their terminology in school, have heard of 
iambs, trochees, anapaests, and spondees. These terms are still 
the most widely understood and the most useful for ordinary 
descriptions and discussions of metrical patterns. Yet the insuf- 
ficiency of the whole system is today widely recognized. It is 
obvious that the theory pays no attention to actual sound and that 
its usual dogmatism is completely mistaken. Everybody today 
understands that verse would be the dullest of monotones if it 
really fulfilled the graphic patterns exactly. The theory lingers 
mostly in classrooms and elementary textbooks. It has, however, 
its merits. It concentrates frankly on metrical patterns and ig- 
nores the minutiae and personal idiosyncrasies of the performer, 
a difficulty which many modern systems have been unable to 
avoid. Graphic metrics knows that meter is not merely a matter 

Eufhony y Rhythm, and Meter 169 

of sound, that there is a metrical pattern which is thought of as 
implied or underlying the actual poem. 

The second type is the "musical" theory, based on the assump- 
tion, correct as far as it goes, that meter in poetry is analogous 
to rhythm in music and thus best represented by musical notation. 
An early standard exposition in English is Sidney Lanier's 
Science of English Verse ( 1 880) 5 but the theory has been refined 
upon and modified by recent investigators. 31 In America, at least 
among teachers of English, it seems the accepted theory. Accord- 
ing to this system, each syllable is assigned a musical note, of un- 
designated height. The length of the note is determined rather 
arbitrarily by assigning a half-note to a long syllable, a quarter- 
note to a semi-short syllable, an eighth-note to a short syllable, 
and so on. Measures are counted from one accented syllable to 
another j and the speed of reading is indicated rather vaguely by 
choosing either % or %, or in rare cases % measures. With such 
a system it is possible to arrive at the notation of any English 
text, e.g., an ordinary English pentameter line like Pope's 

Lo } the foor Indian whose untutored mind 

can be written out as % thus 

l;.;;!j;;h;;lx ;.|j" 

fyihemr in-U-m whse m~tu>-tm& mini 

According to this theory, the distinction of iamb and trochee will 
be completely reinterpreted, the iamb being merely character- 
ized by an anacrusis, which is considered extrametrical or counted 
with the preceding line. Even the most complex meters can be 
written out in such a notation by a judicious introduction of rests 
and the handling of longs and shorts. 33 

The theory has the merit of strongly stressing the tendency of 
verse toward subjectively felt isochronism, the ways in which we 
slow down or speed up, lengthen or shorten the reading of 
words, introduce pauses to equalize measures. The notation will 
be most successful with "singable" verse, but it seems highly in- 

170 Theory of Literature 

adequate in dealing with colloquial or oratorical types of verse 
and is usually helpless when it has to deal with free verse or any 
verse which is not isochronic. Some propounders of the theory 
simply deny that free verse is verse. 34 Musical theorists can 
handle ballad meter as "dipodic," or even double compound 
measures successfully, 35 and can account for some metrical 
phenomena by the introduction of the term "syncopation." In 
Browning's verses 

The gray sea and the long black land 
And the yellow half-moon large and low 

"sea" and "black" in the first line and "half" in the second can 
be noted as syncopated. The merits of the musical theory are 
obvious: it did much to defeat the usual schoolroom dogmatism; 
and it allowed the handling and notation of meters unprovided 
for in textbooks, e.g., some of the complex meters of Swinburne, 
Meredith, or Browning. But the theory has serious deficiencies: 
it gives free reign to arbitrary individual readings; it levels out 
distinctions between poets and schools of poetry by reducing all 
verse to a few types of monotonous beats. It seems to invite or 
imply chant-like oral performance of all poetry. And the iso- 
chronism it establishes is little more than subjective, a system of 
sound and rest sections perceived as equalized when compared 
with each other. 

A third metrical theory, acoustic metrics, is today widely 
respected. It is based on objective investigations, frequently em- 
ploying scientific instruments such as the oscillograph, which 
allows the recording and even photographing of the actual 
events in the reading of poetry. The techniques of scientific 
sound-investigation were applied to metrics by Sievers and Saran 
in Germany, by Verrier, who used mostly English materials, in 
France, and, in America, by E. W. Scripture. 30 A brief statement 
of some basic results can be found in Wilbur L. Schramm's 
Affroaches to a Science of English Verse? 1 Acoustical metrics 
has clearly established the distinct elements constituent of meter. 
Today, therefore, there is no excuse for confusing pitch, loud- 
ness, timbre and time, since these can be shown to correspond to 
the physical, measurable factors of frequency, amplitude, form, 
and duration of the sound-waves emitted by the speaker. We can 

Euphony y Rhythm, and Meter 171 

photograph or draw the findings of the physical instruments so 
clearly that we can study every minute detail of the actual events 
of any recitation. The oscillograph will show us with what loud- 
ness, and what time, with what changes of pitch, a given reader 
recited this or that line of poetry. The first line of Paradise Lost 
will appear as a figure similar to the violent oscillations on a 
seismograph during an earthquake. 38 This is indubitably an 
achievement j and many scientifically inclined people (among 
whom, of course, are many Americans) conclude that we cannot 
go beyond these findings. Yet laboratory metrics obviously ig- 
nores, and has to ignore, meaning : thus it is concluded that there 
is no such thing as a syllable, since there is a continuum of voice ; 
that there is no such thing as a word, since its limits cannot ap- 
pear on the oscillograph} and that there is even no melody in the 
strict sense, since pitch, carried only by the vowels and a few con- 
sonants, is constantly interrupted by noises. Acoustic metrics also 
shows that there is no strict isochronism, since the actual duration 
of measures varies considerably. There are no fixed "longs and 
shorts," at least in English, for a "short" syllable may be 
physically longer than a "long"} and there are even no objective 
distinctions of stress, for a "stressed" syllable may be actually 
pronounced with less intensity than an unstressed one. 

But while one may acknowledge the usefulness of these results, 
the very foundations of this "science" are open to grave objec- 
tions which greatly minimize its values for literary students. The 
whole assumption that the findings of the oscillograph are 
directly relevant to the study of metrics is mistaken. The time of 
verse-language is a time of expectation. 39 We expect after a 
certain time a rhythmical signal, but this periodicity need not be 
exact nor need the signal be actually strong so long as we feel 
it to be strong. Musical metrics is indubitably correct in saying 
that all these distinctions of time and stress as well as pitch are 
only relative and subjective. But acoustic and musical metrics 
share one common defect or, rather, limitation: they rely ex- 
clusively on sound, on a single or many performances of reciters. 
The results of acoustic and musical metrics are conclusive only 
for this or that particular recitation. They ignore the fact that a 
reciter may or may not recite correctly, that he may add elements 
or may distort or completely disregard the pattern. 

172 Theory of Literature 

A line like 

Silent upon a -peak in Darien 

can be read by imposing the metrical pattern: "Silent upon a 

peak in Darien" ; or it may be read as prose: "Silent upon a peak 

in Darien" j or it may be read in various ways reconciling the 

metrical pattern and the prose rhythm. In hearing "silent" we 

shall, as English speakers, feel the violence done to "natural" 

speech; in hearing "silent" we still shall feel the "carry-over" of 
the metrical pattern from the preceding lines. The compromise 
of a "hovering accent" may be anywhere between the two ex- 
tremes ; but in all cases, whatever the reading, the specific per- 
formance of a reciter will be irrelevant to an analysis of the 
prosodic situation, which consists precisely in the tension, the 
"counterpoint," between the metrical pattern and the prose 

The pattern of verse is inaccessible and incomprehensible to 
merely acoustic or musical methods. The meaning of verse 
simply cannot be ignored in a theory of metrics. One of the 
best musical metrists, George R. Stewart, formulates, for ex- 
ample, that "verse can exist without meaning," that since "meter 
is essentially independent of meaning, we may with propriety 
attempt to reproduce the metrical structure of any particular line 
entirely apart from its meaning." 40 Verrier and Saran have 
formulated the dogma that we must take the viewpoint of a 
foreigner who listens to the verse without understanding the 
language. 41 But this conception, which in practice is quite un- 
tenable and is actually deserted by Stewart, 42 must result in dis- 
astrous consequences for any literary study of metrics. If we 
ignore meaning, we give up the concept of word and phrase and 
thus give up the possibility of analyzing the differences between 
the verse of different authors. English verse is largely deter- 
mined by the counterpoint between the imposed phrasing, the 
rhythmical impulse, and the actual speech rhythm conditioned 
by phrasal divisions. But the phrasal division can be ascertained 
only upon familiarity with the meaning of the verse. 

Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 173 

The Russian formalists 43 have therefore tried to put metrics 
on an entirely new basis. The term "foot" seems to them inade- 
quate, since there is much verse without "feet." Isochronism, 
though subjectively applicable to much verse, is also limited to 
particular types and, furthermore, is not accessible to objective 
investigation. All these theories, they argue, wrongly define the 
fundamental unit of poetic rhythm. If we see verse merely as 
segments grouped around some stressed syllable (or long syl- 
lable, in quantitative systems), we shall be unable to deny that 
the same groupings, and even the same order of groupings, can 
be found in types of linguistic pronouncements not describable as 
poetry. The fundamental unity of rhythm is, then, not the foot 
but the whole line, a conclusion which follows from the general 
Gestalt theory which the Russians embrace. Feet have no inde- 
pendent existence j they exist only in relation to the whole verse. 
Each stress has its own peculiarities according to its position in 
the verse, that is, whether it is the first, the second, or the third, 
etc., foot. The organizing unity in verse varies in different lan- 
guages and metrical systems. It may be "melody," that is, the 
sequence of pitches which, in certain free verse, may be the only 
mark distinguishing it from prose. 44 If we do not know from the 
context, or the arrangement of print which serves as a signal, that 
a passage of free verse is verse, we could read it as prose and 
indeed not distinguish it from prose. Yet it can be read as verse 
and, as such, will be read differently, i.e., with a different intona- 
tion. This intonation, they show in great detail, is always two- 
part, or dipodic; and if we eliminate it, verse ceases to be verse, 
becoming merely rhythmical prose. 

In the study of ordinary metrical verse, the Russians apply 
statistical methods to the relation between the pattern and the 
speech rhythm. Verse is conceived as an elaborate contrapuntal 
pattern between the superimposed meter and the ordinary 
rhythm of speech, for, as they strikingly say, verse is "organized 
violence" committed on everyday language. They distinguish 
"rhythmical impulse" from pattern. Pattern is static, graphic. 
"Rhythmical impulse" is dynamic, progressive. We anticipate 
the signals which are to follow. We organize not only the time 
but all the other elements of the work of art. Rhythmical im- 

174 Theory of Literature 

pulse, so conceived, influences the choice of words, the syntactical 
structure, and hence the general meaning of a verse. 

The statistical method used is very simple. In each poem or 
section of a poem to be analyzed, one counts the percentage of 
cases in which each syllable carries a stress. If, in a pentameter 
line, the verse should be absolutely regular, the statistics would 
show zero percentage on the first syllable, ioo per cent on the 
second, zero on the third, ioo on the fourth, etc. This could be 
shown graphically by drawing one line for the number of syl- 
lables and another, vertically opposed to it, for the percentages. 
Verse of such regularity, is of course, infrequent, for the simple 
reason that it is extremely monotonous. Most verse shows a 
counterpoint between pattern and actual fulfillment, e.g., in 
blank verse the number of cases of accents on the first syllable 
may be rather high, a well-known phenomenon described either 
as the "trochaic foot," or "hovering" accent, or "substitution." In 
a diagram, the graph may appear flattened out very consider- 
ably ; but if it is still pentameter and intended as such, the graph 
will preserve some general tendency toward culmination points 
on syllables 2, 4, 6, and 8. This statistical method is, of course, no 
end in itself. But it has the advantage of taking account of the 
whole poem and thus revealing tendencies which may not be 
clearly marked in a few lines. It has the further advantage of 
exhibiting at a glance the differences between schools of poetry 
and authors. In Russian, the method works especially well, since 
each word has only a single accent (subsidiary accents are not 
stresses but matters of breathing) , while in English good statis- 
tics would be fairly complex, taking into account the secondary 
accent and the many enclitic and proclitic words. 

Great stress is laid by Russian metrists on the fact that different 
schools and different authors fulfill ideal patterns differently, 
that each school or sometimes author has its own metrical norm, 
and that it is unfair and false to judge schools and authors in the 
light of any one particular dogma. The history of versification 
appears as a constant conflict between different norms, and one 
extreme is very likely to be replaced by another. The Russians 
also stress, most usefully, the vast differences between linguistic 
systems of versification. The usual classification of verse systems 
into syllabic, accentual, and quantitative is not only insufficient 

Eufhony, Rhythm, and Meter 175 

but even misleading. For instance, in Serbo-Croat and Finnish 
epic verse, all three principles — syllabism, quantity, and accent — 
play their part. Modern research has shown that the supposedly 
purely quantitative Latin prosody was, in practice, considerably 
modified by attention to accent and to the limits of words. 45 

Languages vary according to the element which is the basis of 
its rhythm. English is obviously determined by stress, while 
quantity, in English, is subordinated to accent, and the word 
limits also play an important rhythmical function. The rhyth- 
mical difference between a line made out of monosyllables and 
one entirely made out of polysyllabic words is striking. In Czech, 
the word limit is the basis of rhythm, which is always accom- 
panied by obligatory stress, while quantity appears as merely an 
optional diversifying element. In Chinese, pitch is the main basis 
of rhythm, while in ancient Greek, quantity was the organizing 
principle, with pitch and the limits of words as optional diversi- 
fying elements. 

Within the history of a specific language, though systems of 
versification may have been replaced by other systems, we should 
not speak of "progress" or condemn the older systems as mere 
clumsy doggerel, mere approximations to the later established 
systems. In Russian, a long period was dominated by syllabism, 
in Czech, by quantitative prosody. The study of the history of 
English versification from Chaucer to Surrey could be revolu- 
tionized were it realized that poets such as Lydgate, Hawes, and 
Skelton did not write imperfect verse but followed conventions 
of their own. 46 Even a reasoned defense of the much-ridiculed 
attempt to introduce quantitative meter into English by men of 
such distinction as Sidney, Spenser, and Gabriel Harvey could be 
attempted. Their abortive movement was at least historically im- 
portant for the breaking down of the syllabic rigidity of much 
earlier English verse. 

It is also possible to attempt a comparative history of metrics. 
The famous French linguist, Antoine Meillet, in his Les Ori- 
gines indoeurofeennes des metres grecs, compared ancient Greek 
and Vedic meters for the purpose of reconstructing the Indo- 
European metrical system; 4T and Roman Jakobson has shown 
that the Yugoslav epic verse is very close to this ancient pattern 
which combines a syllabic line with a curiously rigid quantitative 

176 Theory of Literature 

clause. 48 It is possible to distinguish and to trace the history of 
different types of folklore verse. The epic recitative and the 
"melodic" verse used in the lyric must be sharply differentiated. 
In every language, epic verse seems to be far more conservative, 
while song verse, which is most closely associated with a lan- 
guage's phonetic features, is liable to far greater national diver- 
sity. Even for modern verse, it is important to keep in mind the 
distinctions between oratorical, conversational, and "melodic" 
verse, distinctions ignored by most English metrists, who, under 
influence of the musical theory, are preoccupied with song 
verse. 49 

In a valuable study of nineteenth-century Russian lyrical 
verse, 50 Boris Eikhenbaum has attempted to analyze the role of 
intonation in "melodic," "singable" verse. He shows strikingly 
how the Russian romantic lyric has exploited tripodic measures, 
intonation schemes such as exclamatory and interrogatory sen- 
tences, and syntactical patterns such as parallelism ; but, in our 
opinion, he has not established his central thesis of the forming 
power of intonation in "singable" verse. 51 

We may be doubtful about a good many features of the Rus- 
sian theories, but one cannot deny that they have found a way 
out of the impasse of the laboratory on the one hand, and the 
mere subjectivism of the musical metrists on the other. Much is 
still obscure and controversial ; but metrics has today restored 
the necessary contact with linguistics and with literary semantics. 
Sound and meter, we see, must be studied as elements of the 
totality of a work of art, not in isolation from meaning. 


Style and Stylistics 

Language is quite literally the material of the literary artist. 
Every literary work, one could say, is merely a selection from a 
given language, just as a work of sculpture has been described as 
a block of marble with some pieces chipped off. In his little book 
English Poetry and the English Language, F. W. Bateson has 
argued that literature is a part of the general history of language 
and is completely dependent on it. "My thesis is that the age's 
imprint in a poem is not to be traced to the poet but to the lan- 
guage. The real history of poetry is, I believe, the history of the 
changes in the kind of language in which successive poems have 
been written. And it is these changes of language only that are 
due to the pressure of social and intellectual tendencies." x Bate- 
son makes out a good case for this close dependence of poetical 
history on linguistic history. Certainly the evolution of English 
poetry parallels at least the loose buoyancy of the Elizabethan 
speech, the tamed clarity of the eighteenth century, and the 
vague diffuseness of Victorian English. Linguistic theories cer- 
tainly play an important part in the history of poetry, e.g., 
Hobbesian rationalism, with its stress on denotation, clarity, and 
scientific precision, has influenced English poetry profoundly 
though often deviously. 

One can argue, with Karl Vossler, that the "literary history 
of certain periods would gain by an analysis of the linguistic 
milieu at least as much as by the usual analyses of political, social, 
and religious tendencies or the country and climate." 2 Espe- 
cially in periods and countries where several linguistic conven- 
tions are struggling for domination, the uses, attitudes, and 
allegiances of a poet may be important not only for the develop- 
ment of the linguistic system but for an understanding of his own 
art. In Italy, the "language question" can scarcely be ignored by 
literary historians. Vossler has put his study of literature to con- 


178 Theory of Literature 

stant good usage in his Frankrekhs Kultur im Spiegel seiner 
Sfrachentwicklung; and in Russia, Viktor Vinogradov has care- 
fully analyzed Pushkin's use of the different elements in the cur- 
rent Russian language: the Church Slavic, the popular speech, 
the Gallicisms and Teutonisms. 3 

Yet surely Bateson's case is overstated, and the view that 
poetry passively reflects linguistic changes is impossible to accept. 
The relation between language and literature is, as we must 
never forget, a dialectical relation : literature has profoundly in- 
fluenced the development of language. Neither modern French 
nor modern English would be the language it is without its neo- 
classical literature, just as modern German would not be itself 
lacking the influence of Luther, Goethe, and the Romantics. 

Nor is the isolation of literature from direct intellectual or 
social influences tenable. Eighteenth-century poetry was limpid 
and clear because the language had become limpid and clear, 
argues Bateson, so that the poets, whether rationalists or not, 
must use the ready-made instrument. But Blake and Christopher 
Smart show how men possessed by an irrational or anti-rational 
view of the world can transform poetic diction or revert to an 
earlier phase of it. 

Indeed, the mere fact that it is possible to write not only a 
history of ideas but a history also of genres, metrical patterns, 
and themes, which will include literatures of several languages, 
demonstrates that literature cannot be completely dependent on 
language. Obviously, one must also draw a distinction between 
poetry on the one hand and the novel and the drama on the other. 
F. W. Bateson has primarily poetry in mindj and it is hard to 
deny that, when closely organized, poetry is intimately asso- 
ciated with the sound and meaning of a language. 

The reasons are more or less evident. Meter organizes the 
sound-character of language. It regularizes the rhythm of prose, 
approximating it to isochronism, and thus simplifying the rela- 
tion between syllabic lengths. It slows up the tempo, prolonging 
vowels, in order to exhibit their overtones or tone color (timbre). 
It simplifies and regularizes intonation, the melody of speech. 4 
The influence of meter is, then, to actualize words: to point them 
and to direct attention to their sound. In good poetry, the rela- 
tions between words are very strongly emphasized. 

Style and Stylistics 179 

The meaning of poetry is contextual: a word carries with it not 
only its dictionary meaning but an aura of synonyms and homo- 
nyms. Words not only have a meaning but evoke the meanings 
of words related either in sound, or in sense, or in derivation — or 
even words which are contrasted or excluded. 

Language study thus becomes extraordinarily important for 
the student of poetry. But by language study we mean, of course, 
pursuits usually ignored or slighted by professional linguists. 
Historical accidence or historical phonology will little concern 
most students of literature. Save for the rare questions of pro- 
nunciation needed in the history of meter and rhyme, the 
modern student of literature will not have much use for historical 
accidence or phonology, or even experimental phonetics. But he 
will need linguistics of a specific kind — first of all, lexicology, the 
study of meaning and its changes. If he has to have a proper 
grasp of the meaning of many older words, the student of older 
English poetry can scarcely manage without the OED. Even 
etymology will help him if he is to understand the Latinized 
vocabulary of Milton or the highly Teutonic word formations 
of Hopkins. 

The importance of linguistic study is not, of course, confined 
to the understanding of single words or phrases. Literature is 
related to all aspects of language. A work of art is, first, a system 
of sounds, hence a selection from the sound-system of a given 
language. Our discussion of euphony, rhythm, and meter has 
shown the importance of linguistic considerations for many of 
these problems. Phonemics seems indispensable for comparative 
metrics and a proper analysis of sound-patterns. 

For literary purposes, the phonetic level of a language can- 
not, of course, be isolated from its meaning. And, on the other 
hand, the structure of meaning is itself amenable to linguistic 
analysis. We can write the grammar of a literary work of art or 
any group of works beginning with phonology and accidence, 
going on to vocabulary (barbarisms, provincialisms, archaisms, 
neologisms), and rising to syntax (e.g., inversion, antithesis, and 

There are two points of view from which it is possible to study 
the language of literature. We may use the literary work only 

180 Theory of Literature 

as a document in linguistic history. For example, the Owl and 
the Nightingale and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight can il- 
lustrate the characteristics of certain Middle English dialects. 
There is rich material for the history of the English language 
in writers like Skelton, Nashe, and Ben Jonson: a recent Swedish 
work, by A. H. King, uses Ben Jonson's Poetaster for a careful 
analysis of social and class dialects of the time. Franz has done 
a very thorough Shakespeare grammatik. Lazare Sainean has 
written two volumes on the language of Rabelais. 5 In these 
studies, however, literary works are used as sources and docu- 
ments for other purposes, those of linguistic science. But 
linguistic study becomes literary only when it serves the study of 
literature, when it aims at investigating the aesthetic effects of 
language — in short, when it becomes stylistics (at least, in one 
sense of this term). 6 

Stylistics, of course, cannot be pursued successfully without a 
thorough grounding in general linguistics, since precisely one 
of its central concerns is the contrast of the language system of a 
literary work of art with the general usage of the time. Without 
knowledge of what is common speech, even unliterary speech, 
and what are the different social languages of a time, stylistics 
can scarcely transcend impressionism. The assumption that, espe- 
cially for past periods, we know the distinction between common 
speech and artistic deviation is, regrettably, quite unfounded. 
Much closer study must be given to the diversely stratified 
speech of remote times before we shall possess the proper back- 
ground for judgment of the diction of an author or of a literary 

In practice, we simply apply, instinctively, the standards we 
derive from our present-day usage. But such standards may be 
largely misleading. In the reading of much older poetry, we 
need shut out our modern linguistic consciousness. We must for- 
get the modern meaning even in such lines as Tennyson's 

And this is well 
To have a dame indoors, who trims us up 
And keeps us tight? 

But if we admit the necessity of historical reconstruction in such 
obvious cases, can we stipulate its possibility in all cases? Can we 

Style and Stylistics 1 8 1 

ever learn Anglo-Saxon or Middle English, not to speak of 
ancient Greek, well enough to forget our own current language? 
And if we could, are we necessarily better critics by constituting 
ourselves linguistic contemporaries of the author? Could not the 
retention of the modern association in verses like Marvell's 

My vegetable love would grow 
Vaster than em-fires and more slow 8 

be defended as an enrichment of its meanings? Louis Teeter 
comments: "The grotesque conception of an erotic cabbage out- 
lasting the pyramids and overshadowing them seems the result 
of studied artistry. We may be sure, however, that Marvell him- 
self had no such precise effect in mind. To the seventeenth cen- 
tury, vegetable meant vegetative, and the poet probably was 
using it in the sense of the life-giving principle. He could 
scarcely have had in mind the truck-garden connotation that it 
bears today." 9 One may ask, with Teeter, whether it is desirable 
to get rid of the modern connotation and whether, at least, in 
extreme cases, it is possible. We are again at the question of his- 
torical "reconstructionism," its possibility and desirability. 

There have been attempts, like that of Charles Bally, 10 to 
make stylistics a mere subdivision of linguistics 3 but stylistics, 
whether an independent science or not, has its own very definite 
problems. Some of these, it would seem, belong to all or prac- 
tically all human speech. Stylistics, conceived in this wide sense, 
investigates all devices which aim at some specific expressive end 
and thus embraces far more than literature or even rhetoric. All 
devices for securing emphasis or explicitness can be classed under 
stylistics: metaphors, which permeate all languages, even of the 
most primitive type; all rhetorical figures; syntactical patterns. 
Nearly every linguistic utterance can be studied from the point 
of view of its expressive value. It seems impossible to ignore this 
problem as the "behavioristic" school of linguistics in America 
very consciously does. 

In traditional stylistics, these questions are usually answered in 
a haphazard and arbitrary fashion. Figures are dichotomized into 
intensifying or minimizing. The intensifying figures, such as 
repetition, accumulation, hyperbole, and climax, have been as- 

1 82 Theory of Literature 

sociated with the "sublime" style, described in some detail in the 
famous Peri hypsous y ascribed to Longinus. In connection with 
Homer, and then with Shakespeare, Milton, and Dante, the 
"grand style" has been discussed by Matthew Arnold and Saints- 
bury, who elaborately confounded psychological problems with 
problems of literary evaluation. 11 

It seems impossible, however, to prove that specific figures 
and devices must, under all circumstances, have specific effects or 
"expressive values." In the Bible and in chronicles, the co-ordi- 
nate sentence constructions ("and . . . and . . . and") have a 
leisurely effect of narration ; yet in a romantic poem, a series of 
"ands" may be steps in a stair of breathlessly excited questions. 
A hyperbole may be tragic or pathetic, but it may also be gro- 
tesque and comic. Besides, certain figures or syntactic features 
recur so frequently, and in so many different contexts, that they 
cannot have specific expressive meaning. One notices that Cicero 
uses litotes or a fraeteritio several times in a few pages ; one 
counts so many hundred balances in the Ramblers of Johnson. 
Both practices suggest play with words, disregard of meaning. 12 

But while the atomistic view of a one-to-one relation between 
a figure and a specific "expressive value" must be abandoned, the 
establishment of a specific relation between stylistic traits and 
effects is not impossible. One way is to show that certain figures 
recur again and again, combined with other recurrent figures, in 
passages with certain meaning-tone: sublime, comic, graceful, or 
naive. One can argue, as W. K. Wimsatt does, that mere repeti- 
tion of a device does not make it meaningless. "Sentence-patterns 
recur, like declensions and conjugations ; but they are still ex- 
pressive forms." 13 One need not be content, after the manner of 
classical antiquity, with classifying styles as high and low, Asiatic 
and Attic, and the like ; one can think out complex schemes such 
as those propounded in Wilhelm Schneider's Ausdruckswerte 
der deutschen Sfrache (1931). According to the relations of 
words to the object, styles are divisible into conceptual and sen- 
suous, succinct and long-winded, or minimizing and exaggerat- 
ing, decisive and vague, quiet and excited, low and high, simple 
and decorated j according to the relations among the words, into 
tense and lax, plastic and musical, smooth and rough, colorless 
and colorful 3 according to the relations of words to the total sys- 

Style and Stylistics 183 

tern of the language, into spoken and written, cliche and indi- 
vidual ; and, according to the relation of the words to the author, 
into objective and subjective. 14 These classifications can be ap- 
plied to practically all linguistic utterances ; but obviously most 
of the evidence is drawn from works of literature and directed 
to an analysis of literary style. Thus conceived, stylistics seems to 
have found the right mean between the old disjointed study of 
figures based on the classifications of rhetoric and the more 
grandiose but less concrete speculations on period styles (the 
Gothic or Baroque). 

Much of this work, unfortunately, has been inspired either by 
narrowly prescriptive purposes — which make stylistics the recom- 
mendation of a certain "middle" style of exposition, with its 
ideals of precision and clarity, and presently a pedagogic 
discipline — or by nationalistic exaltation of a specific language. 
The Germans are especially guilty of fanciful generalizations on 
the differences between the main European languages. Even 
prominent scholars like Wechssler, Vossler, and Deutschbein 15 
indulge in conjectures not really verifiable and rush to conclu- 
sions about national psychology. This is not to deny the existence 
of a problem: the "behavioristic" point of view that all languages 
are equal seems manifestly absurd if we compare a language 
without developed literature with one of the great European 
languages. The great European languages differ widely in syn- 
tactical patterns, "idioms," and other conventions, as any trans- 
lator has discovered. For certain purposes, English or French or 
German seems less fit than one of its rivals. But the differences 
are undoubtedly due to social, historical, and literary influences 
which, though describable, have not yet been described fully 
enough to warrant reduction to basic national psychologies. A 
"comparative" stylistics seems a science of the distant future. 

A purely literary and aesthetic use of stylistics limits it to the 
study of a work of art or a group of works which are to be de- 
scribed in terms of their aesthetic function and meaning. Only if 
this aesthetic interest is central will stylistics be a part of literary 
scholarship; and it will be an important part because only 
stylistic methods can define the specific characteristics of a literary 
work. There are two possible methods of approaching such a 
stylistic analysis : the first is to proceed by a systematic analysis of 

184 Theory of Literature 

its linguistic system and to interpret its features, in terms of the 
aesthetic purpose of the work, as "total meaning." Style then 
appears as the individual linguistic system of a work, or a group 
of works. A second, not contradictory, approach is to study the 
sum of individual traits by which this system differs from com- 
parable systems. The method here is that of contrast: we observe 
the deviations and distortions from normal usage, and try to 
discover their aesthetic purpose. In ordinary communicative 
speech, no attention is drawn to the sound of words, or to word 
order (which, in English at least, will normally pass from actor 
to action), or to sentence structure (which will be enumerative, 
co-ordinate). A first step in stylistic analysis will be to observe 
such deviations as the repetitions of sound, the inversion of word 
order, the construction of involved hierarchies of clauses, all of 
which must serve some aesthetic function such as emphasis or 
explicitness or their opposites — the aesthetically justified blurring 
of distinctions or obscurity. 

With some works and some authors, such a task will be com- 
paratively easy. The sound-schemes and similes drawn from the 
bestiaries in Lyly's Euphues are unmistakable. 16 Spenser, who, 
according to Jonson, wrote "no language," uses an easily ana- 
lyzable set of archaisms, neologisms, and provincialisms. 17 Mil- 
ton not only uses a Latinized vocabulary, in which English words 
have the sense of their archetypes, but also has his own charac- 
teristic sentence structures. The diction of Gerard Manley Hop- 
kins is characterized by its Saxon and dialectal words, its studied 
avoidance of the Latin vocabulary, prompted by theory and 
backed by a movement of linguistic Teutonizers, and its peculiar 
word formations and compounds. 18 It is not difficult to analyze 
the style of such pronouncedly "mannered" authors as Carlyle, 
Meredith, Pater, or Henry James, or even of authors who, 
though of little artistic importance, cultivated their idiosyn- 

In many other cases, however, it will be far more difficult to 
isolate and define the stylistic characteristics of an author. A deli- 
cate ear and subtle observation are needed to discern a recurrent 
trait, especially in writers who, like many Elizabethan dramatists 
or eighteenth-century essayists, use a uniform style. One must be 
skeptical of such claims as J. M. Robertson's that certain words 

Style and Stylistics 185 

or "idioms" are the exclusive signatures of men like Peele, 
Greene, Marlowe, and Kyd. 19 In many of these investigations, 
stylistic analysis is indiscriminately combined with study of con- 
tent-links, sources, and other matters such as recurrent allusions. 
When that is the case, stylistics serves only as a tool for a dif- 
ferent purpose: the identification of an author, the establishment 
of authenticity, a detective job at most preparatory to literary 

Difficult practical problems are raised by the existence of 
prevalent styles, by the power of a single author to excite imita- 
tion and vogue. Formerly, the idea of genre had a powerful 
force upon stylistic tradition. In Chaucer, for example, there is 
a wide differentiation of styles between the individual stories of 
the Canterbury Tales and, more generally, between his works of 
different periods and literary types. In the eighteenth century, a 
Pindaric ode, a satire, a ballad had each its own required vocabu- 
lary and style. "Poetic diction" was confined to specific genres, 
while a homely vocabulary was permitted or even prescribed in 
low genres. Even Wordsworth, in spite of his condemnation of 
poetic diction, wrote very differently when he composed an ode, 
a topographical reflective poem like T intern Abbey, a Miltonic 
sonnet, or a "lyrical ballad." If we ignore such distinctions, we 
characterize but futilely the style of an author who has cultivated 
many genres or passed through a long personal evolution. It is 
probably best to speak of the "styles" of Goethe, since we can- 
not reconcile the enormous differences between the early Sturm 
und Drang style, that of the classical period, and the late, pom- 
pous and involved manner of the Elective Affinities. 

This method of stylistic analysis — of concentrating on the 
peculiarities of style, on traits differentiating it from the sur- 
rounding linguistic systems — has obvious dangers. We are likely 
to accumulate isolated observations, specimens of the marked 
traits, and to forget that a work of art is a whole. We are likely 
to overstress "originality," individuality, the merely idiosyn- 
cratic. Preferable is the attempt to describe a style completely 
and systematically, according to linguistic principles. In Russia, 
Viktor Vinogradov has written masterly studies of Pushkin's and 
Tolstoy's language. In Poland and in Czechoslovakia, systematic 

1 86 Theory of Literature 

stylistics has attracted many able practitioners j and in Spain, 
Damaso Alonso has begun the systematic analysis of Gongora's 
poetry, while Amado Alonso has sensitively analyzed the poetic 
style of Pablo Neruda. 20 The danger of the method is the ideal 
of a "scientific" completeness. The analyst may forget that 
artistic effect and emphasis are not identical with the mere fre- 
quency of a device. Thus Miss Josephine Miles is misled by 
statistical evidence into stressing the Pre-Raphaelite element in 
Hopkins' diction. 21 

Stylistic analysis seems most profitable to literary study when 
it can establish some unifying principle, some general aesthetic 
aim pervasive of a whole work. If we take, for example, an 
eighteenth-century descriptive poet such as James Thomson, we 
should be able to show how his stylistic traits interlock. The 
Miltonic blank verse puts certain denials and demands on the 
choice of vocabulary. The vocabulary requires periphrasis, and 
periphrasis implies a tension between word and thing: the object 
is not named but its qualities are enumerated. Stress on qualities 
and their enumeration implies description ; and the particular 
type of nature description practiced in the eighteenth century 
implies a specific philosophy, the argument from design. In his 
book on Pope, and his essays on eighteenth-century poetic dic- 
tion, Geoffrey Tillotson has accumulated many acute observa- 
tions of this kind, e.g., on the peculiar ideology of poetic diction, 
its "Physico-theological nomenclature," as he calls it ; but he has 
failed to integrate them into a total analysis of the style. 22 Such 
a procedure, leading from metrical considerations to problems of 
content and even philosophy must not, of course, be misunder- 
stood to mean a process ascribing priority, either logical or 
chronological, to any one of these elements. Ideally, we should 
be able to start at any given point and should arrive at the same 

This type of demonstration shows how stylistic analysis can 
easily lead to problems of content. In an intuitive, unsystematic 
fashion, critics have long analyzed styles as expressive of particu- 
lar philosophical attitudes. In his Goethe, Gundolf sensitively 
analyzed the language of the early poems, showing how the 
poet's dynamic speech reflects his turn toward a dynamic con- 
ception of nature. 23 Hermann Nohl has tried to show that 

Style and Stylistics 187 

stylistic traits can be associated with the three types of philosophy 
devised by Dilthey. 24 

German scholars have also developed a more systematic ap- 
proach, called Motif/ und Wort, based on the assumption of 
a parallelism between linguistic traits and content-elements. Leo 
Spitzer early applied it by investigating the recurrence of such 
motifs as blood and wounds in the writings of Henri Barbusse, 
and Josef Korner has fully studied the motifs in Arthur 
Schnitzler's writings. 25 Later, Spitzer has tried to establish the 
connection between recurrent stylistic traits and the philosophy 
of the author, e.g., he connects the repetitive style of Peguy with 
his Bergsonism and the style of Jules Romains with his 
Unanimism. Analysis of the word myths of Christian Morgen- 
stern (the author of nonsense verse vaguely comparable to Lewis 
Carroll's) shows that he must have read Mauthner's nominalistic 
Kritik der S-prache y drawing from it the conclusion that over an 
impenetrably dark world language only swathes further veils. 26 

Some of Leo Spitzer's papers go very far in inferring the psy- 
chological characteristics of an author from the traits of his style. 
Proust lends himself to such a procedure ; in Charles Louis 
Phillipe, there is the recurrent construction "a cause de" inter- 
preted as a "fseudo-objektive Motivierung" implying a belief 
in fatalism; in Rabelais, Spitzer analyzes word formations which, 
using a known root such as Sorbonne, combine it with dozens of 
fantastic suffixes for the creation of multitudinous repulsive 
nicknames (e.g., Sorb onnagre, Sorbonne + onagre, wild ass), in 
order to show that there is in Rabelais a tension between the real 
and the unreal, between comedy and horror, between Utopia 
and naturalism. 27 The basic assumption is here, as Spitzer formu- 
lates it, that a "mental excitement which deviates from the 
normal habitus of our mental life must have a co-ordinate 
linguistic deviation from normal usage." 2S 

But this principle seems questionable. In much of his later 
work, e.g., his brilliant study of "Klassische Dampfung in 
Racine," Spitzer has confined himself to an analysis of stylistic 
traits. 29 Indeed, however ingenious some of its suggestions may 
be, psychological stylistics seems open to two objections. Many 
relationships professing to be thus established are not based on 
conclusions really drawn from the linguistic material but rather 

1 88 Theory of Literature 

start with a psychological and ideological analysis and seek for 
confirmation in the language. This would be unexceptionable if 
in practice the linguistic confirmation did not itself seem fre- 
quently strained or based on very slight evidence. Work of this 
type often assumes that true, or great, art must be based on ex- 
perience, Erlebnisy a term which invokes a slightly revised ver- 
sion of the biographical fallacy. Furthermore, the assumption of 
a necessary relationship between certain stylistic devices and cer- 
tain states of mind would appear fallacious. For example, in the 
discussion of the Baroque, most German scholars assume an in- 
evitable correspondence between dense, obscure, twisted lan- 
guage and a turbulent, divided, and tormented soul. 30 But an 
obscure, twisted style can certainly be cultivated by craftsmen 
and technicians. The whole relationship between psyche and 
word is looser and more oblique than is usually assumed. 

Thus German Stilforschung has to be treated with consider- 
able caution. Frequently, it would appear to be only a disguised 
genetic psychology, and assuredly its assumptions are very dif- 
ferent from those of Grace's aesthetics, usually considered its 
model. In Croce's system, which is completely monistic, no dis- 
tinction can be made between state of mind and linguistic ex- 
pression. Croce consistently denies the validity of all stylistic 
and rhetorical categories, che distinction between style and form, 
between form and content, and ultimately, between word and 
soul, expression and intuition. In Croce, this series of identifica- 
tion leads to a theoretical paralysis: an initially genuine insight 
into the implications of the poetical process is pushed so far that 
no distinctions are possible. It now seems clear that process and 
work, form and content, expression and style, must be kept apart, 
provisionally and in precarious suspense, till the final unity: only 
thus are possible the whole translation and rationalization which 
constitute the process of criticism. 

If we can describe the style of a work or of an author, there is 
no doubt that we can also describe the style of a group of works, 
of a genre: the Gothic novel, the Elizabethan drama, the Meta- 
physical poem -j that we can also analyze stylistic types such as 
the Baroque style of seventeenth-century prose. 31 One can gen- 
eralize even further and describe the style of a period or move- 
ment. In practice, this seems extraordinarily difficult to do with 

Style and Stylistics 1 89 

any empirical closeness. Books like E. Barat's Le Style foetique 
et la revolution romantique or Luise Thon's Die Sfrache des 
deutschen Imfressionismus trace many stylistic devices or traits 
of syntax and vocabulary in a whole school or movement. 32 And 
much has been done to describe the style of Old Teutonic 
poetry. 33 But these are mostly communal styles, fairly uniform 
in their nature, which can be treated almost like the works of a 
single author. The stylistic description of whole ages and whole 
literary movements like Classicism and Romanticism encounters 
almost unsurmountable difficulties, since we must find the com- 
mon denominator between the most diverse writers, sometimes 
writers of many countries. 

As art history has established a widely accepted series of styles, 
e.g., the Classical, the Gothic, the Renaissance, and the Baroque, 
it seems attractive to try to transfer these terms into literature. 
But in so doing, we have come back to the question of the relation 
between the arts and literature, the parallelism of the arts, and 
the succession of the great periods of our civilization. 


Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 

When we turn from classifying poems by their subject matter 
or themes to asking what kind of discourse poetry is, and when, 
instead of prose-paraphrasing, we identify the "meaning" of a 
poem with its whole complex of structures, we then encounter, 
as central poetic structure, the sequence represented by the four 
terms of our title. The two main organizing principles of poetry, 
one of our contemporaries has said, are meter and metaphor j 
moreover, "metre and metaphor 'belong together,' and our defi- 
nition of poetry will have to be general enough to include them 
both and explain their companionship." * The general theory of 
poetry implied by this statement was brilliantly expounded by 
Coleridge in Biografhia Liter aria. 

Have we, in these four terms, a single referent? Semantically, 
the terms overlap ; they clearly point to the same area of interest. 
Perhaps our sequence — image, metaphor, symbol, and myth — 
may be said to represent the convergence of two lines, both im- 
portant for the theory of poetry. One is sensuous particularity, 
or the sensuous and aesthetic continuum, which connects poetry 
with music and painting and disconnects it from philosophy and 
science j the other is "figuration" or "tropology" — the "oblique" 
discourse which speaks in metonyms and metaphors, partially 
comparing worlds, precising its themes by giving them imprac- 
tical translations into other idioms. 2 These are both characteris- 
tics, differentiae, of literature, in contrast to scientific discourse. 
Instead of aiming at a system of abstractions consistently ex- 
pressed by a system of monosigns, poetry organizes a unique, 
unrepeatable pattern of words, each an object as well as a sign 
and used in a fashion unpredictable by any system outside of the 
poem. 3 

The semantic difficulties of our topic are troublesome, and no 
ready relief seems possible beyond constant vigilant attention to 


Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 191 

how terms are used in their contexts, especially to their polar 

Imagery is a topic which belongs both to psychology and to 
literary study. In psychology, the word "image" means a mental 
reproduction, a memory, of a past sensational or perceptual ex- 
perience, not necessarily visual. The pioneer investigations of 
Francis Gal ton, in 1880, sought to discover how far men could 
visually reproduce the past, and found that men greatly differed 
in their degree of visualization. But imagery is not visual only. 
The classifications of psychologists and aestheticians are nu- 
merous. There are not only "gustatory" and "olfactory" images, 
but there are thermal images and pressure images ("kinaes- 
thetic," "haptic," "empathic"). There is the important distinc- 
tion between static imagery and kinetic (or "dynamic"). The use 
of color imagery may or may not be traditionally or privately 
symbolic. Synaesthetic imagery (whether the result of the poet's 
abnormal psychological constitution or of literary convention) 
translates from one sense into another, e.g., sound into color. 
Finally, there is the distinction, useful for the reader of poetry, 
between "tied" and "free" imagery: the former, auditory and 
muscular imagery necessarily aroused even though one reads to 
himself and approximately the same for all adequate readers ; 
the latter, visual and else, varying much from person to person 
or type to type. 4 

I. A. Richards' general conclusions, as given in his Principles 
of 1924, still seem sound: that "Too much importance has always 
been attached to the sensory qualities of images. What gives an 
image efficacy is less its vividness as an image than its character 
as a mental event peculiarly connected with sensation." Its ef- 
ficacy comes from its being "a relict" and a "representation" of 
sensation. 5 

From images as the vestigial representatives of sensations we 
move with instructive ease to the second line which runs through 
our whole area — that of analogy and comparison. Even visual 
images are not to be looked for exclusively in descriptive poetry ; 
and few who have attempted to write "imagist" or "physical" 
poetry have succeeded in restricting themselves to pictures of the 
external world. Rarely, indeed, have they wished to do so. Ezra 
Pound, theorist of several poetic movements, defined the 

192 • Theory of Literature 

"image" not as a pictorial representation but as "that which pre- 
sents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of 
time," a "unification of disparate ideas." The Imagist credo as- 
serted, "we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly 
and not deal in vague generalities, however . . . sonorous." In 
his praise of Dante and his attacks on Milton, Eliot seems to 
hold more dogmatically to the emphasis on Bildlichkeit. Dante's, 
he says, "is a visual imagination." He is an allegorist, and "for 
a competent poet, allegory means 'clear visual imagery.' " On 
the other hand Milton's is, unfortunately, an "auditory imagi- 
nation." The visual imagery in "L'Allegro" and "II Penseroso" 
is "all general ... it is not a particular ploughman, milkmaid, 
and shepherd that Milton sees . . . ; the sensuous effect of 
these verses is entirely on the ear, and is joined to the concepts 
of ploughman, milkmaid, and shepherd." 6 

In all of these pronouncements, the stress is rather on 'par- 
ticularity and the union of worlds (analogy, e.g., allegory 5 "uni- 
fication of disparate ideas") than it is on the sensuous. The visual 
image is a sensation or a perception, but it also "stands for," 
refers to, something invisible, something "inner." It can be both 
presentation and representation at once ("the black bat night has 
flown" . . . "Yonder all before us lie Desarts of vast eter- 
nity"). The image may exist as "description" or (as in our ex- 
amples) as metaphor. But may the images not offered as meta- 
phor, as seen by the "mind's eye," also be symbolic? Is not every 
perception selective? 7 

So Middleton Murry, who thinks of "simile" and "metaphor" 
as associated with the "formal classification" of rhetoric, advises 
the use of "image" as a term to include both, but warns that we 
must "resolutely exclude from our minds the suggestion that 
the image is solely or even predominantly visual." The image 
"may be visual, may be auditory," or "may be wholly psycho- 
logical." Analogous is the practice of Louis MacNeice. Though 
he distinguishes his terms, using "properties" (cf. "stage prop- 
erties") for perceptions and reserving "images" for metaphor, 
he observes the difficulty of holding to the distinction: for "the 
properties themselves may be, in the ultimate analysis, only 
symbols." Of Wordsworth, MacNeice remarks that he "does 
not require many images because his properties carry their own 

Imagey Metafhor, Symbol, Myth 193 

message." 8 In writers as different as Shakespeare r Emily Bronte, 
and Poe, we can see that the setting (a system of "properties") 
is often a metaphor or symbol: the raging sea, the storm, the wild 
moor, the decaying castle by the dank, dark tarn. 

Like "image," "symbol" has given its name to a specific lit- 
erary movement. 9 Like "image," again, it continues to appear in 
widely different contexts and very different purposes. It appears 
as a term in logic, in mathematics, in semantics and semiotics 
and epistemologyj it has also had a long history in the worlds of 
theology ("symbol" is one synonym for "creed"), of liturgy, of 
the fine arts, and of poetry. The shared element in all these cur- 
rent uses is probably that of something standing for, represent- 
ing, something else. But the Greek verb, which means to throw 
together, to compare, suggests that the idea of analogy between 
sign and signified was originally present. It still survives in some 
of the modern uses of the term. Algebraic and logical "symbols" 
are conventional, agreed-upon signs ; but religious symbols are 
based on some intrinsic relation between "sign" and thing "sig- 
nified," metonymic or metaphoric: the Cross, the Lamb, the 
Good Shepherd. In literary theory, it seems desirable that the 
word should be used in this sense: as an object which refers to 
another object but which demands attention also in its own right, 
as a presentation. 10 

There is a kind of mind which speaks of "mere symbolism," 
either reducing religion and poetry to sensuous images ritualis- 
tically arranged or evacuating the presented "signs" or "images" 
in behalf of the transcendental realities, moral or philosophical, 
which lie beyond them. Another kind of mind thinks of a sym- 
bolism as something calculated and willed, a deliberate mental 
translation of concepts into illustrative, pedagogic, sensuous 
terms. But, says Coleridge, while allegory is merely "a transla- 
tion of abstract notions into a picture language, which is itself 
nothing but an abstraction from objects of the senses . . . ," a 
symbol "is characterized by a translucence of the special [the 
species] in the individual, or of the general [genus] in the spe- 
cial . . . ; above all, by the translucence of the eternal through 
and in the temporal." X1 

Is there any important sense in which "symbol" differs from 
"image" and "metaphor"? Primarily, we think, in the recurrence 

194 Theory of Literature 

and persistence of the "symbol." An "image" may be invoked 
once as a metaphor, but if it persistently recurs, both as presenta- 
tion and representation, it becomes a symbol, may even become 
part of a symbolic (or mythic) system. Of Blake's early lyrics, 
the Songs of Innocence and of Experience, J. H. Wicksteed 
writes: "There is comparatively little actual symbolism, but 
there is constant and abundant use of symbolic metaphor." Yeats 
has an early essay on the "Ruling Symbols" in Shelley's poetry. 
"One finds in his poetry, besides innumerable images that have 
not the definiteness [fixity?] of symbols, many images that are 
certainly symbols, and as the years went by he began to use these 
with more and more deliberately symbolic purpose" — such 
images as caves and towers. 12 

What happens with impressive frequency is the turning of 
what, in a writer's early work, is "property" into the "symbol" 
of his later work. Thus in his early novels, Henry James pains- 
takingly visualizes persons and places, while, in the later novels, 
all the images have become metaphoric or symbolic. 

Whenever poetic symbolism is discussed, the distinction is 
likely to be made between the "private symbolism" of the 
modern poet and the widely intelligible symbolism of past poets. 
The phrase was first, at least, an indictment ; but our feelings and 
attitude toward poetic symbolism remain highly ambivalent. The 
alternative to "private" is difficult to phrase: if "conventional" or 
"traditional," we clash with our desire that poetry should be 
new and surprising. "Private symbolism" implies a system, 
and a careful student can construe a "private symbolism" as a 
cryptographer can decode an alien message. Many private sys- 
tems (e.g., those of Blake and Yeats) have large overlap with 
symbolical traditions, even though not with those most widely 
or currently accepted. 13 

When we get beyond "private symbolism" and "traditional 
symbolism," there is, at the other pole, a kind of public "natural" 
symbolism which offers its own difficulties. Frost's poems, some 
of the best of them, use natural symbols the reference of which 
we find it difficult to control: we think of "The Road Not 
Taken," "Walls," "The Mountain." In "Stopping by Woods," 
"miles to go before I sleep" is literally true of the traveler, we 
assume j but in the language of natural symbolism, to "sleep" is 

Image y Metafhor } Symbol, Myth 1 95 

to "die" j and, if one couples by contrast the "woods are lovely, 
dark, and deep" (all three adjectives panegyric) with the moral 
and social check of "promises to keep," one can't wholly reject 
the passing, not insisted on, equation of aesthetic contemplation 
with some kind of ceasing to be as a responsible person. Pre- 
sumably no constant reader of poetry will go wrong with Frost ; 
but, partly because of his natural symbolism, Frost has drawn a 
wide audience, some of whom, once grasping the possibility of 
symbols, will bear down too heavily on both the natural symbols 
and their companions, giving to his plurisigns a fixity and rigidity 
alien to the nature of poetic statement, especially contemporary 
poetic statement. 14 

The fourth of our terms is "myth," which appears in Aris- 
totle's Poetics as the word for plot, narrative structure, "fable." 
Its antonym and counterpoint is logos. The "myth" is narrative, 
story, as against dialectical discourse, exposition ; it is also the ir- 
rational or intuitive as against the systematically philosophical: 
it is the tragedy of Aeschylus against the dialectic of Socrates. 15 

"Myth," a favorite term of modern criticism, points to, hovers 
over, an important area of meaning, shared by religion, folklore, 
anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, and the fine arts. In 
some of its habitual oppositions, it is contraposed to "history," or 
to "science," or to "philosophy," or to "allegory" or to "truth." 16 

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the Age of the 
Enlightenment, the term had commonly a pejorative connota- 
tion: a myth was a fiction — scientifically or historically untrue. 
But already in the Scienza Nuova of Vico, the emphasis has 
shifted to what, since the German Romanticists, Coleridge, 
Emerson, and Nietzsche, has become gradually dominant — the 
conception of "myth" as, like poetry, a kind of truth or equiv- 
alent of truth, not a competitor to historic or scientific truth but 
a supplement. 17 

Historically, myth follows and is correlative to ritual; it is 
"the spoken part of ritual; the story which the ritual enacts." 
The ritual is performed for a society by its priestly representa- 
tive in order to avert or procure ; it is an "agendum" which is re- 
currently, permanently necessary, like harvests and human fer- 
tility, like the initiation of the young into their society's culture 
and a proper provision for the future of the dead. But in a 

196 Theory 0} Literature 

wider sense, myth comes to mean any anonymously composed 
story telling of origins and destinies, the explanations a society 
offers its young of why the world is and why we do as we do, its 
pedagogic images of the nature and destiny of man. 18 

For literary theory, the important motifs are, probably, the 
image or picture, the social, the supernatural (or non-naturalist 
or irrational), the narrative or story, the archetypal or universal, 
the symbolic representation as events in time of our timeless 
ideals, the programmatic or eschatological, the mystic. In con- 
temporary thought, appeal to the myth may center on any one 
of these, with a spread to others. Thus Sorel speaks of the "Gen- 
eral Strike" of all the world's workers as a "myth," meaning that 
while such an ideal will never become historic fact it must, in 
order to motivate and dynamize the workers, be presented as a 
future historical event ; myth is program. Thus Niebuhr speaks 
of Christian eschatology as mythic: the Second Coming and the 
Last Judgment image as future history what are present, perma- 
nent, moral, and spiritual evaluations. 19 If the mythic has as its 
contrary either science or philosophy, it opposes the picturable 
intuitive concrete to the rational abstract. Generally, too, in this, 
the central opposition for literary theorists and apologists, the 
myth is social, anonymous, communal. In modern times, we may 
be able to identify the creators — or some of the creators — of a 
myth; but it may still have the qualitative status of myth if its 
authorship is forgotten, not generally known, or at any event 
unimportant to its validation — if it has been accepted by the com- 
munity, has received the "consent of the faithful." 

The term is not easy to fix: it points today at an "area of mean- 
ing." We hear of painters and poets in search of a mythology; 
we hear of the "myth" of progress or of democracy. We hear of 
"The Return of the Myth in World Literature." Yet we also 
hear that one can't create a myth or choose to believe one or will 
one into being: the book has succeeded the myth, and the cos- 
mopolitan city the homogeneous society of the city state. 20 

Does modern man lack myth — or a mythology, a system of 
interconnected myths? This would be Nietzsche's view: that 
Socrates and the Sophists, the "intellectuals," had destroyed the 
life of Greek "culture." Similarly it would be argued that the 
Enlightenment destroyed — or began destruction of — the Chris- 

Image, Metafhor, Symbol, Myth 197 

tian "mythology." But other writers think of modern man as 
having shallow, inadequate, or perhaps even "false" myths, such 
as the myth of "progress," or of "equality," or of universal edu- 
cation, or of the hygienic and modish well-being to which the 
advertisements invite. The common denominator between the 
two conceptions seems to be the judgment (true, probably) that 
when old, long- felt, self-coherent ways of life (rituals with their 
accompanying myths) are disrupted by "modernism," most men 
(or all) are impoverished: as men can't live by abstractions alone, 
they have to fill their voids by crude, extemporized, fragmentary 
myths (pictures of what might be or ought to be). To speak of the 
need for myth, in the case of the imaginative writer, is a sign of 
his felt need for communion with his society, for a recognized 
status as artist functioning within society. The French Sym- 
bolists existed in self-recognized isolation, were hermetic spe- 
cialists, who believed the poet must choose between commercial 
prostitution of his art and aesthetic purity and coldness. But 
Yeats, for all his veneration of Mallarme, felt the need of a 
union with Ireland 5 so he compounded traditional Celtic mythol- 
ogy with his own mythicizing version of latter-day Ireland, in 
which the Augustan Anglo-Irish (Swift, Berkeley, and Burke) 
are as freely interpreted as the American heroes of Vachel Lind- 
say's imagination. 21 

For many writers, myth is the common denominator between 
poetry and religion. There exists a modern view, of course (rep- 
resented by Matthew Arnold and the early I. A. Richards), that 
poetry will more and more take the place of the supernatural 
religion in which modern intellectuals can no longer believe. But 
a more impressive case can probably be made for the view that 
poetry cannot for long take the place of religion since it can 
scarcely long survive it. Religion is the greater mystery; poetry, 
the lesser. Religious myth is the large-scale authorization of 
poetic metaphor. Thus Philip Wheelwright, protesting that by 
positivists "religious truth and poetic truth are dismissed as fic- 
tions," asserts that the "needed perspective is ... a mytho- 
religious one." An older English representative of this view is 
John Dennis ; a relatively recent one is Arthur Machen. 22 

The whole series (image, metaphor, symbol, myth) we may 
charge older literary study with treating externally and super- 

198 Theory of Literature 

ficially. Viewed for the most part as decorations, rhetorical orna- 
ments, they were therefore studied as detachable parts of the 
works in which they appear. Our own view, on the other hand, 
sees the meaning and function of literature as centrally present 
in metaphor and myth. There are such activities as metaphoric 
and mythic thinking, a thinking by means of metaphors, a think- 
ing in poetic narrative or vision. All these terms call our atten- 
tion to the aspects of a literary work which exactly bridge and 
bind together old divisive components, "form" and "matter." 
These terms look in both directions ; that is, they indicate the 
pull of poetry toward "picture" and "world" on the one hand 
and toward religion or W eltanschauung on the other. As we sur- 
vey modern methods of studying them, we can feel that tension. 
Since older methods treated them as aesthetic devices (albeit 
conceiving of such as merely decorative), the reactionary danger 
today is perhaps a too heavy stress on W eltanschauung. The 
Scotch rhetorician, writing at the end of the Neo-Classical period, 
rather naturally thought of similes and metaphors as calculated, 
elected 5 today's analysts, working after Freud, are disposed to 
see all images as revelatory of the unconscious. It calls for a nice 
equilibrium to avoid the rhetorical concern on the one hand and 
on the other both psychological biography and "message hunt- 

In the last twenty-five years of literary study, theory and 
practice have both been pursued. That is, we have attempted 
typologies of figuration or, more specifically, of poetic imagery; 
and we have also devoted monographs and essays to the imagery 
of specific poets or works (with Shakespeare as a favorite sub- 
ject). The "practical criticism" having gone on with particular 
ardor, we begin to have some excellent sharp theoretical and 
methodological papers scrutinizing the sometimes too easy as- 
sumptions of the practitioners. 

Many have been the attempts at reducing all the minutely sub- 
divided figures — some two hundred and fifty in ambitious lists — 
into two or three categories. "Schemes" and "tropes" is itself one 
of these : a division into "sound figures" and "sense figures." An- 
other attempt separates figures of "speech" or "verbal figures" 
from "figures of thought." Both dichotomies have the fault, 
however, of suggesting an outer, or outermost, structure which 

Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 199 

lacks expressive function. Thus, under any traditional system, 
rhyme and alliteration are both phonetic "schemes," acoustic 
ornamentations ; yet both initial rhyme and end rhyme can serve, 
we know, as sense binders, as semantic couplers. The nineteenth 
century regarded the pun as a "play on words," the "lowest form 
of wit" j the eighteenth century had, with Addison, already clas- 
sified it as one of the species of "false wit." But Baroque and 
modern poets use it seriously as a doubling of ideas, a "homo- 
phone" or "homonym," a purposed "ambiguity." 23 

Leaving the schemes aside, we may divide the tropes of poetry 
most relevantly into figures of contiguity and figures of simi- 

The traditional figures of contiguity are metonymy and synec- 
doche. The relations they express are logically or quantitatively 
analyzable: the cause for the effect, or the contrary ; the con- 
tainer for the contained; the adjunct for its subject ("the village 
green," "the briny deep"). In synecdoche, the relations between 
the figure and its referent are said to be internal. We are offered 
a sample of something, a part intended to stand for its whole, a 
species representing a genus, matter betokening the form and 
use to which it is put. 

In the familiar passage from Shirley illustrative of the tradi- 
tional use of metonymy, conventional accoutrements — instru- 
ments or tools — stand for social classes : 

Sceptre and crown must tumble down 

And in the dust be equal made 

With the 'poor crooked scythe and spade. 

More striking is the metonymic "transferred adjective," a sty- 
listic trait of Virgil, Spenser, Milton, Gray, classical art-poets: 
"Sansfoy's dead dowry," shifts the epithet from possessor to 
thing possessed. In Gray's "drowsy tinklings" and Milton's 
"merry bells," the epithets refer to the wearers and the ringers 
of bells respectively. When Milton's gray-fly is "winding her 
sultry horn," the epithet calls up the hot summer evening linked 
by association with the sound of the gray-fly. In all such cases, 
cited out of their context, another, an animistic, kind of reading 
seems possible. The distinction lies in whether associational logic 
is operative, or whether, instead, a persistent personalization. 

200 Theory of Literature 

Devotional poetry, Catholic or Evangelical, would seem, at 
first thought, unavoidably metaphorical, and so it dominantly is. 
But Dr. Watts, the Neo-Classical hymn writer, gets an impres- 
sive effect, moving as well as stately, from metonymy: 

When I survey the wondrous cross 
On which the Prince of Glory died. 

My richest gain I count but loss 

And 'pour contempt on all my pride. 

See, from his head, his hands, his side 
Sorrow and love flow mingled down; 

Did e y er such love and sorrow meet 
Or thorns compose so rich a crown? 

A reader trained upon another time style might hear this hymn 
without perceiving that "sorrow" and "love" equate "water" and 
"blood." He died for love: his love is cause 5 the blood, effect. In 
seventeenth-century Quarles, "pour contempt" would suggest 
visualizable metaphor, but then the figure would be pursued — 
perhaps with the fire of pride put out by a bucket of contempt; 
but "pour" here is a semantic intensive: I contemn my pride vig- 
orously, superlatively. 

These are, after all, narrowly restricted uses of the word. Re- 
cently some bolder conceptions of metonymy as a literary mode 
have been suggested, even the notion that metonymy and met- 
aphor may be the characterizing structures of two poetic types — 
poetry of association by contiguity, of movement within a single 
world of discourse, and poetry of association by comparison, join- 
ing a plurality of worlds, mixing, in the striking phrase of 
Buhler, a "cocktail of spheres." 2i 

In a brilliant critical discussion of Whitman, D. S. Mirsky 
says, "The separate fractional images of the 'Song of the Broad- 
Axe' are endless metonymic images, examples, specimens of the 
elements comprising democratic constructiveness." 25 One might 
characterize Whitman's usual poetic method as an analytic 
spreadout, an itemized unpacking, of certain large, parallel cate- 
gories. In his parallelistic chants like "Song of Myself" he is 
dominated by the desire to present details, individuals, parts as 
parts of a whole. For all his love of lists, he is not really a 

Image > Metafhor, Symbol, Myth 201 

pluralist or personalist but a pantheistic monistj and the total 
effect of his catalogues is not complexity but simplicity. First he 
lays nut his categories, and then he copiously illustrates them. 

Metaphor, which has had the attention of poetic theorists and 
rhetoricians since Aristotle, who was both, has won large atten- 
tion in recent years from linguistic theorists also. Richards has 
protested vehemently against treating metaphor as deviation 
from normal linguistic practice instead of its characteristic and 
indispensable resource. The "leg" of the chair, the "foot" of the 
mountain, and the "neck" of the bottle all apply, by analogy, 
parts of the human body to parts of inanimate objects. These ex- 
tensions, however, have become assimilated into the language, 
and are commonly no longer felt as metaphorical, even by the 
literarily and linguistically sensitive. They are "faded" or 
"worn-out" or "dead" metaphor. 26 

We must distinguish metaphor as the "omnipresent principle 
of language" (Richards) from the specifically poetic metaphor. 
George Campbell assigns the former 'to the "grammarian," the 
latter to the "rhetorician." The grammarian judges words by 
etymologies ; the rhetorician, by whether they have "the effect 
of metaphor upon the hearer." Wundt would deny the term 
"metaphor" to such linguistic "transpositions" as "leg" of the 
table and "foot" of the mountain, making the criterion of true 
metaphorism the calculated, willed intention of its user to create 
an emotive effect. H. Konrad contrasts the "linguistic" with the 
"aesthetic" metaphor, pointing out that the former (e.g., the 
"leg" of the table) underlines the dominant trait of the object, 
while the latter is conceived to give a new impression of the ob- 
ject, to "bathe it in a new atmosphere." 2T 

Of cases difficult to classify, probably the most important is 
that of metaphors common to a literary school or generation, 
shared poetic metaphors. Instances would be "bone-house," 
"swan-road," "word-hoard," and the other kennings of Old 
English poets; Homer's "fixed metaphors" such as "rosy- 
fingered dawn" (used twenty-seven times in the First Book of 
the Iliad) ; the Elizabethan's "pearly teeth," "ruby lips," "ivory 
necks," and "hair of golden wire"; or the Augustan's "watery 
plain," "silver streams," "enameled meadows." 2S To modern 
readers some of these (notably those from the Anglo-Saxon) are 

202 Theory of Literature 

bold and "poetic," while most of the others are faded and quaint. 
Ignorance, to be sure, can confer an illegitimate originality upon 
the first examples of an unfamiliar convention. Indeed, the 
etymological metaphors of a language, not "realized" by those 
whose native language it is, are constantly taken, by analytically 
sensitive foreigners, as individual poetic achievements. 29 One has 
to know intimately both language and literary convention to be 
able to feel and measure the metaphoric intention of a specific 
poet. In Old English poetry, "bone-house" and "word-hoard" 
are undoubtedly of a kind with Homer's "winged words." They 
are a part of the poet's craft-education and give pleasure to their 
hearers by their traditionalism, their belonging to the profes- 
sional, ritual language of poetry. The metaphoric in them is 
neither wholly realized nor wholly missed: like much ecclesias- 
tical symbolism, they may be said to be ritual. 30 

In our genetically minded age, much attention has naturally 
been given to the origins of the metaphor, both as a linguistic 
principle and as a literary mode of vision and operation. "On- 
togeny repeats phylogeny"; and, in reverse, we believe we can 
reconstruct prehistoric culture history through analytic observa- 
tion of primitive societies and children. According to Heinz 
Werner, metaphor becomes active among only such primitive 
peoples as have taboos, objects the "proper" names of which may 
not be named. 31 We reflect immediately on the rich Jewish talent 
for metaphorizing the unnamable Jaweh as a Rock, as a Sun, a 
Lion, and so on, and then upon the euphemisms in our own so- 
ciety. But, obviously, a fearful necessity is not the only mother 
of invention. We metaphorize also what we love, what we want 
to linger over, and contemplate, to see from every angle and 
under every lighting, mirrored, in specialized focus, by all kinds 
of like things. 

If we pass from the motivation of linguistic and ritual met- 
aphor to the teleology of poetic metaphor, we have to invoke 
something far more inclusive — the whole function of imagina- 
tive literature. The four basic elements in our whole conception 
of metaphor would appear to be that of analogy; that of double 
vision; that of the sensuous image, revelatory of the imper- 
ceptible; that of animistic projection. The four in equal measure 
are never present: attitudes vary from nation to nation and 

lmage y Metafhor, Symbol y Myth 203 

aesthetic period to aesthetic period. According to one theorist, 
Graeco-Roman metaphor is almost restricted to analogy (a quasi- 
legal parallelism), while das Blld (the image symbol) is a dis- 
tinctively Teutonic figure. 32 Such a culture contrast, however, 
hardly takes care of Italian and French poetry, especially from 
Baudelaire and Rimbaud to Valery. A more plausible case could 
be made for a contrast between periods and between dominating 

Each period style has its own characteristic figures, expressive 
of its Weltanschauung; in the case of basic figures like metaphor, 
each period has its characteristic kind of metaphoric method. 
Neo-Classical poetry, for example, is characterized by the simile, 
periphrasis, the ornamental epithet, epigram, balance, antithesis. 
Possible intellectual positions are reduced to twos or threes, not 
pluralities. Frequently the third position is a central and media- 
torial position between named polar heresies: 

Some foreign writers, some our own despise, 
The ancients only, or the moderns y frlze. 

In the Baroque period, characteristic figures are the paradox, 
the oxymoron, catachresis. These are Christian, mystical, plural- 
ist figures. Truth is complex. There are many modes of know- 
ing, each with its own legitimacy. Some kinds of truths have 
to be stated by negation or calculated distortion. God can be 
spoken of anthropomorphically, for He made men in His own 
image; but He is also the transcendental Other. Hence in 
Baroque religion, truth about God may be expressed through 
analogical images (the Lamb, the Bridegroom) - y it may also be 
expressed through couplings of contradictories or contraries, as 
in Vaughan's "deep but dazzling darkness." The Neo-Classical 
mind likes clear distinctions and rational progressions: meto- 
nymic movements from genus to species, or particular to species. 
But the Baroque mind invokes a universe at once of many worlds 
and of worlds all, in unpredictable ways, connected. 

From the point of view of Neo-Classical poetic theory, the 
characteristic Baroque figures are, of course, in bad taste, "false 
wit" — either willful perversions of the natural and rational, or 
insincere acrobatics, whereas historically they are rhetorico-poetic 

204 Theory of Literature 

expressions of a pluralist epistemology and a supernaturalist 

"Catachresis" offers an interesting instance. In 1599 John 
Hoskyns Englishes the term as "abuse" and deplores that it is 
"nowe growne in fashion. . . ." He thinks of it as a strained 
phrase, "more desperate than a metaphor," and cites "a voice 
beautiful to his ears" from Sidney's Arcadia as example of a 
visual term perversely applied to hearing. Pope {Art of Sinking, 
1728) cites "mow a beard" and "shave the grass" as catachretic. 
George Campbell {Philosophy of Rhetoric, 1776) cites "beauti- 
ful voice" and "melodious to the eye" as a catachretic pair, 
though he admits that "sweet, originally palatal, can now be ap- 
plied to a scent, a melody, a prospect." Believing that proper 
metaphor uses the "objects of sensation" to denote the "objects 
of pure intellection," Campbell deplores the analogizing of sense 
objects to other sense objects. On the other hand, a recent Cath- 
olic rhetorician (of Baroque-Romantic taste) defines catachresis 
as the metaphor drawn from similarity between two material 
objects, urges that the merits of the trope be studied, and illus- 
trates it by such figures from Victor Hugo as "les ferles de la 
rosee" and "il neige des feuilles." 33 

Another kind of metaphor acceptable to Baroque sensibility, 
tasteless to Neo-Classical, translates the greater into the hum- 
bler} we might call it the diminishing or domesticating met- 
aphor. The "spheres" most characteristically mixed by Baroque 
poetry are the natural world and man's world of crafts and 
artifices. But knowing that Art is an imitation of Nature, Neo- 
Classicism finds morbid and perverse the assimilation of Nature 
to Art. Thomas Gibbons, for example, in 1767, warns against 
finical and "fantastical" tropes, and cites as examples "the follow- 
ing descriptions of the several parts of the Creation: the emboss- 
ings of mountains, the enameling of lesser seas, the open-work 
of the vast ocean, and the fret-work of the rocks." 34 

To be sure, some nature > art metaphors remain in Neo- 
Classical verse, but it is under condition that the metaphor appear 
as otiose epithet. Pope's Pastorals and Forest offer specimens: 
"Fresh rising blushes faint the watery glass"} "there blushing 
Flora faints th' enamelled ground." But the line was generally 
clear} and Dryden, writing in 168 1, was not ashamed to confess 

Image y Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 205 

that when he was a child he thought as a child: "I remember 
when ... I thought inimitable Spenser a mean poet in com- 
parison of Sylvester's Du Bartas and was rapt into an ecstasy 
when I read these lines: 

Now when the winter's keen breath began 
To chrystallize the Baltic ocean. 
To glaze the lakes, to bridle up the Floods, 
And periwig with snow the bald-pate woods" 35 

The youthful Milton, another reader of Du Bartas, ends his 
Nativity Ode with a conceit in the same mode. Eliot resumes the 
tradition in the celebrated opening of "Prufrock" 

When the evening is spread out against the sky 
Like a patient etherized upon a table . . . 

The motives behind the Baroque practice are not as readily 
reducible to one as the Classical protest, unless we simply appeal 
to its wider inclusiveness, its taste for richness over purity, 
polyphony over monophony. More specific motives are the ap- 
petite for surprise and shock 5 Christian incarnationism -, ped- 
agogic domestication of the remote by homely analogy. 

Thus far we have been considering the nature of figuration, 
with special stress on metonymy and metaphor; and we have 
suggested the possible period-stylistic character of these figures. 
We turn now to studies of metaphoric imagery which are lit- 
erary-critical rather than literary-historical. 

Two general studies of metaphoric imagery, one American 
and the other German, seem to merit specific presentation. 

In 1924, Henry Wells published a study of Poetic Imagery 
which attempts to construct a typology, the types inducted, and 
chiefly illustrated, from Elizabethan literature. Rich in percep- 
tive insights and suggestive generalizations, the book is less suc- 
cessful at systematic construction. Wells thinks of his scheme as 
achronistic, applicable to all periods, not just to the Elizabethan ; 
and he believes himself to be descriptive, not evaluative, in his 
work. The basis of his investigation is said to be the arrangement 
of groups of figures "as they appear on an ascending scale from 
the lowest, or most nearly literal, to the most imaginative, or 
impressionistic" , but the scale, that of the "character and degree 

206 Theory of Literature 

of imaginative activity," is asserted to have no direct bearing on 
the evaluation of them. His seven types of imagery, arranged in 
his own order, are: the Decorative, the Sunken, the Violent Cor 
Fustian), the Radical, the Intensive, the Expansive, and the Ex- 
uberant. They may advantageously be rearranged according to 
historical and evaluative hints offered by Wells. 

The crudest forms, aesthetically, are the Violent and the 
Decorative, or the "metaphor of the masses" and the metaphor 
of artifice. The Decorative image, abundant in Sidney's Arcadia, 
is judged "typically Elizabethan." The Violent image, illustrated 
out of Kyd and other early Elizabethans, is characteristic of an 
early period of culture ; but, since most men stay at a subliterary 
level, it belongs, in subliterary forms, to "any period" ; sociolog- 
ically, "Fustian" constitutes "a large and socially important body 
of metaphor." The evaluative judgment of both types is that 
they are "deficient in the requisite subjective element," that 
they too often link one physical image to another (as in cata- 
chresis) instead of relating the "outer world of nature to the 
inner world of man." Again, in both Decorative and Violent 
metaphors, the terms of the relationship remain disjunct, fixed, 
uninvaded by each other. But in the highest forms of metaphor, 
Wells believes, each term acts upon, alters, the other, so that a 
third term, a new apprehension, is created by the relationship. 

Next, as we go up the scale, come the Exuberant image and 
the Intensive, the former a subtler version of the Violent, the 
latter a subtler version of the Decorative. We have left behind 
obvious forms of display, whether of energy or ingenuity. In the 
Exuberant image, we have, historically, reached Marlowe, the 
first of the greater Elizabethans, and Burns and Smart, the Pre- 
Romantics; this image is, says Wells, "especially prominent in 
much early poetry." It juxtaposes "two broad and imaginatively 
valuable terms," two broad, smooth surfaces in face-to-face con- 
tact. Otherwise put, this category covers loose comparisons, rela- 
tionships based on simple evaluative categories. Burns writes: 

My love is like a red, red rose . . . 

My love is like a melody 
That's sweetly flayed in tune. 

Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 207 

The common ground between a beautiful woman, a fresh red 
rose, and a well-played melody is their beauty and desirability} 
they are all, in kind, the best. It isn't rosy cheeks which makes 
the woman like a rose, or her sweet voice which makes her like 
a melody (analogies which would produce Decorative images)} 
her likeness to a rose is not in color, texture, or structure, but in 
value. 36 

Wells' Intensive image is a neatly visualizable image of the 
sort associated with illuminated manuscripts and pageants of the 
Middle Ages. In poetry, it is the image of Dante and, especially, 
in English poetry, of Spenser. The image is not only clear but — 
what perhaps follows — diminutive, diagrammatic: Dante'3 Hell, 
not Milton's. "Such metaphors are more often than others re- 
ferred to as emblems or symbols." The pageant figures in "Ly- 
cidas" — Camus with his hairy mantle and sedge bonnet, and 
St. Peter with his mitre and his two keys — are also Intensive 
images. They are "guild" images: "pastoral" and "elegy" both 
had, by Milton's time, a stock of motifs and images. There can 
be stock imagery as well as stock "poetic diction." Its traditional, 
institutional character and its close relation to the visual arts and 
symbolic ceremony make Wells, thinking in terms of culture 
history, attach the Intensive image to conservative religion, to 
the medieval, the priestly, the Catholic. 

The three highest categories are the Sunken, the Radical, and 
the Expansive (taken, one would think, in ascending order). 
Briefly, the Sunken is the image of a classical poetry} the Radical, 
the image of the Metaphysicals, preeminently of Donne} and 
the Expansive, the image, predominantly, of Shakespeare as 
well as of Bacon and Browne and Burke. The common denomi- 
nations of the three, their marks of shared altitude, are their 
specifically literary character (their recalcitrance to pictorial 
visualization), their internality (metaphoric thinking), the in- 
terpenetration of the terms (their fruitful, procreative mar- 

The Sunken image, not to be confounded with the faded or 
trite, keeps "below full visibility," suggests the sensuous concrete 
without definitely projecting and clearing it. Its lack of overtones 
suits it to contemplative writing: its Elizabethan exemplar is 

208 Theory of Literature 

Samuel Daniel, who wrote, in verses admired by Wordsworth 
and Thoreau: 

unless above himself he can 
Erect himself, how -poor a thing is man! 

But Shakespeare is a master of it. In Lear, Edgar says: 

Men must endure 
Their going hence, even as their coming hither; 
Ripeness is all. 

"Ripeness" is a sunken image, presumably out of orchards and 
fields. There is an analogy suggested between the inevitability 
of natural cycles of vegetation and the cycles of life. A Neo- 
classical generation might cite as "mixed" some of Shakespeare's 
Sunken images: 

O how can summer y s honey breath hold out 
Against the wreckful siege of battering days. 

This sentence would require elaborate analytic expansion, for it 
mounts figure on figure: "days" is metonymic for Time, Age, 
which is then metaphorized as besieging a city and attempting, 
by battering-rams, to take it. What is attempting — city-like, or 
ruler of the city-like — to "hold out" against these assaults? It is 
youth, metaphorized as summer, or more exactly, as the sweet 
fragrance of summer: the fragrance of summer flowers is to the 
earth as sweet breath is to the human body, a part of or adjunct 
of the whole. If one tries to fit together neatly in one image the 
battering siege and the breath, he gets jammed up. The figura- 
tive movement is rapid and hence elliptical. 37 

The Radical image— so-called perhaps because its terms meet 
only at their roots, at an invisible logical ground, like final 
cause, rather than by juxtaposed obvious surfaces — is the image 
the minor term of which seems "unpoetic," either because too 
homely and utilitarian or because too technical, scientific, learned. 
The Radical image, that is, takes as metaphoric vehicle some- 
thing which has no obvious emotive associations, which belongs 
to prose discourse, abstract or practical. Thus Donne, in his re- 
ligious poetry, uses many figures from "le geometre enflamm-e." 
Again, in the "First Anniversary," he uses a pseudo-medical 

lmage y Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 209 

figure which, except for the specified overlap of its terms, seems 
perversely oriented in just the wrong (i.e., a pejorative) di- 

But as some serpent's poison hurteth not 
Except it be from the live serpent shot. 
So doth her virtue need her here to fit 
That unto us, she working more than it. 

This is probably the characteristic kind of Radical image: the 
more obvious and less perverse example would be the compasses 
figure in Donne's "Valediction Forbidding Mourning." But, as 
Wells subtly remarks, Radical images can be derived out of 
romantically suggestive image-areas such as mountains, rivers, 
and seas, if one adopts an "analytic manner." 3S 

Lastly, there is the Expansive image, its name linking it, by 
contrariety, to the Intensive. If the Intensive is the medieval and 
ecclesiastical figure, the Expansive is that of prophetic and 
progressive thought, of "strong passion and original meditation," 
culminating in the comprehensive metaphors of philosophy and 
religion represented in Burke, in Bacon, in Browne, and pre- 
eminently in Shakespeare. By definition, the Expansive image 
is one in which each term opens a wide vista to the imagination 
and each term strongly modifies the other: the "interaction" and 
"interpenetration" which, according to modern poetic theory, are 
central forms of poetic action occur most richly in the Expansive 
metaphor. We may take examples from Romeo and Juliet: 

Yet, wert thou as jar 
As that vast shore washt with the farthest sea, 
I should adventure for such merchandise. 

and from Macbeth: 

Light thickens, and the crow 
Makes wing to the rooky wood: 
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse. 

In these last lines, Shakespeare gives us a "metaphorical setting 
for crime," which turns into an Expansive metaphor paralleling 
night and daemonic evil, light and goodness, yet not in any such 
obvious and allegoric fashion, but with suggestive particularity 

210 Theory of Literature 

and sensuous concreteness : "light thickens" j things "droop and 
drowse." The poetically vague and the poetically specific meet 
in the line, "Good things of day begin to droop and drowse." 
The subject and the predicate work backward and forward on 
each other as we attend : starting with the verb, we ask what kinds 
of things — birds, animals, people, flowers — droop or drowse ; 
then, noticing the abstract naming of the subject, we wonder 
whether the verbs are metaphorical for "cease to be vigilant," 
"quail timorously before the might of evil." 39 

Rhetoricians like Quintilian already make much of the dis- 
tinction between the metaphor which animates the inanimate, 
and that which inanimates the animate ; but they present the dis- 
tinction as one between rhetorical devices. With Pongs, our sec- 
ond typologist, it becomes a grandiose contrast between polar 
attitudes — that of the mythic imagination, which projects per- 
sonality upon the outer world of things, which animizes and 
animates nature, and the contrary type of imagination, which 
feels its ways into the alien, which de-animizes or unsubjectivizes 
itself. All the possibilities of figurative expression are exhausted 
by these two, the subjective and objective poles. 40 

The first form was called by Ruskin the "pathetic fallacy"; if 
we think of it as being applied upward to God as well as down- 
ward to the tree and the stone, we may call it the anthropomor- 
phic imagination. 41 A student of mystical symbolism notes that 
there are three general types of earthly union available for the 
symbolic expression of the highest mystical experience: ( i) union 
between inanimate objects (physical mixtures and chemical 
unions: the soul in the fire of God as spark, wood, wax, iron; 
God as Water to the soil of the soul, or as the Ocean into which 
flows the river of the soul) ; (2) unions figured according to the 
ways in which the body appropriates the essential elements of 
its life: "in the Scriptures God is represented by those particular 
things from which we cannot completely withdraw ourselves — 
light and air, which enter at every crack, and water, which in one 
form or other we all receive daily" ; 42 so, to mystics all over the 
world, God is the food and drink of the soul, its Bread, Fish, 
Water, Milk, Wine; (3) human relationships — that of son to 
father, wife to husband. 

The first two of these would be assigned by Pongs to the 

Image, Metafhor, Symbol, Myth 211 

second ultimate type of metaphoric intuition, that of Einjiihlung, 
itself subdivided into the "mystic" and the "magic." The mystic 
metaphor we have illustrated from the mystics rather than the 
poets. Inorganic elements are symbolically treated, not as mere 
concepts or conceptual analogies but as representations which are 
also presentations. 

Magical metaphor is interpreted after the fashion of the art 
historian Worringer, as an "abstraction" from the world of na- 
ture. Worringer studied the arts of Egypt, Byzantium, Persia, 
arts which "reduce organic nature, including man, to linear- 
geometrical forms, and frequently abandon the organic world 
altogether for one of pure lines, forms, and colors." "Ornament 
detaches itself now ... as something which does not follow 
the stream of life but rigidly faces it. . . . The intention is no 
longer to pretend but to conjure." "Ornament ... is some- 
thing taken away from Time ; it is pure extension, settled and 
stable." 43 

Anthropologists find both animism and magic in primitive 
cultures. The former seeks to reach, propitiate, persuade, unite 
with personalized spirits— the dead, gods. The latter, pre-science, 
studies the laws of power exerted by things : sacred words, amu- 
lets, rods and wands, images, relics. There is white magic — that 
of Christian cabalists like Cornelius Agrippa and Paracelsus , 
and there is black magic, that of evil men. But fundamental to 
both is the belief in the power of things. Magic touches the arts 
through image-making. Western tradition associates the painter 
and sculptor with the skill of the craftsman, with Haephaistos 
and Daidalos, with Pygmalion, who can bring the image to life. 
In folklore aesthetics, the maker of images is a sorcerer or magi- 
cian, while the poet is the inspired, the possessed, the productively 
mad. 44 However, the primitive poet can compose charms and 
incantations, and the modern poet can, like Yeats, adopt the 
magical use of images, literal images, as a means to the use of 
magic-symbolic images in his poetry. 45 Mysticism takes the con- 
trary line: the image is a symbol effected by a spiritual state ; it 
is an expressive image not a causative image, and it is not neces- 
sary to the state: the same spiritual state can express itself in 
other symbols. 46 

The mystical metaphor and the magic are both de-animizing: 

212 Theory of Literature 

they run counter to man's projection of himself into the non- 
human world y they summon up the "other" — the impersonal 
world of things, monumental art, physical law. Blake's "Tiger" 
is a mystical metaphor ; God, or an aspect of God, is a Tiger 
(less than man, more than man) ; the Tiger in turn (and through 
the Tiger its Maker) is read in terms of metal forged in great 
heat. The Tiger is no animal from the natural world of the zoo, 
a tiger that Blake might have seen at the Tower of London, 
but a visionary creature, symbol as well as thing. 

The magical metaphor lacks this translucency. It is Medusa's 
mask which turns the living into stone. Pongs cites Stefan George 
as a representative of this magical attitude, this desire to petrify 
the living: "It is not the natural drive of the human psyche to 
project itself from which George's form-giving spiritualization 
works, but, in its origin, a powerful destruction of biological life, 
a willed 'estrangement' ('alienation') as the basis for the prepara- 
tion of the inner, magic world." 47 

In English poetry, Dickinson and Yeats variously reach for 
this de-animizing, this anti-mystic metaphor: Emily Dickinson 
when she wants to render the sense of death as well as the ex- 
perience of resurrection: she likes to invoke the experience of 
dying, stiffening, petrifying. "It was not death," but it was 

As if my life were shaven 

And fitted to a frame y 

And could not breathe without a key . . . 

How many times these low feet staggered. 
Only the soldered mouth can tell; 
Try! can you stir the awful rivet? 
Try I can you lift the hasfs of steel? 4S 

Yeats reaches his ultimate of Poetry as Magic in "Byzantium" 
(1930). In the 1927 "Sailing to Byzantium," he has already set 
the opposition between the world of biological life: "The young 
in one another's arms, . . . the mackerel-crowded seas," and 
the world of Byzantine art, where all is fixed, rigid, unnatural, 
the world of "gold mosaic" and "gold enameling." Biologically, 
man is a "dying animal" j his hope for survival is through being 
"gathered into the artifice of eternity," not again to take "bodily 

Image y Metaphor > Symbol } Myth 213 

form from any natural thing," but to be a work of art, a golden 
bird on a golden bough. "Byzantium," from one point of view a 
tightly written illustration of Yeats' "system," a doctrinal poem, 
is from another, specifically literary point of view a structure of 
closely interrespondent non-natural images, the whole compos- 
ing something like a prescribed ritual or liturgy. 49 

Pongs' categories, which we have rendered with some free- 
dom, have the special character of relating poetic style to view of 
life. 50 Though each period-style is seen to have its own differ- 
entiated versions of them, they are essentially timeless, alterna- 
tive ways of looking at and responding to life. All three, how- 
ever, belong outside of the general lines of what is often char- 
acterized as modern thought, i.e., rationalism, naturalism, posi- 
tivism, science. Such a classification of metaphors thus suggests 
that poetry remains loyal to prescientific modes of thought. The 
poet keeps the animistic vision of the child and of primitive man, 
the child's archetype. 51 

In recent years, there have been many studies of specific poets 
or even specific poems or plays in terms of their symbolic 
imagery. In such "practical criticism," the assumptions of the 
critic become important. What is he looking for? Is he analyzing 
the poet or the poem? 

We must distinguish between a study of the spheres from 
which the images are drawn (which, as MacNeice says, "belongs 
still more properly to the study of subject-matter," 52 ) and a 
study of "the ways in which images can be used," the character of 
the relationship between the "tenor" and the "vehicle" (the met- 
aphor) . Most monographs on the imagery of a specific poet (e.g., 
Rugoff's Donne y s Imagery) belong to the former class. They 
chart and weigh a poet's interests by collecting and distributing 
his metaphors between nature, art, industry, the physical sciences, 
the humanities, the city, and the country. But one can also classify 
the themes or objects which impel the poet to metaphor, e.g., 
women, religion, death, airplanes. More significant than the 
classification, however, is the discovery of large-scale equivalents, 
psychic correlatives. That two spheres repeatedly summon up 
each the other may be supposed to show their real interpenetra- 
tion in the creative psyche of the poet: thus in Donne's "Songs 
and Sonnets," his poems of profane love, the metaphoric gloss is 

214 Theory of Literature 

constantly drawn from the Catholic world of sacred love: to 
sexual love he applies the Catholic concepts of ecstasy, canoniza- 
tion, martyrdom, relics, while in some of his "Holy Sonnets" he 
addresses God in violent erotic figures : 

Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved jam 
But am betrothed unto your enemy. 
Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again. 
Take me to you, imprison me, for I 
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free, 
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. 

The interchange between the spheres of sex and religion recog- 
nizes that sex is a religion and religion is a love. 

One type of study stresses the self-expression, the revelation 
of the poet's psyche through his imagery. It assumes that the 
poet's images are like images in a dream, i.e., uncensored by 
discretion or shame: not his overt statements, but offered by way 
of illustration, they might be expected to betray his real centers 
of interest. But it may be questioned whether a poet has ever 
been so uncritical of his images. 53 

Another assumption, quite certainly mistaken, is that the poet 
must literally have perceived whatever he can imagine (on the 
strength of which Miss Wade, in her study of Traherne, recon- 
structs his early life). 54 According to Dr. Johnson, an admirer 
of Thomson's poems thought she knew his tastes from his works. 

She could gather from his works three parts of his char- 
acter: that he was a great lover, a great swimmer, and rig- 
orously abstinent ; but, said [his intimate] Savage, he knows 
not any love but that of the sex; he was perhaps never in 
cold water in his life; and he indulges himself in all the 
luxury that comes within his reach. 

Her conception of the poet's personal characteristics and habits 
was ludicrously inaccurate. Nor can we argue that absence of 
metaphoric images is equivalent to absence of interest. In Wal- 
ton's life of Donne there is not a fishing image among its eleven 
figures. The poetry of the fourteenth-century composer Machaut 
uses no tropes drawn from music. 55 

The assumption that a poet's imagery is the central contribu- 

Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 215 

tion of his unconscious and that in it, therefore, the poet speaks 
as a man, not as an artist, seems, in turn, referable back to float- 
ing, not very consistent, assumptions about how to recognize 
"sincerity." On the one hand, it is popularly supposed that strik- 
ing imagery must be contrived, and hence insincere: a man really 
moved would either speak in simple unfigured language or in 
banal and faded figures. But there is a rival idea that the trite 
figure evoking the stock response is a sign of insincerity, of ac- 
cepting a crude approximation to one's feeling in place of a 
scrupulous statement of it. Here we confuse men generally with 
literary men, men talking with men writing, or, rather, men 
talking with poems. Ordinary personal candor and trite imagery 
are eminently compatible. As for "sincerity" in a poem: the 
term seems almost meaningless. A sincere expression of what? 
Of the supposed emotional state out of which it came? Or of 
the state in which the poem was written? Or a sincere expression 
of the poem, i.e., the linguistic construct shaping in the author's 
mind as he writes? Surely it will have to be the last: the poem 
is a sincere expression of the poem. 

A poet's imagery is revelatory of his self. How is his self 
defined? Mario Praz and Mrs. Hornstein have both been amus- 
ing at the expense of Miss Spurgeon's Shakespeare, the uni- 
versal twentieth-century Englishman. It can be assumed that 
the great poet shared our "common humanity." 56 We need no 
imagistic key to the scriptures to learn that. If the value of image 
study lies in uncovering something recondite, it will presumably 
make it possible for us to read some private signatures, unlock 
the secret of Shakespeare's heart. 

Instead of discovering in his imagery Shakespeare's universal 
humanity, we may find a kind of hieroglyphic report on his 
psychic health as it exists when he is composing a specific play. 
Thus, Miss Spurgeon says of Troilus and Hamlet, "Did we not 
know it for other reasons, we could be sure from the similarity 
and continuity of symbolism in the two plays that they were 
written near together, and at a time when the author was suf- 
fering from a disillusionment, revulsion, and perturbation of 
nature such as we feel nowhere else with the same intensity." 
Here Miss Spurgeon is assuming not that the specific cause of 
Shakespeare's disillusionment can be located but that Hamlet 

216 Theory of Literature 

expresses disillusionment and that this must be Shakespeare's 
own. 57 He could not have written so great a play had he not been 
sincere, i.e., writing out of his own mood. Such a doctrine runs 
counter to the view of Shakespeare urged by E. E. Stoll and 
others which emphasizes his art, his dramaturgy, his skillful pro- 
vision of new and better plays within the general pattern of pre- 
ceding successes: e.g., Hamlet as a follower-up of The Spanish 
Tragedy; The Winter's Tale and The Tempest as a rival 
theater's equivalents to Beaumont and Fletcher. 

Not all studies of poetic imagery, however, attempt to catch 
the poet off guard or to pursue his inner biography. They may 
focus, rather, on an important element in the total meaning of 
a play — what Eliot calls "the pattern below the level of plot 
and character." 58 In her 1930 essay, "Leading Motives in the 
Imagery of Shakespeare's Tragedies," Miss Spurgeon herself is 
primarily interested in defining the image or cluster of images 
which, dominating a specific play, acts as tone-giver. Samples of 
her analysis are the discovery in Hamlet of images of disease, 
e.g., ulcer, cancer ; of food and the digestive apparatus in 
Troilus; in Othello, of "animals in action, preying upon one 
another. . . ." Miss Spurgeon makes some effort to show how 
this substructure of a play affects its total meaning, remarking 
of Hamlet that the disease motif suggests that the Prince is not 
culpable, that the whole state of Denmark is diseased. The posi- 
tive value of her work lies in this search for subtler forms of lit- 
erary meaning than ideological generalization and overt plot 

More ambitious studies of imagery, those of Wilson Knight, 
take off, initially, from Middleton Murry's brilliant pages on 
Shakespeare's imagery (The Problem of Style, 1922). Knight's 
earlier work (e.g., Myth and Miracle, 1929, and The Wheel of 
Fire, 1930) is exclusively concerned with Shakespeare ; but in 
later volumes the method is applied to other poets as well, e.g., 
Milton, Pope, Byron, Wordsworth. 59 The earlier work, clearly 
the best, keeps to studies of individual plays, studying each in 
terms of its symbolic imagery, giving particular attention to 
imagistic oppositions like "tempests" and "music," but also sensi- 
tively observing stylistic differentiations between play and play 
as well as within a play. In the later books, the extravagances 

Image, Metaphor, Symbol, Myth 21 7 

of an "enthusiast" are palpable. Knight's exegesis of Pope's 
Essays on Criticism and on Man blithely disregards the question 
of what the "ideas" in those poems could historically have 
meant to Pope and his contemporaries. Deficient in historical 
perspective, Knight suffers also from a desire to "philosophize." 
The "philosophy" he draws from Shakespeare and others is 
neither original, clear, nor complex: it amounts to the reconcilia- 
tion of Eros and Agape, of order with energy, and so on with 
other pairs of contraries. As all the "real" poets bring essentially 
the same "message," one is left, after the decoding of each, with 
a feeling of futility. Poetry is a "revelation," but what does it 

Quite as perceptive as Knight's work and much better bal- 
anced is that of Wolfgang Clemen, whose Shakes feares Bilder 60 
carries out the promise of its subtitle that it will study the de- 
velopment and functioning of the imagery. Contrasting the im- 
agery of lyrics and even epics, he insists on the dramatic nature 
of Shakespeare's plays: in his mature work, it is not Shakespeare 
"the man" but Troilus who metaphorically in the play thinks in 
terms of rancid food. In a play, "Each image is used by a spe- 
cific person." Clemen has a real sense for the right methodo- 
logical questions to put. In analyzing Titus Andronicus, for ex- 
ample, he asks, "On what occasions in the play does Shakespeare 
use images? Does there exist a connection between the use of 
imagery and the occasion? What function have the images?" — 
to which questions for Titus he has only negative answers. In 
Titus, the imagery is spasmodic and ornamental, but from that 
we can trace Shakespeare's development to the use of metaphor 
as u stimmungsmassige Untermalung des Geschehens* y and as a 
"ganz ursfriingliche Form der W ahrnehmung," i.e., to meta- 
phorical thinking. He makes admirable comments on the "ab- 
strakte Metaphorik" of Shakespeare's Middle Period (with its 
"unbildliche Bildlichkeit" — corresponding to Wells' Sunken, 
Radical, and Expansive types of imagery) ; but, writing a mono- 
graph on a specific poet, he introduces his type only when, in 
Shakespeare's "development," it appears ; and, though his mono- 
graph studies a development, and the "periods" of Shakespeare's 
work, Clemen remembers that he is studying the "periods" of 
the poetry, not those of the author's largely hypothetical life. 

2 1 8 Theory of Literature 

Like meter, imagery is one component structure of a poem. 
In terms of our scheme, it is a part of the syntactical, or stylistic, 
stratum. It must be studied, finally, not in isolation from the 
other strata but as an element in the totality, the integrity, of the 
literary work. 


The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 

Literary theory and criticism concerned with the novel are 
much inferior in both quantity and quality to theory and criti- 
cism of poetry. The cause customarily assigned for this would 
be the antiquity of poetry, the comparative recency of the novel. 
But the explanation scarcely seems adequate. The novel as an 
art form is, as one can say in German, a form of Dkhtung; is, 
indeed, in its high form, the modern descendant of the epic — 
with drama, one of the two great forms. The reasons are rather, 
one thinks, the widespread association of the novel with enter- 
tainment, amusement, and escape rather than serious art — the 
confounding of the great novels, that is, with manufactures made 
with a narrow aim at the market. The lingering American popu- 
lar view, disseminated by pedagogues, that the reading of non- 
fiction was instructive and meritorious, that of fiction, harmful 
or at best self-indulgent, was not without implicit backing in the 
attitude toward the novel of representative critics like Lowell 
and Arnold. 

There is an opposite danger, however, of taking the novel 
seriously in the wrong way, that is, as a document or case his- 
tory, as — what for its own purposes of illusion it sometimes pro- 
fesses to be — a confession, a true story, a history of a life and its 
times. Literature must always be interesting j it must always 
have a structure and an aesthetic purpose, a total coherence and 
effect. It must, of course, stand in recognizable relation to life, 
but the relations are very various : the life can be heightened or 
burlesqued or antithesized ; it is in any case a selection, of a spe- 
cifically purposive sort, from life. We have to have a knowl- 
edge independent of literature in order to know what the rela- 
tion of a specific work to "life" may be. 

Aristotle described poetry (that is, epic and drama) as nearer 
to philosophy than to history. The dictum seems to have per- 


220 Theory of Literature 

manent suggestiveness. There is factual truth, truth in specific 
detail of time and place — truth of history in the narrow sense. 
Then there is philosophic truth: conceptual, propositional, gen- 
eral. From the points of view of "history," so defined, and 
philosophy, imaginative literature is "fiction," a lie. The word 
"fiction" still preserves this old Platonic charge against litera- 
ture, to which Philip Sidney and Dr. Johnson reply that litera- 
ture never pretended to be real in that sense ; 1 and still preserv- 
ing this vestigial remnant of the old charge of deception, it can 
still irritate the earnest writer of novels, who knows well that 
fiction is less strange and more representative than truth. 

Wilson Follett remarks admirably of Defoe's narrative of 
Mrs. Veal and Mrs. Bargrave that "Everything in the story is 
true except the whole of it. And mark how difficult Defoe makes 
it to question even that whole. The tale is told by a third woman 
of exactly the same stamp as the other two, a life-long friend 
of Mrs. Bargrave. . . ." 2 

Marianne Moore speaks of poetry as presenting 

for inspection, imaginary gardens with real toads in them. 

The reality of a work of fiction — i.e., its illusion of reality, 
its effect on the reader as a convincing reading of life — is not 
necessarily or primarily a reality of circumstance or detail or 
commonplace routine. By all of these standards, writers like 
Howells or Gottfried Keller put to shame the writers of Oedipus 
Rex, Hamlet, and Moby Dick. Verisimilitude in detail is a 
means to illusion, but often used, as in Gulliver's Travels, as 
a decoy to entice the reader into some improbable or incredible 
situation which has "truth to reality" in some deeper than a cir- 
cumstantial sense. 

Realism and naturalism, whether in the drama or the novel, 
are literary or literary-philosophical movements, conventions, 
styles, like romanticism or surrealism. The distinction is not be- 
tween reality and illusion, but between differing conceptions of 
reality, between differing modes of illusion. 3 

What is the relation of narrative fiction to life? The classical 
or Neo-Classical answer would be that it presents the typical, the 
universal — the typical miser (Moliere, Balzac), the typical faith- 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 221 

less daughters (Lear, Goriot). But are not such class concepts 
for sociology? Or it would have been said that art ennobles or 
heightens or idealizes life. There is such a style of art, of course, 
but it is a style, not the essence of art; though all art, to be sure, 
by giving aesthetic distance, by shaping and articulating, makes 
that pleasant to contemplate which would be painful to experi- 
ence or even, in life, to witness. Perhaps it might be said that 
a work of fiction offers a "case history" — an illustration or exem- 
plification of some general pattern or syndrome. There are 
instances — in short stories like Cather's "Paul's Case" or "The 
Sculptor's Funeral" — which approach it. But the novelist offers 
less a case — a character or event — than a world. The great nov- 
elists all have such a world — recognizable as overlapping the 
empirical world but distinct in its self-coherent intelligibility. 
Sometimes it is a world which can be mapped out in some area 
of the globe — like Trollope's counties and cathedral towns, 
Hardy's Wessex; but sometimes — as with Poe — it is not: Poe's 
horrendous castles are not in Germany or Virginia but in the 
soul. Dickens' world can be identified with London; Kafka's 
with old Prague: but both worlds are so "projected," so creative 
and created and hereafter recognized in the empirical world as 
Dickens characters and Kafka situations that the identifications 
seem rather irrelevant. 

Meredith, Conrad, Henry James, and Hardy have all, says 
Desmond McCarthy, "blown great comprehensive iridescent 
bubbles, in which the human beings they describe, though they 
have of course a recognizable resemblance to real people, only 
attain in that world their full reality." Imagine, McCarthy says, 
"a character moved from one imaginary world to another. If 
Pecksniff were transplanted into The Golden Bowl he would be- 
come extinct. . . . The unforgivable artistic fault in a novelist 
is failure to maintain consistency of tone." 4 

This world or Kosmos of a novelist — this pattern or structure 
or organism, which includes plot, characters, setting, world-view, 
"tone" — is what we must scrutinize when we attempt to compare 
a novel with life or to judge, ethically or socially, a novelist's 
work. The truth to life, or "reality," is no more to be judged 
by the factual accuracy of this or that detail than the moral judg- 
ment is to be passed, as Boston censors pass it, on whether spe- 

222 Theory of Literature 

cific sexual or blasphemous words occur within a novel. The 
soundly critical appeal is to the whole fictional world in com- 
parison with our own experienced and imagined world, com- 
monly less integrated than that of the novelist. We are content 
to call a novelist great when his world, though not patterned or 
scaled like our own, is comprehensive of all the elements which 
we find necessary to catholic scope or, though narrow in scope, 
selects for inclusion the deep and central, and when the scale or 
hierarchy of elements seems to us such as a mature man can 

In using the term "world," one is using a space term. "Had 
we but world enough and time." But "narrative fiction" — or, 
better, a term like "story," calls our attention to time, and a 
sequence in time. "Story" comes from "history": the "Chroni- 
cles of Barsetshire." Literature is generally to be classed as a 
time-art (in distinction from painting and sculpture, space-arts) 5 
but in a very active way modern poetry (non-narrative poetry) 
seeks to escape its destiny — to become a contemplative stasis, a 
"self-reflexive" pattern ; and as Joseph Frank has well shown, 
the modern art-novel (Ulysses, Nightwood, Mrs. Dalloway) 
has sought to organize itself poetically, i.e., "self-reflexively." 5 
This calls our attention to an important cultural phenomenon: 
the old narrative, or story (epic or novel) happened in time — 
the traditional time-span for the epic was a year. In many great 
novels, men are born, grow up, and die; characters develop, 
change - y even a whole society may be seen to change ( The For- 
syte Saga, War and Peace) or a family's cyclic progress and 
decline exhibited (Buddenbrooks) . The novel, traditionally, has 
to take the time dimension seriously. 

In the picaresque novel, the chronological sequence is all there 
is: this happened and then that. The adventures, each an inci- 
dent, which might be an independent tale, are connected by the 
figure of the hero. A more philosophic novel adds to chronology 
the structure of causation. The novel shows a character deterio- 
rating or improving in consequence of causes operating steadily 
over a period of time. Or in a closely contrived plot, something 
has happened in time: the situation at the end is very different 
from that at the opening. 

To tell a story, one has to be concerned about the happening, 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 223 

not merely the outcome. There is or was a kind of reader who 
must look ahead to see how a story "comes out"; but one who 
reads only the "concluding chapter" of a nineteenth-century 
novel would be somebody incapable of interest in story, which 
is process — even though process toward an end. There are cer- 
tainly philosophers and moralists like Emerson who cannot take 
novels seriously primarily, one thinks, because action — or ex- 
ternal action — or action in time — seems to them unreal. They 
cannot see history as real: history is just an unrolling in time of 
more of the same; and the novel is fictitious history. 

A word should be said about the word "narrative," which, 
as applied to fiction, should imply the contrast of enacted fic- 
tion, i.e., drama. A story, or fable, can be represented by mimes, 
or it can be narrated by a single teller, who will be the epic 
teller, or one of his successors. The epic poet uses the first person 
and can, like Milton, make that a lyric or auctorial first person. 
The nineteenth-century novelist, even though he did not write 
in the first person, used the epic privilege of comment and gen- 
eralization — what we might call the "essayistic" (as distinct 
from lyric) first person. But the chief pattern of narrative is its 
inclusiveness : it intersperses scenes in dialogue (which might be 
acted) with summary accounts of what is happening. 6 

The two chief modes of narrative fiction have, in English, 
been called the "romance" and the "novel." In 1785, Clara 
Reeve distinguished them: "The Novel is a picture of real life 
and manners, and of the time in which it is written. The Ro- 
mance, in lofty and elevated language, describes what never 
happened nor is likely to happen." 7 The novel is realistic 5 the 
romance is poetic or epic: we should now call it "mythic." Mrs. 
Radcliffe, Sir Walter Scott, Hawthorne are writers of "ro- 
mance." Fanny Burney, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, George 
Gissing are novelists. The two types, which are polar, indicate 
the double descent of prose narrative: the novel develops from 
the lineage of non-fictitious narrative forms — the letter, the 
journal, the memoir or biography, the chronicle or history ; it 
develops, so to speak, out of documents ; stylistically, it stresses 
representative detail, "mimesis" in its narrow sense. The ro- 
mance, on the other hand, the continuator of the epic and the 
medieval romance, may neglect verisimilitude of detail (the 

224 Theory of Literature 

reproduction of individuated speech in dialogue, for example), 
addressing itself to a higher reality, a deeper psychology. 
"When a writer calls his work a Romance," writes Hawthorne, 
"it need hardly be observed that he wishes to claim a certain 
latitude both as to its fashion and its material. . . ." If such a 
romance be laid in past time, it is not in order to picture with 
minute accuracy that past time, but to secure, in Hawthorne's 
words elsewhere, "a sort of poetic . . . precinct, where actuali- 
ties would not be . . . insisted upon. . . ." 8 

Analytical criticism of the novel has customarily distinguished 
three constituents, plot, characterization, and setting: the last, 
so readily symbolic, becomes, in some modern theories, "atmos- 
phere" or "tone." It is needless to observe that each of these ele- 
ments is determinant of the others. As Henry James asks in his 
essay, "The Art of Fiction," "What is character but the deter- 
mination of incident? What is incident but the illustration of 

The narrative structure of play, tale, or novel has traditionally 
been called the "plot" ; and probably the term should be re- 
tained. But then it must be taken in a sense wide enough to in- 
clude Chekhov and Flaubert and Henry James as well as Hardy, 
Wilkie Collins, and Poe : it must not be restricted to mean a pat- 
tern of close intrigue like Godwin's Caleb Williams. 9 We shall 
speak rather of types of plots, of looser and of more intricate, 
of "romantic" plots and "realistic." In a time of literary transi- 
tion, a novelist may feel compelled to provide two kinds, one 
of them out of an obsolescent mode. Hawthorne's novels after 
The Scarlet Letter offer, clumsily, an old-fashioned mystery 
plot, while their real plot is of a looser, more "realistic," variety. 
In his later novels, Dickens devotes much ingenuity to his mys- 
tery plots, which may or may not coincide with the novel's real 
center of interest. The last third of Huck Finn, obviously in- 
ferior to the rest, seems prompted by a mistaken sense of respon- 
sibility to provide some "plot." The real plot, however, has 
already been in successful progress: it is a mythic plot, the meet- 
ing on a raft and journey down a great river of four who have 
escaped, for various reasons, from conventional society. One of 
the oldest and most universal plots is that of the Journey, by 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 225 

land or water: Huck Finn, Moby Dick, Pilgrim's Progress, 
Don Quixote, Pickwick Papers, The Grapes of Wrath. It is cus- 
tomary to speak of all plots as involving conflict (man against 
nature, or man against other men, or man fighting with him- 
self) j but then, like plot, the term must be given much latitude. 
Conflict is "dramatic," suggests some matching of approximately 
equal forces, suggests action and counteraction. Yet there are 
plots which it seems more rational to speak of in terms of a 
single line or direction, as plots of the chase or the pursuit: Caleb 
Williams, The Scarlet Letter, Crime and Punishment, Kafka's 

The plot (or narrative structure) is itself composed of smaller 
narrative structures (episodes, incidents). The larger and more 
inclusive literary structures (the tragedy, the epic, the novel) 
have developed, historically, from earlier, rudimentary forms 
like the joke, the saying, the anecdote, the letter ; and the plot 
of a play or novel is a structure of structures. The Russian for- 
malists, and German form-analysts like Dibelius, give the term 
"motive" (Fr., motif, Germ., motiv) to the ultimate plot- 
elements. 10 "Motive," as thus used by literary historians, is bor- 
rowed from the Finnish folklorists, who have analyzed fairy 
and folk tales into their parts. 11 Obvious examples from written 
literature will be mistaken identities ( The Comedy of Errors) ; 
the marriage of youth and old age ("January and May") ; filial 
ingratitude to a father {Lear, Pere Goriot) ; the search of a son 
for his father (Ulysses, and The Odyssey). 12 

What we call the "composition" of the novel is, by the Ger- 
mans and Russians, called its "motivation." The term might well 
be adopted into English as valuable precisely for its double ref- 
erence to structural or narrative composition and to the inner 
structure of psychological, social, or philosophical theory of why 
men behave as they do — some theory of causation, ultimately. 
Sir Walter Scott asserts early, that "the most marked distinction 
between a real and a fictitious narrative [is] that the former, in 
reference to the remote causes of the events it relates, is obscure 
. . . whereas in the latter case it is a part of the author's duty 
to . . . account for everything." 13 

Composition or motivation (in the largest sense) will include 

226 Theory of Literature 

narrative method: "scale," "pace"; devices: the proportioning 
of scenes or drama to picture or straight narrative and of both 
to narrative summary or digest. 

Motifs and devices have their period character. The Gothic 
romance has its own; the realistic novel, its. Dibelius repeatedly 
speaks of Dickens' "realism" as of the Marchen, not of the 
naturalistic novel, the devices being utilized to lead into old- 
fashioned melodramatic motifs: the man supposed dead who 
comes to life, or the child whose real paternity is finally estab- 
lished, or the mysterious benefactor who turns out to be a 
convict. 14 

In a work of literary art, the "motivation" must increase the 
"illusion of reality": that is, its aesthetic function. "Realistic" 
motivation is an artistic device. In art, seeming is even more 
important than being. 

The Russian formalists distinguish the "fable," the temporal- 
causal sequence which, however it may be told, is the "story" or 
story-stuff, from the "sujet," which we might translate as 
"narrative structure." The "fable" is the sum of all the motifs, 
while the "sujet" is the artistically ordered presentation of the 
motifs (often quite different). Obvious instances involve tem- 
poral displacement: beginning in medias res, like the Odyssey 
or Barnaby Rudge; backward and forward movements, as in 
Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom. The "sujet" of Faulkner's As I 
Lay Dying involves the story being narrated in turn by the 
members of a family as they carry the mother's body to a dis- 
tant graveyard. "Sujet" is plot as mediated through "point of 
view," "focus of narration." "Fable" is, so to speak, an abstrac- 
tion from the "raw materials" of fiction (the author's experience, 
reading, etc.); the "sujet" is an abstraction from the "fable"; 
or, better, a sharper focusing of narrative vision. 15 

Fable-time is the total period spanned by the story. But 
"narrative" time corresponds to "sujet": it is reading-time, or 
"experienced time," which is controlled, of course, by the nov- 
elist, who passes over years in a few sentences but gives two long 
chapters to a dance or tea-party. 16 

The simplest form of characterization is naming. Each "appel- 
lation" is a kind of vivifying, animizing, individuating. The 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 227 

allegoric or quasi-allegoric name appears in eighteenth-century 
comedy: Fielding's Allworthy and Thwackum, Witwoud, Mrs. 
Malaprop, Sir Benjamin Backbite, with their echo of Jonson, 
Bunyan, Spenser, and Everyman. But the subtler practice is a 
kind of onomatopoeic toning, at which novelists as alien as 
Dickens and Henry James, Balzac and Gogol, are alike adept: 
Pecksniff, Pumblechook, Rosa Dartle (dart; startle), Mr. and 
Miss Murdstone (murder + stony heart). Melville's Ahab and 
Ishmael show what can be done by literary — in this instance, 
Biblical — allusion as a form of characterizing economy. 17 

Modes of characterization are many. Older novelists like 
Scott introduce each of their major persons by a paragraph de- 
scribing in detail the physical appearance and another analyzing 
the moral and psychological nature. But this form of block 
characterization may be reduced to an introductory label. Or the 
label may turn into a device of mimicry or pantomime — some 
mannerism, gesture, or saying, which, as in Dickens, recurs when- 
ever the character reappears, serving as emblematic accompani- 
ment. Mrs. Gummidge is "always thinking of the old un"; 
Uriah Heep has a word, "umble," and also a ritual gesture of 
the hands. Hawthorne sometimes characterizes by a literal em- 
blem: Zenobia's red flower; Westervelt's brilliantly artificial 
teeth. The later James of The Golden Bowl has one character 
see another in symbolic terms. 

There are static characterizations and dynamic or develop- 
mental. The latter seems particularly suited to the long novel 
like War and Peace, as it is obviously less suited to drama, with 
its confined narrative time. Drama (e.g., Ibsen) can gradually 
disclose how a character has become what it is; the novel can 
show the change occurring. "Flat" characterization (which 
commonly overlaps "static") presents a single trait, seen as the 
dominant or socially most obvious trait. It may be caricature or 
may be abstractive idealization. Classical drama (e.g., Racine) 
applies it to major characters. "Round" characterization, like 
"dynamic," requires space and emphasis; is obviously usable 
for characters focal for point of view or interest; hence is ordi- 
narily combined with "flat" treatment of background figures — 
the "chorus." 18 

228 Theory of Literature 

There is obviously some kind of connection between charac- 
terization (literary method) and characterology (theories of 
character, personality types). There are character-typologies, 
partly literary tradition, partly folk-anthropology, which are 
used by novelists. In nineteenth-century English and American 
fiction, one finds brunettes, male and female (Heathcliffe, Mr. 
Rochester ; Becky Sharp ; Maggie Tulliver; Zenobia, Miriam; 
Ligeia) and blondes (female instances — Amelia Sedley; Lucy 
Dean; Hilda, Priscilla, and Phoebe [Hawthorne]; Lady Row- 
ena [Poe]). The blonde is the home-maker, unexciting but 
steady and sweet. The brunette — passionate, violent, mysterious, 
alluring, and untrustworthy — gathers up the characteristics of 
the Oriental, the Jewish, the Spanish, and the Italian as seen 
from the point of view of the "Anglo-Saxon." 19 

In the novel, as in the drama, we have something like a rep- 
ertory company: the hero, the heroine, the villain, the "char- 
acter actors" (or "humor characters," or comic relief). There 
are the juveniles and ingenues and the elderly (the father and 
mother, the maiden aunt, the duenna, or the nurse). The dra- 
matic art of the Latin tradition (Plautus and Terence, the corn- 
media dell'arte, Jonson, Moliere) uses a strongly marked and 
traditional typology of miles gloriosus, miserly father, wily 
servant. But a great novelist like Dickens largely adopts and 
adapts the types of the eighteenth-century stage and novel; he 
initiates only two types — the helpless old and young, and the 
dreamers or fantasts (e.g., Tom Pinch, in Chuzzlewit). 20 

Whatever the ultimate social or anthropological basis for lit- 
erary character-types such as the blonde heroine and the bru- 
nette, the affective patterns can both be made out from the 
novels without documentary aid, and they have, commonly, lit- 
erary-historical ancestries and lines — like the femme jatale and 
the dark Satanic hero studied by Mario Praz in The Romantic 
Agony. 21 

Attention to setting — the literary element of description as 
distinguished from narration — would at first thought seem to 
differentiate "fiction" from drama; our second thought, how- 
ever, would rather make it a matter of period. Detailed atten- 
tion to setting, whether in drama or the novel, is Romantic or 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 229 

Realistic (i.e., nineteenth-century) rather than universal. In 
drama, the setting may be given verbally within the play (as in 
Shakespeare) or indicated by stage directions to scene designers 
and carpenters. Some "scenes" in Shakespeare are not to be 
placed, localized, at all. 22 But within the novel, also, description 
of the setting is to a high degree variable. Jane Austen, like 
Fielding and Smollett, rarely describes either interiors or exte- 
riors. The earlier novels of James, written under the influence 
of Balzac, are detailed for both houses and landscapes; the later 
novels substitute for how scenes look some symbolic rendering 
of how they totally feel. 

Romantic description aims at establishing and maintaining a 
mood: plot and characterization are to be dominated by tone, 
effect — Mrs. Radcliffe and Poe are instances. Naturalistic de- 
scription is a seeming documentation, offered in the interest of 
illusion (Defoe, Swift, Zola). 

Setting is environment; and environments, especially domestic 
interiors, may be viewed as metonymic, or metaphoric, expres- 
sions of character. A man's house is an extension of himself. 
Describe it and you have described him. Balzac's detailed speci- 
fications for the house of the miser Grandet or the Pension 
Vauquer are neither irrelevant nor wasteful. 23 These houses 
express their owners; they affect, as atmosphere, those others 
who must live in them. The petty-bourgeois horror of the Pen- 
sion is the immediate provocation of Rastignac's reaction and 
in another sense Vautrin's, while it measures the degradation of 
Goriot and affords constant contrast with the grandeurs alter- 
nately described. 

Setting may be the expression of a human will. It may, if it 
is a natural setting, be a projection of the will. Says the self- 
analyst Amiel, "A landscape is a state of mind." Between man 
and nature there are obvious correlatives, most intensely (but 
not exclusively) felt by the Romantics. A stormy, tempestuous 
hero rushes out into the storm. A sunny disposition likes sun- 
light. _ 

Again, setting may be the massive determinant — environment 
viewed as physical or social causation, something over which the 
individual has little individual control. This setting may be 

230 Theory of Literature 

Hardy's Egdon Heath or Lewis' Zenith. The great city (Paris, 
London, New York) is the most real of the characters in many 
a modern novel. 

A story can be told through letters or journals. Or it can de- 
velop from anecdotes. The frame-story enclosing other stories 
is, historically, a bridge between anecdote and novel. In the 
Decameron, the stories are thematically grouped. In the Can- 
terbury Tales j such grouping of themes (e.g., marriage) is bril- 
liantly supplemented by the conception of characterization of 
teller through tale and of a set of characters with psychological 
and social tensions between them. The story-of-stories has a 
Romantic version as well: in Irving's Tales of a Traveller and 
Hoffmann's Tales of the Serapion Brethren. The Gothic novel, 
Melmoth the Wanderer ■, is a strange but undeniably effective 
group of separate tales united only loosely save by their common 
tone of horror. 

Another device, currrently out of practice, is the short story 
included within a novel (e.g., the "Man on the Hill's Tale" in 
Tom Jones; the "Confessions of a Beautiful Soul," in Wilhelm 
Meister). This can be seen as, on one level, the attempt to fill 
out the size of a work; on another, as the search for variety. 
Both ends seem better served in the Victorian three-decker 
novels, which keep two or three plot-sequences in alternate 
movement (on their revolving stage) and eventually show how 
they interlock — a compounding of plots already practiced by the 
Elizabethans, often brilliantly. Artistically handled, one plot 
parallels the other (in Lear) or serves as "comic relief" or 
parody and hence underlining of the other. 

Telling a story in the first person (the Ich-Erzahlung) is a 
method carefully to be weighed against others. Such a narrator 
must not, of course, be confounded with the author. The pur- 
pose and effect of narration in the first person vary. Sometimes 
the effect is to make the teller less sharp and "real" than other 
characters (David Copper field). On the other hand, Moll 
Flanders and Huck Finn are central to their own stories. In 
"The House of Usher," Poe's first-person narration enables the 
reader to identify himself with Usher's neutral friend and to 
withdraw with him at the catastrophic finale; but the neurotic 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 231 

or psychotic central character tells his own story in "Ligeia," 
"Berenice," and "The Tell-Tale Heart": the narrator, with 
whom we cannot identify, is making a confession, characterizing 
himself by what he reports and how he reports it. 

Interesting is the question of how the story purports to exist. 
Some tales are elaborately introduced (Castle of Otranto, Turn 
of the Screw, Scarlet Letter) : the story proper is given several 
degrees of detachment from its author or the reader by being 
represented as told to A by B, or as a manuscript entrusted to 
A by B, who perhaps wrote down the life-tragedy of C. Poe's 
first-person narratives are sometimes, ostensibly, dramatic mono- 
logues ("Amontillado"), sometimes the written confession of a 
tormented soul, avowedly unburdening himself ("The Tell- 
Tale Heart"). Often the assumption is not clear: in "Ligeia," 
are we to think of the narrator as talking to himself, rehearsing 
his story to refresh his own sense of horror? 

The central problem of narrative method concerns the relation 
of the author to his work. From a play, the author is absent j he 
has disappeared behind it. But the epic poet tells a story as a 
professional story-teller, including his own comments within the 
poem, and giving the narration proper (as distinct from dia- 
logue) in his own style. 

The novelist can similarly tell a story without laying claim to 
having witnessed or participated in what he narrates. He can 
write in the third person, as the "omniscient author." This is 
undoubtedly the traditional and "natural" mode of narration. 
The author is present, at the side of his work, like the lecturer 
whose exposition accompanies the lantern slides or the documen- 
tary film. 

There are two ways of deviating from that mixed mode of 
epic narration: one, which may be called the romantic-ironic, 
deliberately magnifies the role of the narrator, delights in vio- 
lating any possible illusion that this is "life" and not "art," em- 
phasizes the written literary character of the book. The founder 
of the line is Sterne, especially in Tristram Shandy; he is fol- 
lowed by Jean Paul Richter and Tieck in Germany; by Velt- 
man and Gogol in Russia. Tristram might be called a novel 
about novel-writing, as might Gide's Les Faux-Monnayeurs and 
its derivative, Point Counter-point. Thackeray's much-censured 

232 Theory of Literature 

management of Vanity Fair — his constant reminder that these 
characters are puppets he has manufactured — is doubtless a spe- 
cies of this literary irony: literature reminding itself that it is 
but literature. 

The opposite goal for the novel is the "objective" or "dra- 
matic" method, argued for and illustrated by Otto Ludwig in 
Germany, Flaubert and Maupassant in France, Henry James in 
England. 24 The exponents of this method, critics as well as ar- 
tists, have sought to represent it as the only artistic method (a 
dogma which need not be accepted). It has been admirably 
expounded in Percy Lubbock's Craft of Fiction, a Poetics of 
the novel based on the practice and the theory of Henry James. 

"Objective" is the better term to use, since "dramatic" might 
mean "dialogue" or "action, behavior" (in contrast to the inner 
world of thought and feeling) ; but, quite clearly, it was the 
drama, the theater, which instigated these movements. Otto 
Ludwig formed his theories on the basis chiefly of Dickens, 
whose devices of pantomime and characterization by stock phrase 
were borrowed from the older eighteenth-century comedy and 
melodrama. Instead of narrating, Dickens' impulse is always to 
f resent , in dialogue and pantomime ; instead of telling us about , 
he shows us. Later modes of the novel learn from other and 
subtler theaters, as James did from that of Ibsen. 25 

The objective method must not be thought of as limited to 
dialogue and reported behavior (James' The Awkward Age; 
Hemingway's "The Killers"). Such limitation would bring it 
into direct, and unequal, rivalry with the theater. Its triumphs 
have been in the presentation of that psychic life which the 
theater can handle but awkwardly. Its essentials are the volun- 
tary absence from the novel of the "omniscient novelist" and, 
instead, the presence of a controlled "point of view." James 
and Lubbock see the novel as giving us, in turn, "picture" and 
"drama," by which they mean some character's consciousness of 
what is going on (within and without) in distinction from a 
"scene," which is partly at least in dialogue and which presents, 
in some detail, an important episode or encounter. 26 The "pic- 
ture" is as "objective" as the "drama," only it is the objective 
rendering of a specific subjectivity — that of one of the char- 
acters (Madame Bovary, or Strether), while the "drama" is the 

The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 233 

objective rendering of speech and behavior. This theory admits 
of a shift of "point of view" (e.g., from the Prince to the Prin- 
cess in the second half of The Golden Bowl), provided it be 
systematic. It also admits the author's use of a character within 
the novel, not unlike the author, who is either telling the nar- 
rative to some friends ( Mario w, in Conrad's Youth) or the con- 
sciousness through which all is seen (Strether, in The Ambas- 
sadors) : the insistence is upon the self-consistent objectivity of 
the novel. If the author is to be present other than "in solution," 
it must be by reducing himself or his representative to the same 
size and status as the other characters. 27 

Integral to the objective method is presentation in time, the 
reader's living through the process with the characters. To some 
extent, "picture" and "drama" must always be supplemented by 
"summary" (the "five days elapse between Acts I and II" of 
the theater) ; but it should be minimal. The Victorian novel used 
to end with a chapter summarizing the subsequent careers, mar- 
riages, and deaths, of the principal characters ; James, Howells, 
and their contemporaries put an end to this practice, which they 
viewed as an artistic blunder. According to objectivist theory, 
the author must never anticipate what lies ahead 5 he must un- 
roll his chart, letting us see only a line at a time. Ramon Fer- 
nandez sets up a distinction between the recti, the narrative of 
what has already taken place, and is now being told, according 
to the laws of exposition and description, and the roman, or 
novel, which represents events taking place in time, according to 
the order of living production. 28 

A characteristic technical device of the objective novel is what 
the Germans call "erlebte Rede" and the French "le style in- 
direct libre" (Thibaudet) and "le monologue interieur" (Du- 
jardin) ; and in English, the phrase, "stream of consciousness," 
which goes back to William James, is the loose, inclusive cor- 
respondent. 29 Dujardin defines "interior monologue" as a de- 
vice for the "direct introduction of the reader into the interior 
life of the character, without any interventions in the way of 
explanation or commentary on the part of the author . . ." and 
as "the expression of the most intimate thoughts, those which 
lie nearest the unconscious . . ." In The Ambassadors, says Lub- 
bock, James does not "tell the story of Strether's mind; he 

234 Theory of Literature 

makes it tell itself, he dramatizes it." 30 The history of these 
devices, and of their adumbrations in all modern literatures, 
only begins to be studied: the Shakespearean soliloquy is one 
ancestor ; Sterne, applying Locke on the free association of ideas, 
is another ; the "internal analysis," i.e., the summarizing by the 
author of a character's movement of thought and feeling, is 
a third. 31 

These observations on our third stratum, that of the fictional 
"world" (plot, characters, setting), have been illustrated chiefly 
from the novel but should be understood as applicable also to 
the drama, considered as a literary work. The fourth and last 
stratum, that of the "metaphysical qualities," we have viewed 
as closely related to the "world," as equivalent to the "attitude 
towards life" or tone implicit in the world} but these qualities 
will recur for closer attention in our treatment of Evaluation. 


Literary Genres 

Is literature a collection o£ individual poems and plays and 
novels which share a common name? Such nominalistic answers 
have been given in our time, especially by Croce. 1 But his an- 
swer, though intelligible as reaction against extremes of classical 
authoritarianism, has not commended itself as doing justice to 
the facts of literary life and history. 

The literary kind is not a mere name, for the aesthetic con- 
vention in which a work participates shapes its character. Lit- 
erary kinds "may be regarded as institutional imperatives which 
both coerce and are in turn coerced by the writer." 2 Milton, so 
libertarian in politics and religion, was a traditionalist in poetry, 
haunted, as W. P. Ker admirably says, by the "abstract idea of 
the epic" j he knew himself "what the laws are of a true epic 
poem, what of a dramatic, what of a lyric." 3 But he also knew 
how to adjust, stretch, alter the classical forms — knew how to 
Christianize and Miltonize the Aeneid, as in Samson he knew 
how to tell his personal story through a Hebrew folk tale 
treated as a Greek tragedy. 

The literary kind is an "institution" — as Church, University, 
or State is an institution. It exists, not as an animal exists or even 
as a building, chapel, library, or capitol, but as an institution 
exists. One can work through, express himself through, existing 
institutions, create new ones, or get on, so far as possible, without 
sharing in polities or rituals ; one can also join, but then reshape, 
institutions. 4 

Theory of genres is a principle of order: it classifies literature 
and literary history not by time or place (period or national lan- 
guage) but by specifically literary types of organization or struc- 
ture. 5 Any critical and evaluative — as distinct from historical — 
study involves, in some form, the appeal to such structures. The 
judgment of a poem, for example, involves appeal to one's total 


236 Theory of Literature 

experience and conception, descriptive and normative, of poetry 
(though of course one's conception of poetry is, in turn, always 
being altered by one's experience and judgment of further spe- 
cific poems). 

Does a theory of literary kinds involve the supposition that 
every work belongs to a kind? The question is not raised in any 
discussion we know. If we were to answer by analogy to the natu- 
ral world, we should certainly answer "yes": even the whale and 
the bat can be placed; and we admit of creatures who are transi- 
tions from one kingdom to another. We might try a series of 
rephrasings such as give our question sharper focus. Does every 
work stand in close enough literary relations to other works so 
that its study is helped by the study of the other works? Again, 
how far is "intention" involved in the idea of genre? Intention 
on the part of a pioneer? Intention on the part of others? 6 

Do genres remain fixed? Presumably not. With the addition 
of new works, our categories shift. Study the effect on theory of 
the novel of Tristram Shandy or Ulysses. When Milton wrote 
Paradise Lost, he thought of it as one with the Iliad as well as 
the Aeneid; we would doubtless sharply distinguish primitive 
epic from literary epic, whether or not we think of the Iliad as 
the former. Milton probably would not have granted that the 
Faerie Queene was an epic, though written in a time when epic 
and romance were still unseparate and when the allegorical 
character of epic was held dominant 3 yet Spenser certainly 
thought of himself as writing the kind of poem Homer wrote. 

Indeed, one characteristic kind of critical performance seems 
the discovery, and the dissemination, of a new grouping, a new 
generic pattern: Empson puts together, as versions of pastoral, 
As You Like It y The Beggar's Of era, Alice in Wonderland. The 
Brothers Karamazov is put with other murder mysteries. 

Aristotle and Horace are our classical texts for genre theory. 
From them, we think of tragedy and epic as the characteristic (as 
well as the two major) kinds. But Aristotle at least is also aware 
of other and more fundamental distinctions — between drama, 
epic, and lyric. Most modern literary theory would be inclined 
to scrap the prose-poetry distinction and then to divide imagina- 
tive literature (Dichtung) into fiction (novel, short story, epic), 

Literary Genres 237 

drama (whether in prose or verse), and poetry (centering on 
what corresponds to the ancient "lyric poetry"). 

Vietor suggests, quite properly, that the term "genre" ought 
not to be used both for these three more or less ultimate cate- 
gories and also for such historical kinds as tragedy and comedy; 7 
and we agree that it should be applied to the latter — the his- 
torical kinds. A term for the former is difficult to manage — per- 
haps not often, in practice, needed. 8 The three major kinds are 
already, by Plato and Aristotle, distinguished according to "man- 
ner of imitation" (or "representation") : lyric poetry is the poet's 
own fersona; in epic poetry (or the novel) the poet partly speaks 
in his own person, as narrator, and partly makes his characters 
speak in direct discourse (mixed narrative) ; in drama, the poet 
disappears behind his cast of characters. 9 

Attempts have been made to show the fundamental nature of 
these three kinds by dividing the dimensions of time and even 
linguistic morphology between them. In his letter to Davenant, 
Hobbes had tried something of the sort when, having divided 
the world into court, city, and country, he then found a cor- 
responding three, basic kinds of poetry — the heroic (epic and 
tragedy), the scommatic (satire and comedy), and the pastoral. 10 
E. S. Dallas, a talented English critic who knew the critical 
thinking of the Schlegels as well as Coleridge, 11 finds three basic 
kinds of poetry, "Play, tale, and song," which he then works out 
into a series of schemata more German than English. He trans- 
lates: drama — second person, present time; epic — third person, 
past time; and lyric — first person singular, future. John Erskine, 
however, who in 19 12 published an interpretation of the basic 
literary kinds of poetic "temperament," finds that the lyric ex- 
presses present time, but, by taking the line that tragedy shows 
the judgment day upon man's past — his character accumulated 
into his fate — and epic the destiny of a nation or race, he is able 
to arrive at what, merely listed, sounds the perverse identifica- 
tion of drama with the past and epic with the future. 12 

Erskine's ethico-psychological interpretation is remote in 
spirit and method from the attempt of the Russian formalists 
like Roman Jakobson, who wish to show the correspondence be- 
tween the fixed grammatical structure of the language and the 
literary kinds. The lyric, declares Jakobson, is the first person 

238 Theory of Literature 

singular, present tense, while the epic is third person, past tense 
(the "I" of the epic teller is really looked at from the side as a 
third person — "dieses objektivierte Ich"). 13, 

Such explorations of the basic kinds, which attach them on the 
one extreme to linguistic morphology and at the other to ulti- 
mate attitudes toward the universe, though "suggestive" are 
scarcely promising of objective results. It is open indeed to ques- 
tion whether these three kinds have any such ultimate status, 
even as component parts variously to be combined. 

One awkwardness, to be sure, is the fact that in our time 
drama stands on a different basis from epic ("fiction," novel) and 
lyric. For Aristotle and the Greeks, public or at least oral per- 
formance was given the epic: Homer was poetry recited by a 
rhapsode like Ion. Elegiac and iambic poetry were accompanied 
by the flute, melic poetry by the lyre. Today, poems and novels 
are eye-read to oneself, for the most part. 14 But the drama is still, 
as among the Greeks, a mixed art, centrally literary, no doubt, 
but involving also "spectacle" — making use of the actor's skill 
and the play director's, the crafts of the costumer and elec- 
trician. 15 

If, however, one avoids that difficulty by reducing all three 
to a common literariness, how is the distinction between play and 
story to be made? The recent American short story (e.g., 
Hemingway's "The Killers") aspires to the objectivity of the 
play, to the purity of dialogue. But traditional novel, like the 
epic, has mixed dialogue, or direct presentation, with narration ; 
indeed, the epic was judged highest of genres by Scaliger and 
some other devisers of generic scales, partly because it included 
all the others. If epic and the novel are compound forms, then 
for ultimate kinds we have to disengage their component parts 
into something like "straight narration" and "narration through 
dialogue" (unacted drama) ; and our three ultimates then be- 
come narration, dialogue, and song. So reduced, purified, made 
consistent, are these three literary kinds more ultimate than, say, 
"description, exposition, narration"? 16 

Let us turn from these "ultimates" — poetry, fiction, and drama 
— to what might be thought of as their subdivisions: the eight- 
eenth-century critic, Thomas Hankins, writes on English drama 
illustrated in "its various species, viz., mystery, morality, 

Literary Genres 239 

tragedy, and comedy." Prose fiction had, in the eighteenth cen- 
tury, two species: the novel and the romance. These "subdivi- 
sions" of groups of the second order are, we think, what we 
should normally evoke as "genres." 

The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are centuries which 
take genres seriously j their critics are men for whom genres 
exist, are real. 17 That genres are distinct — and also should be 
kept distinct — is a general article of Neo-Classical faith. But if 
we look to Neo-Classical criticism for definition of genre or 
method of distinguishing genre from genre, we find little con- 
sistency or even awareness of the need for a rationale. Boileau's 
canon, for example, includes the pastoral, the elegy, the ode, the 
epigram, satire, tragedy, comedy, and the epic; yet Boileau does 
not define the basis of this typology (perhaps because he thinks 
of the typology itself as historically given, not a rationalist con- 
struction). Are his genres differentiated by their subject matter, 
their structure, their verse form, their magnitude, their emo- 
tional tone, their Weltanschauung, or their audience? One can- 
not answer. But one might say that for many Neo-Classicists the 
whole notion of genres seems so self-evident that there is no 
general problem at all. Hugh Blair {Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, 
1783) has a series of chapters on the principal genres but no in- 
troductory discussion of kinds in general or principles of literary 
classification. Nor do the kinds he selects have any methodolog- 
ical or other consistency. Most of them go back to the Greeks, 
but not all : he discusses at length "Descriptive Poetry," in which, 
he says, "the highest exertions of genius may be displayed," yet 
by it he does not mean "any one particular species or form of 
composition," even, apparently, in the sense in which one may 
speak of a species of "didactic poem" — De Rerum Natura or 
The Essay on Man. And from "Descriptive Poetry," Blair passes 
to "The Poetry of the Hebrews," thought of as "displaying the 
taste of a remote age and country," as — though Blair nowhere 
says or quite sees this — a specimen of Oriental poetry, a poetry 
quite unlike that of the ruling Graeco-Roman-French tradition. 
Thereafter Blair turns to discussing what, with complete or- 
thodoxy, he calls "the two highest kinds of poetic writing, the 
epic and the dramatic" : he might, for the latter, have been more 
precise and said "the tragedy." 

240 Theory of Literature 

Neo-Classical theory does not explain, expound, or defend 
the doctrine of kinds or the basis for differentiation. To some 
extent, it attends to such topics as purity of kind, hierarchy of 
kinds, duration of kinds, addition of new kinds. 

Since Neo-Classicism was, in history, a mixture of authori- 
tarianism and rationalism, it acted as a conservative force, dis- 
posed, so far as possible, to keep to and adapt the kinds of ancient 
origin, especially the poetic kinds. But Boileau admits the sonnet 
and the madrigal ; and Johnson praises Denham for having, in 
Cooper's Hill, invented "a new scheme of poetry," a "species of 
composition that may be denominated local poetry," and judges 
Thomson's Seasons as a "poem ... of a new kind" and Thom- 
son's "mode of thinking and of expressing his thoughts" in it 

s original." 

Purity of kind, a doctrine historically invoked by adherents 
of classical French tragedy as against an Elizabethan tragedy 
admissive of comic scenes (the gravediggers in Hamlet , the 
drunken porter in Macbeth), is Horatian when it is dogmatic 
and Aristotelian when it is an appeal to experience and to edu- 
cated hedonism. Tragedy, says Aristotle, "ought to produce, not 
any chance pleasure, but the pleasure proper to it. . . . " 1S 

The hierarchy of kinds is partly a hedonistic calculus: in its 
classical statements, the scale of pleasure is not, however, quan- 
titative in the sense either of sheer intensity or of number of 
readers or hearers participating. It is a mixture, we should say, of 
the social, the moral, the aesthetic, the hedonistic, and the tradi- 
tional. The size of the literary work is not disregarded: the 
smaller kinds, like the sonnet or even the ode, cannot, it seems 
axiomatic, rank with the epic and the tragedy. Milton's "minor" 
poems are written in the lesser kinds, e.g., the sonnet, the can- 
zone y the masque; his "major" poems are a "regular" tragedy 
and two epics. If we applied the quantitative test to the two high- 
est contestants, epic would win out. Yet at this point, Aristotle 
hesitated and, after discussion of conflicting criteria, awarded the 
first place to tragedy, while Renaissance critics, more consistently, 
preferred the epic. Though there is much subsequent wavering 
between the claims of the two kinds, Neo-Classical critics, such 
as Hobbes or Dryden or Blair, are for the most part content to 
give them joint possession of the prime category. 

Literary Genres 24 1 

We come then to another type of groups, those in which stanza 
form and meter are the determinants. How shall we classify the 
sonnet, the rondeau, the ballade? Are they genres or something 
else and less? Most recent French and German writers incline to 
speak of them as "fixed forms" and, as a class, to differentiate 
them from genres. Vietor, however, makes an exception — at 
least for the sonnet ; we should incline to wider inclusion. But 
here we move from terminology to defining criteria: Is there 
such a genre as "octosyllabic verse" or as "dipodic verse"? We 
are disposed to say that there is, and to mean that, as against 
the English norm of iambic pentameter, the eighteenth-century 
poem in octosyllabics, or the early twentieth-century poem in 
dipodics, is likely to be a particular kind of poem in tone or 
ethos, 19 that one is dealing not merely with a classification ac- 
cording to meters (such as one may find at the back of the hymn 
book, with its CM., L.M., etc.) but with something more inclu- 
sive, something which has "inner" as well as "outer" form. 

Genre should be conceived, we think, as a grouping of literary 
works based, theoretically, upon both outer form (specific meter 
or structure) and also upon inner form (attitude, tone, purpose 
— more crudely, subject and audience). The ostensible basis may 
be one or the other (e.g., "pastoral" and "satire" for the inner 
form ; dipodic verse and Pindaric ode for outer) ; but the critical 
problem will then be to find the other dimension, to complete 
the diagram. 

Sometimes an instructive shift occurs: "elegy" starts out, in 
English as well as in the archetypal Greek and Roman poetry, 
with the elegiac couplet or distich 5 yet the ancient elegiac writers 
did not restrict themselves to lament for the dead, nor did Ham- 
mond and Shenstone, Gray's predecessors. But Gray's "Elegy," 
written in the heroic quatrain, not in couplets, effectually destroys 
any continuation in English of elegy as any tender personal 
poem written in end-stopped couplets. 

One might be inclined to give up genre history after the 
eighteenth century — on the ground that formal expectations, 
repetitive structural patterns, have largely gone out. Such a 
hesitation recurs in the French and German writing about genre, 
together with the view that 1 840- 1940 is probably an anomalous 

242 Theory of Literature 

literary period, and that we shall doubtless return to some more 
genre-constituted literature in the future. 

Yet it seems preferable to say that the conception of the genre 
shifts in the nineteenth century, not that it — still less the practice 
of genre writing — disappears. With the vast widening of the 
audience in the nineteenth century, there are more genres ; and, 
with the more rapid diffusion through cheap printing, they are 
shorter-lived or pass through more rapid transitions. "Genre" in 
the nineteenth century and in our own time suffers from the 
same difficulty as "period": we are conscious of the quick changes 
in literary fashion — a new literary generation every ten years, 
rather than every fifty: in American poetry, the age of vers libre, 
the age of Eliot, the age of Auden. At further distance, some of 
these specificities may be seen to have a common direction and 
character (as we now think of Byron, Wordsworth, and Shelley 
as all being English Romantics). 20 

What are nineteenth-century examples of genre? The his- 
torical novel is constantly cited by Van Tieghem and others. 21 
How about the "political novel" (subject of a monograph by 
M. E. Speare) ? And if there is a political novel, is there not also 
such a genre as the ecclesiastical novel (which includes Robert 
Elseynere and Compton Mackenzie's The Altar Steps as well as 
Barchester Towers and Salem Chapel) ? No, here — with the "po- 
litical" novel and the "ecclesiastical," we seem to have got off 
into a grouping based only on subject matter, a purely sociolog- 
ical classification; and in that line we can of course go on end- 
lessly — the novel of the Oxford Movement, Depiction of 
Teachers in the Nineteenth-Century Novel, Sailors in the Nine- 
teenth-Century Novel, also Sea Novels. How does the "his- 
torical novel" differ? Not merely because its subject is less 
restricted, i.e., nothing less than the whole of the past, but 
primarily because of the ties of the historical novel to the Ro- 
mantic movement and to nationalism — because of the new feel- 
ing about, attitude toward, the past which it implies. The Gothic 
novel is a still better case, beginning in the eighteenth century 
with The Castle of Otranto and coming down to the present. 
This is a genre by all the criteria one can invoke for a prose- 
narrative genre: there is not only a limited and continuous sub- 
ject matter or thematics, but there is a stock of devices (descrip- 

Literary Genres 243 

tive-accessory and narrative, e.g., ruined castles, Roman Catholic 
horrors, mysterious portraits, secret passageways reached through 
sliding panels j abductions, immurements, pursuits through 
lonely forests) j there is, still further, a Kunstwollen, an aesthetic 
intent, an intent to give the reader a special sort of pleasurable 
horror and thrill ("pity and terror" some of the Gothicists may 
have murmured). 22 

In general, our conception of genre should lean to the for- 
malists side, that is, incline to generize Hudibrastic octosyllabics 
or the sonnet rather than the political novel or the novel about 
factory workers: we are thinking of "literary" kinds, not such 
subject-matter classifications as might equally be made for non- 
fiction. Aristotle's Poetics, which roughly nominates epic, drama, 
and lyric ("melic") poetry as the basic kinds of poetry, attends 
to differentiating media and the propriety of each to the aesthetic 
purpose of the kind: drama is in iambic verse because that is 
nearest to conversation, while epic requires the dactylic hexameter 
which is not at all reminiscent of speech: "If anyone should com- 
pose a narrative poem in any other meter or in several, it would 
seem unfitting, for the heroic is the most stately and weighty of 
the meters and therefore most easily receives borrowed words 
and metaphors and ornaments of all kinds. . . ." 23 The next 
level of "form" above "meter" and "stanza" should be "struc- 
ture" (e.g., a special sort of plot organization) : this we have, to 
some extent, at least, in traditional, i.e., Greek-imitative, epic 
and tragedy (beginning in medias res, the "peripety" of tragedy, 
the unities). Not all the "classical devices" seem structural, how- 
ever; the battle piece and the descent into the Lower World 
appear to belong to subject matter or theme. In post-eighteenth- 
century literature, this level is not so easy to locate, except in the 
"well-made play" or the detective novel (the murder mystery), 
where the close plot is such a structure. But even in the 
Chekhovian tradition of the short story, there exists an or- 
ganization, a structure, only of a different sort from the short 
story of Poe or O. Henry (we can call it a "looser" organiza- 
tion if we choose). 24 

Anyone interested in genre theory must be careful not to con- 
found the distinctive differences between "classical" and modern 
theory. Classical theory is regulative and prescriptive, though its 

244 Theory of Literature 

"rules" are not the silly authoritarianism still often attributed 
to them. Classical theory not only believes that genre differs 
from genre, in nature and in glory, but also that they must be 
kept apart, not allowed to mix. This is the famous doctrine of 
"purity of genre," of the "genre tranche." 25 Though it was never 
worked out with sharp consistency, there was a real aesthetic 
principle (not merely a set of caste distinctions) involved: it was 
the appeal to a rigid unity of tone, a stylized purity and "sim- 
plicity," a concentration on a single emotion (terror or laughter) 
as on a single plot or theme. There was an appeal also to spe- 
cialization and pluralism: each kind of art has its own capacities 
and its own pleasure: Why should poetry try to be "picturesque" 
or "musical," or music try to tell a story or describe a scene? 
Applying the principle of "aesthetic purity" in that sense, we 
arrive at the conclusion that a symphony is "purer" than an opera 
or oratorio (which is both choral and orchestral) but a string 
quartet still purer (since it uses but one of the orchestral choirs, 
leaving behind the woodwinds, brasses, and percussive instru- 

Classical theory had, too, its social differentiation of genres. 
Epic and tragedy deal with the affairs of kings and nobles, 
comedy with those of the middle class (the city, the bourgeoisie), 
and satire and farce with the common people. And that sharp 
distinction in the dramatis fersonae proper to each kind has its 
concomitants in the doctrine of "decorum" (class "mores") and 
the separation of styles and dictions into high, middle, and base. 26 
It had, too, its hierarchy of kinds, in which not merely the rank 
of the characters and the style counted as elements but also the 
length or size (the capacity for sustaining power) and the 
seriousness of tone. 

A modern sympathizer with "genology" (as Van Tieghem 
calls our study) 2T is likely to want to make a case for the Neo- 
classical doctrine, and to feel indeed that a much better case (on 
grounds of aesthetic theory) can be made than their theorists 
actually delivered. That case we have partly put in expositing 
the principle of aesthetic purity. But we must not narrow "gen- 
ology" to a single tradition or doctrine. "Classicism" was in- 
tolerant of, indeed unwitting of, other aesthetic systems, kinds, 
forms. Instead of recognizing the Gothic cathedral as a "form," 

Literary Genres 245 

one more complex than the Greek temple, it found in it nothing 
but formlessness. So with genres. Every "culture" has its genres : 
the Chinese, the Arabian, the Irish; there are primitive oral 
"kinds." Medieval literature abounded in kinds. 28 We have no 
need to defend the "ultimate" character of the Graeco-Roman 
kinds. Nor need we defend, in its Graeco-Roman form, the 
doctrine of generic purity, which appeals to one kind of aesthetic 

Modern genre theory is, clearly, descriptive. It doesn't limit 
the number of possible kinds and doesn't prescribe rules to 
authors. It supposes that traditional kinds may be "mixed" and 
produce a new kind (like tragicomedy). It sees that genres can 
be built up on the basis of inclusiveness or "richness" as well as 
that of "purity" (genre by accretion as well as by reduction). In- 
stead of emphasizing the distinction between kind and kind, it is 
interested — after the Romantic emphasis on the uniqueness of 
each "original genius" and each work of art — in finding the com- 
mon denominator of a kind, its shared literary devices and lit- 
erary purpose. 

Men's pleasure in a literary work is compounded of the sense 
of novelty and the sense of recognition. In music, the sonata 
form and the fugue are obvious instances of patterns to be recog- 
nized j in the murder mystery, there is the gradual closing in or 
tightening of the plot — the gradual convergence (as in Oedifus) 
of the lines of evidence. The totally familiar and repetitive pat- 
tern is boring j the totally novel form will be unintelligible — is 
indeed unthinkable. The genre represents, so to speak, a sum of 
aesthetic devices at hand, available to the writer and already in- 
telligible to the reader. The good writer partly conforms to the 
genre as it exists, partly stretches it. By and large, great writers 
are not the inventors of genres : Shakespeare and Racine, Moliere 
and Jonson, Dickens and Dostoevsky, enter into other men's 

One of the obvious values of genre study is precisely the fact 
that it calls attention to the internal development of literature, 
to what Henry Wells (in New Poets from Old, 1940) has called 
"literary genetics." Whatever the relations of literature to other 
realms of value, books are influenced by books j books imitate, 
parody, transform other books — not merely those which follow 

246 Theory of Literature 

them in strict chronological succession. For the definition of 
modern genres one probably does best to start with a specific 
highly influential book or author, and look for the reverbera- 
tions: the literary effect of Eliot and Auden, Proust and Kafka. 

Some important topics for genre theory we should like to sug- 
gest, though we can offer only questions and tentatives. One con- 
cerns the relation of primitive genres (those of folk or oral 
literature) to those of a developed literature. Shklovsky, one of 
the Russian formalists, holds that new art forms are "simply the 
canonization of inferior (sub-literary) genres." Dostoevsky's 
novels are a series of glorified crime novels, romans a sensation y 
"Pushkin's lyrics come from album verses, Blok's from gipsy 
songs, Mayakovsky's from funny-paper poetry." 29 Berthold 
Brecht in German and Auden in English both show the delib- 
erate attempt at this transformation of popular poetry into 
serious literature. This might be called the view that literature 
needs constantly to renew itself by "rebarbarization." 30 A similar 
view, that of Andre Jolles, would urge that complex literary 
forms develop out of simpler units. The primitive or elementary 
genres, by compounding of which one can arrive at all the others, 
Jolles finds to be: Legende y Sage, My 'the , Ratsel, Sfruch y 
KasuSy JVLemorabile y Marchen, Witz. 31 The history of the novel 
appears an instance of some such development: behind its ar- 
rival at maturity in Pamela and Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy 
lie such "einfache Formen" as the letter, the diary, the travel 
book (or "imaginary voyage"), the memoir, the seventeenth- 
century "character," the essay, as well as the stage comedy, the 
epic, and the romance. 

Another question has to do with the continuity of genres. 
Brunetiere, it is generally agreed, did a disservice to "genology" 
by his quasi-biological theory of "evolution," producing such 
specific conclusions as that, in French literary history, seven- 
teenth-century pulpit oratory turns (after an hiatus) into nine- 
teenth-century lyrical poetry. 32 This alleged continuity seems, 
like Van Tieghem's alliance of the Homeric epic and the Waver- 
ley novels, the courtly metrical romance, and the modern psy- 
chological novel, linkages between works separated in space and 
time, based upon analogies in the dispositions of authors and 
audiences — "quelques tendances frimordiales." But Van Tieghem 

Literary Genres li^"] 

breaks off from this kind of analogizing to remark that these 
linkages do not represent "les genres litteraires — fro-prement 
dits." 33 We ought, surely, to be able to produce some strict 
formal continuity in order to claim generic succession and unity. 
Is tragedy one genre? We recognize periods and national modes 
of tragedy: Greek tragedy, Elizabethan, French classical, nine- 
teenth-century German. Are these so many separate genres, or 
species of one genre? The answer seems to depend at least 
partly on formal continuity from classical antiquity, partly on in- 
tention. When we come to the nineteenth century, the question 
becomes more difficult: How about Chekhov's Cherry Orchard 
and Sea-Gull, Ibsen's G hosts y Rosmersholm, Master-Builder? 
Are they tragedies? The medium has changed from verse to 
prose. The conception of the "tragic hero" has changed. We have 
to ask questions like, "Did they know the tragic masterpieces of 
the past?" and "Was it the intention of Chekhov and Ibsen to 
write plays which should be modern equivalents of the tragedies, 
so named and so conceived, written in the past?" 

These questions lead us to the question concerning the nature 
of a genre history. It has been argued on the one hand that to 
write a critical history is impossible (since to take Shakespeare's 
tragedies as a norm is to do injustice to those of the Greeks and 
the French), and on the other, that a history without a philos- 
ophy of history is a mere chronicle. 34 Both contentions have 
force. The answer would appear to be that the history of Eliza- 
bethan tragedy can be written in terms of the development 
toward Shakespeare and the decline from him, but that anything 
like a history of tragedy will have to practice a double method, 
that is, define "tragedy" in common denominator terms and 
trace in chronicle fashion the links between one period-and- 
nation tragic school and its successor, but upon this continuum 
superimpose a sense of critical sequences (e.g., French tragedy 
from Jodelle to Racine and from Racine to Voltaire). 

The subject of the genre, it is clear, raises central questions for 
literary history and literary criticism and for their interrelation. 
It puts, in a specifically literary context, the philosophical ques- 
tions concerning the relation of the class and the individuals 
composing it, the one and the many, the nature of universals. 



It is convenient to distinguish between the terms "value" and 
"evaluate." Through history, mankind has "valued" literature, 
oral and printed, that is, has taken interest in it, has assigned 
positive worth to it. But critics and philosophers who have 
"evaluated" literature, or specific literary works, may come to a 
negative verdict. In any case, we pass from the experience of 
interest to the act of judgment. By reference to a norm, by the 
application of criteria, by comparison of it with other objects 
and interests, we estimate the rank of an object or an interest. 

If we attempt in any detail to describe mankind's concern with 
literature, we shall get into difficulties of definition. Only very 
gradually does literature, in any modern sense, emerge from 
the culture cluster of song, dance, and religious ritual in which 
it appears to originate. And if we are to describe mankind's at- 
tachment to literature, we should analyze the fact of attachment 
into its component parts. What, as a matter of fact, have men 
valued literature for? What kinds of value or worth or interest 
have they found in it? Very many kinds, we should answer: 
Horace's summary dulce et utile we might translate as "enter- 
tainment" and "edification," or "play" and "work," or "terminal 
value" and "instrumental value," or "art" and "propaganda" — 
or art as end in itself and art as communal ritual and culture 

If now we ask for something- normative — how ought men to 
value and evaluate literature? — we have to answer with some 
definitions. Men ought to value literature for being what it is; 
they ought to evaluate it in terms and in degrees of its literary 
value. 1 The nature, the function, and the evaluation of literature 
must necessarily exist in close correlation. The use of a thing — its 
habitual or most expert or proper use — must be that use to which 
its nature (or its structure) designs it. Its nature is, in potence, 


Evaluation 249 

what, in act, is its function. It is what it can doj it can do and 
should do what it is. We must value things for what they are and 
can do, and evaluate them by comparison with other things of 
like nature and function. 

We ought to evaluate literature in terms and degrees of its 
own nature. What is its own nature? What is literature as such? 
What is "pure" literature? The phrasing of the questions implies 
some analytic or reductive process j the kind of answer arrives at 
conceptions of "pure poetry" — imagism or echolalia. But if we 
try to press for purity along such lines, we must break up the 
amalgam of visual imagery and euphony into painting and 
music - y and poetry disappears. 

Such a conception of purity is one of analyzing elements. We 
do better to start with organization and function. It is not what 
elements but how they are put together, and with what function, 
which determine whether a given work is or is not literature. 2 
In their reformatory zeal, certain older advocates of "pure lit- 
erature" identified the mere presence of ethical or social ideas in 
a novel or a poem as the "didactic heresy." But literature is not 
defiled by the presence of ideas literarily used, used as integral 
parts of the literary work — as materials — like the characters and 
the settings. What literature is, by modern definition, "pure of" 
is practical intent (propaganda, incitation to direct, immediate 
action) and scientific intent (provision of information, facts, 
"additions to knowledge"). By "pure of" we don't mean that 
the novel or poem lacks "elements," disengaged elements, which 
can be taken practically or scientifically, when removed from 
their context. Again, we don't mean that a "pure" novel or poem 
can't, as a whole, be read "impurely." All things can be misused, 
or used inadequately, i.e., in functions not centrally relevant to 
their natures: 

As some to church repair 

Not for the doctrine but the music there. 

In their day, Gogol's "The Cloak" and Dead Souls were ap- 
parently misread, even by intelligent critics. Yet the view that 
they were propaganda, a misreading explicable in terms of iso- 
lated passages and elements in them, is scarcely to be reconciled 
with the elaborateness of their literary organization, their com- 

250 Theory of Literature 

plicated devices of irony, parody, word play, mimicry, and 
burlesque. Like the fine arts and music, literature has as its prime 
function the provision of experience. 

In thus defining the function of literature, have we settled 
anything? In a sense, the whole issue in aesthetics might be said 
to lie between the view which asserts the existence of a separate, 
irreducible "aesthetic experience" (an autonomous realm of art) 
and that which makes the arts instrumental to science and society, 
which denies such a tertium quid as the "aesthetic value," inter- 
mediate between "knowledge" and "action," between science 
and philosophy on the one side and ethics and politics on the 
other. 3 Of course one need not deny that works of art have value 
because one denies some ultimate, irreducible "aesthetic value": 
one may merely "reduce," break up, distribute the values of the 
work of art, or of art, between what he accredits as the "real," 
"ultimate" systems of value. He may, like some philosophers, 
regard the arts as primitive and inferior forms of knowledge, or 
he may, like some reformers, measure them in terms of their 
supposed efficacy in inducing action. He may find the value of 
the arts (particularly literature) precisely in their inclusiveness, 
their unspecialized inclusiveness. For writers and critics, this is 
a more grandiose claim to make than the claim of expertness at 
the construction or interpretation of literary works of art. It 
gives the "literary mind" a final "prophetic" authority, possession 
of a distinctive "truth" wider and deeper than the truths of 
science and philosophy. But these grandiose claims are by their 
very grandiosity difficult to defend, except in that kind of game 
at which each realm of value — whether religion, philosophy, eco- 
nomics, or art — claims, in its own ideal form, to include all that 
is best, or real, in the others. 4 To accept the status of literature as 
one of the fine arts seems, to some of her defenders, like timidity 
and treason. Literature has claimed to be both a superior form of 
knowledge and a form also of ethical and social action: to with- 
draw these claims, is it not to renounce obligation as well as 
status? And doesn't each realm (like each expanding nation and 
ambitious, self-confident individual) have to claim more than he 
expects to be conceded by his neighbors and rivals? 

Some literary apologists would, then, deny that literature can 
properly be treated as a "fine art," in aesthetic terms. Others 

Evaluation 251 

would deny such concepts as "aesthetic value" and "aesthetic ex- 
perience" so far as they assert or imply some unique category. Is 
there a distinct autonomous realm of "aesthetic experience" or of 
aesthetic objects and qualities, by their nature capable of eliciting 
such an experience? 

Most philosophers since Kant and most men seriously con- 
cerned with the arts agree that the fine arts, including literature, 
have a unique character and value. One cannot, says Theodore 
Greene, for example, "reduce artistic quality to other more prim- 
itive qualities" j and he goes on: "the unique character of the 
artistic quality of a work can only be immediately intuited, and 
though it can be exhibited and denoted, it cannot be defined or 
even described." 5 

Upon the character of the unique aesthetic experience, there is 
large agreement among philosophers. In his Critique of Judg- 
ment, Kant stresses the "purposiveness without purpose" (the 
purpose not directed toward action) of art, the aesthetic su- 
periority of "pure" over "adherent" or applied beauty, the dis- 
interestedness of the experiencer (who must not want to own or 
consume or otherwise turn into sensation or conation what is 
designed for perception). The aesthetic experience, our con- 
temporary theorists agree, is a perception of quality intrinsically 
pleasant and interesting, offering a terminal value and a sample 
and foretaste of other terminal values, other "rests" and fulfill- 
ments. It is connected with feeling (pleasure-pain, hedonistic 
response) and the senses ; but it objectifies and articulates feeling 
— the feeling finds, in the work of art, an "objective correlative," 
and it is distanced from sensation and conation by its object's 
frame of fictionality, its character of "imitation," that is, con- 
scious perception. The aesthetic object is that which interests me 
for its own qualities, which I don't endeavor to reform or turn 
into a part of myself, appropriate, or consume. The aesthetic ex- 
perience is a form of contemplation, a loving attention to qual- 
ities and qualitative structures. Practicality is one enemy j the chief 
other is habit, operative along lines once laid down by practicality. 

The work of literature is an aesthetic object, capable of arous- 
ing aesthetic experience. Can we evaluate a literary work entirely 
upon aesthetic criteria, or do we need, as T. S. Eliot suggests, to 
judge the literariness of literature by aesthetic criteria and the 

252 Theory of Literature 

greatness of literature by extra-aesthetic criteria? 6 Eliot's first 
judgment should be dichotomized. Of a specific verbal construc- 
tion, we classify it as literature (i.e., story, poem, play) and then 
we ask whether or not it is "good literature," i.e., of rank worth 
the attention of the aesthetically experienced. The question of 
"greatness" brings us to standards and norms. Modern critics 
limiting themseves to aesthetic criticism are commonly called 
"formalists" — sometimes by themselves, sometimes (pejora- 
tively) by others. At least as ambiguous is the cognate word 
"form." As we shall use it here, it names the aesthetic structure 
of a literary work — that which makes it literature. 7 Instead of 
dichotomizing "form-content," we should think of matter and 
then of "form," that which aesthetically organizes its "matter." 
In a successful work of art, the materials are completely as- 
similated into the form: what was "world" has become "lan- 
guage." 8 The "materials" of a literary work of art are, on one 
level, words, on another level, human behavior experience, and 
on another, human ideas and attitudes. All of these, including 
language, exist outside the work of art, in other modes ; but in 
a successful poem or novel they are pulled into polyphonic rela- 
tions by the dynamics of aesthetic purpose. 

Is it possible adequately to evaluate literature by purely 
formalistic criteria? We shall outline an answer. 

The criterion which Russian formalism makes primary ap- 
pears also in aesthetic evaluation elsewhere: it is novelty, sur- 
prise. The familiar linguistic block or "cliche" is not heard as 
immediate perception: the words are not attended to as words, 
nor is their joint referent precisely made out. Our response to 
trite, stock language is a "stock response," either action along 
familiar grooves or boredom. We "realize" the words and what 
they symbolize only when they are freshly and startlingly put 
together. Language must be "deformed," i.e., stylized, either in 
the direction of the archaic or otherwise remote, or in the direc- 
tion of "barbarization," before readers attend to it. So Viktor 
Shklovsky speaks of poetry as "making it new," "making it 
strange." But this criterion of novelty has been very widespread, 
at least since the Romantic movement — that "Renascence of 
Wonder," as Watts-Dunton called it. Wordsworth and Cole- 
ridge were variously, correlatively, working to "make it strange," 

Evaluation 253 

as one sought to give strangeness to the familiar and the other to 
domesticate the wonderful. Each more recent "movement" in 
poetry has had the same design: to clear away all automatic 
response, to promote a renewal of language (a "Revolution of 
the Word"), and a sharpened realization. The Romantic move- 
ment exalted the child for his unjaded, fresh perception. Matisse 
labored to learn to paint as a five-year-old sees. The aesthetic 
discipline, urged Pater, forbids habits as failures in perception. 
Novelty is the criterion, but novelty, we must remember, for 
the sake of the disinterested perception of quality. 9 

How far can this criterion carry us? As applied by the Rus- 
sians, it is admittedly relativist. There is no aesthetic norm, says 
Mukafovsky, for it is the essence of the aesthetic norm to be 
broken. 10 No poetic style stays strange. Hence, Mukafovsky 
argues, works can lose their aesthetic function and then later, per- 
haps, regain it — after the too familiar becomes again unfamiliar. 
In the case of specific poems, we all know what it is to "use them 
up," temporarily. Sometimes we later come back to them, again 
and again ; sometimes we appear to have exhausted them. So, as 
literary history moves on, some poets grow strange again, others 
remain "familiar." 1X 

In speaking of personal returns to a work, however, we seem 
already to have passed, in effect, to another criterion. When we 
return again and again to a work, saying that we "see new things 
in it each time," we ordinarily mean not more things of the same 
kind, but new levels of meaning, new patterns of association: we 
find the poem or novel manifoldly organized. The literary work 
which, like Homer or Shakespeare, continues to be admired, 
must possess, we conclude with George Boas, a "multivalence" : 
its aesthetic value must be so rich and comprehensive as to in- 
clude among its structures one or more which gives high satis- 
faction to each later period. 12 But such work, even in its author's 
time, must be conceived of as so rich that rather a community 
than a single individual can realize all its strata and systems. In a 
play by Shakespeare, "For the simplest auditors there is the plot, 
for the more thoughtful the character and conflict of character, 
for the more literary the words and phrasing, for the more 
musically sensitive the rhythm, and for auditors of greater 
understanding and sensitiveness a meaning which reveals itself 

254 Theory of Literature 

gradually." 13 Our criterion is inclusiveness : "imaginative in- 
tegration" and "amount (and diversity) of material inte- 
grated." 14 The tighter the organization of the poem, the higher 
its value, according to formalistic criticism, which indeed often 
limits itself, in practice, to works so complex of structures as to 
need and reward exegesis. These complexities may be on one or 
more levels. In Hopkins, they are primarily dictional, syntactical, 
prosodic; but there may also, or instead, be complexities on the 
level of imagery or thematics or tone or plot: the works of 
highest value are complex also in those upper structures. 

By diversity of materials, we may mean particularly ideas, 
characters, types of social and psychological experience. Eliot's 
celebrated instance in "The Metaphysical Poets" is relevant. By 
way of showing that the poet's mind is "constantly amalgamat- 
ing disparate experience," he imagines such a whole formed of 
the poet's falling in love, reading Spinoza, hearing the sound of 
a typewriter, and smelling something cooking. Dr. Johnson had 
described this same amalgamation as a discordia concors, and, 
thinking of failures rather than successes in the method, finds 
that "the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence to- 
gether." A later writer on the "Metaphysicals," George Wil- 
liamson, singles out, for the most part, the successes. Our prin- 
ciple here would be that, provided a real "amalgamation" takes 
place, the value of the poem rises in direct ratio to the diversity 
of its materials. 

In Three Lectures on Aesthetic y Bosanquet distinguishes "easy 
beauty" from "difficult beauty," with its "intricacy," "tension," 
and "width." We might express the distinction as between a 
beauty achieved out of tractable materials (euphony, pleasing 
visual images, the "poetic subject") and beauty wrested from 
materials which, as materials, are recalcitrant: the painful, the 
ugly, the didactic, the practical. This distinction was adumbrated 
by the eighteenth century in its contrast of the "beautiful" and 
the "sublime" ("difficult beauty"). The "sublime" and the 
"characteristic" aestheticize that which appears "unaesthetic." 
Tragedy invades and gives expressive form to the painful; 
comedy similarly masters the ugly. The easier beauties are im- 
mediately agreeable in their "materials" and their plastic 
"forms"; difficult beauty is one of expressive form. 

Evaluation 255 

"Difficult" beauty and artistic "greatness" are, it would ap- 
pear, to be equated, as "perfect" art and "great" art should not 
be. The element of size or length is important, not of course for 
itself but as making possible an increase in the intricacy, tension, 
and width of the work. A "major" work, or a "major" genre, is 
one of dimension. If we cannot deal with this factor as simply as 
Neo-Classical theorists did, we cannot dismiss it : we can but exact 
that scope must be economical, that the long poem today must 
"do" in return for its space more than it used. 

To some aestheticians, "greatness" involves recourse to extra- 
aesthetic criteria. 15 Thus L. A. Reid proposes to defend "the 
view that greatness comes from the content side of art, and that, 
roughly, art is 'great' in so far as it is expressive of the 'great' 
values of life" ; and T. M. Greene proposes "truth" and "great- 
ness" as extra-aesthetic but necessary standards of art. In practice, 
however, Greene and especially Reid hardly get beyond Bosan- 
quet's criteria for difficult beauty. For example, "the great works 
of the great poets, Sophocles, Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, are 
organized embodiments of a large variety of human experience." 
The "notes" or criteria of greatness in any realm of theory or 
practice appear to have in common "a grasp of the complex, with 
a sense of proportion and relevance" ; but these common charac- 
ters of greatness, when they appear in a work of art, have to 
appear in "an embodied value-situation," as "an embodied value 
to be savoured and enjoyed." Reid doesn't ask the question: Is 
the great poem the work of a poet who is a great man (or mind 
or personality), or is it great as a poem? Instead, he attempts to 
reconcile the implied answers. Though he finds the great poem 
great by its scope and judgment, he applies these criteria only 
to the poem as poetically shaped, not to some hypothetical 
Erlebnis. 16 

Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost are good 
test cases for formalist treatment. Croce, refusing to see the 
Comedy as a poem, reduces it to a series of lyrical extracts inter- 
rupted by pseudo-science. The "long poem" and the "philo- 
sophical poem" both seem to him self-contradictory phrases. 
The aestheticism of a generation ago, as instanced in a writer like 
Logan Pearsall Smith, sees Paradise Lost as a compound of out- 
moded theology and auditory delight — the celebrated "organ 

256 Theory of Literature 

harmonies," which are all that is left to Milton. 17 The "content" 
has to be disregarded 3 the form is disengageable. 

Such judgments should not, we think, be accepted as satisfac- 
tory versions of "formalism." They take an atomistic view of the 
work of art, estimating the relative poeticality of its materials 
instead of the poeticality of the total work, which may magnetize 
to its purpose much which, out of this context, would be abstract 
discourse. Both Dante and Milton wrote treatises as well as 
poems, and did not confound the two. Milton, a theological in- 
dependent, wrote a dissertation De Doctrina Christiana at about 
the time during which he was composing Paradise Lost. How- 
ever one defines the nature of his poem (epic, Christian epic, or 
philosophical-and-epic poem) and in spite of its announced de- 
sign to "justify the ways of God," it had a different purpose 
from the treatise: its nature is established by the literary tradi- 
tions it invokes and by its relation to Milton's own earlier poetry. 

Milton's theology in Paradise Lost is orthodox Protestant 
or susceptible of such a reading. But the reader's failure to share 
that theology doesn't denude the poem. As long ago as Blake, 
indeed, it was suggested that Satan is the hero of the poem, by 
Milton's unconscious "intention"; and there was, with Byron 
and Shelley, a romantic Paradise Lost which coupled Satan 
with Prometheus and which dwelt sympathetically, as Collins 
had earlier begun to do, upon the "primitivism" of Milton's 
Eden. 18 There is certainly also a "humanist" reading, as Saurat 
has shown. The sweep, the vistas of the poem, its scenery — 
somber or vaguely grand — are not disposed of by dissent to its 
theology or fact. 

That the style of Paradise Lost leaves it a great poem even 
though its doctrine should be scrapped is highly dubious. Such a 
view reduces to the absurd the separation of a work into its 
"form" and its "meaning": "form" here becomes "style," and 
"meaning" becomes "ideology." The separation, indeed, does 
not take care of the total work: it leaves out all structures "above" 
metrics and diction; and "meaning," according to its account, is 
what L. A. Reid calls "secondary subject-matter" (subject mat- 
ter still outside the work of art). It leaves out the plot or nar- 
rative, the characters (or, more properly, the "characteriza- 
tion"), and the "world," the interlocking of plot, atmosphere, 

Evaluation 257 

and characters — the "metaphysical quality" (viewed as the world 
view which emerges from the work, not the view didactically 
stated by the author within or without the work). 

Particularly objectionable is the view that the "organ har- 
monies" can be disengaged from the poem. In a restricted sense 
they can be viewed as having "formal beauty" — phonetic reso- 
nance 5 but in literature, including poetry, the formal beauty 
almost always exists in the service of expression: we have to ask 
about the appropriateness of the "organ harmonies" to plot, 
character, theme. Milton's style applied by minor poets to com- 
positions on trivial themes became unintentionally ridiculous. 

A formalist criticism must suppose that agreement between 
our own creed and that of an author or poem need not exist, is 
indeed irrelevant, since otherwise we should admire only lit- 
erary works whose view of life we accept. Does the Weltan- 
schauung matter to the aesthetic judgment? The view of life 
presented in a poem, says Eliot, must be one which the critic 
can "accept as coherent, mature, and founded on the facts of 
experience." 19 Eliot's dictum about coherence, maturity, and 
truth to experience goes, in its phrasing, beyond any formalism: 
coherence, to be sure, is an aesthetic criterion as well as a logical} 
but "maturity" is a psychological criterion, and "truth to expe- 
rience" an appeal to worlds outside the work of art, a call for 
the comparison of art and reality. Let us reply to Eliot that the 
maturity of a work of art is its inclusiveness, its awareness of 
complexity, its ironies and tensions 5 and the correspondence be- 
tween a novel and experience can never be measured by any 
simple pairing off of items: what we can legitimately compare 
is the total world of Dickens, Kafka, Balzac, or Tolstoy with our 
total experience, that is, our own thought and felt "world." And 
our judgment of this correspondence registers itself in aesthetic 
terms of vividness, intensity, patterned contrast, width, or 
depth, static or kinetic. "Life-like" might almost be paraphrased 
as "art-like," since the analogies between life and literature be- 
come most palpable when the art is highly stylized: it is writers 
like Dickens, Kafka, and Proust who superimpose their signed 
world on areas of our own experience. 20 

Before the nineteenth century, discussions of evaluation were 
likely to center upon the rank and hierarchy of authors — the 

258 Theory of Literature 

classics who "always have been and always will be admired." 
The chief instances cited would naturally be the ancient Greek 
and Roman authors, whose apotheosis came with the Renaissance. 
By the nineteenth century, a wider knowledge of such literary 
sequences as the medieval, the Celtic, the Norse, the Hindu, 
and the Chinese had made such earlier "classicism" obsolete. We 
are aware of works which disappear from view and then re- 
appear, and of works which lose for a time their aesthetic effi- 
cacy but regain it, e.g., Donne, Langland, and Pope, Maurice 
Sceve and Gryphius. By reaction to authoritarianism and its ca- 
nonical list, the modern view is inclined to excessive, unnecessary 
relativism, to talk of the "whirligig of taste," as earlier skeptics 
murmured, de gustibus non est disfutandum. 

The case is more complicated than humanist or skeptic would 
make it out. 

The desire to affirm in some form the objectivity of literary 
values does not require commitment to some static canon, to 
which no new names are added and within which no shifts of 
rank may occur. Allen Tate rightly challenges, as "illusion," the 
assumption that "the reputation of any writer is ever fixed," to- 
gether with the correlative "curious belief" that "the chief func- 
tion of criticism is the ranking of authors rather than their use." 21 
Like Eliot, whose dictum about the past's alteration by the 
present he is remembering, Tate is a creative writer who must 
believe in the present and future as well as the past of English 
poetry. But we may suppose also that he thinks use as important 
an objectivity as "fixed rank." And the "objectivity" of value 
lies in the criteria, not in the art objects. Rank in a class is always, 
so to speak, competitive and relative. So long as new entries 
continue to be made, there is always the chance of a new best; 
but any entry made will alter, however slightly, the rank of the 
other works. Waller and Denham at once acquired and lost rank 
when Pope had made his position — they were that ambivalent 
thing, forerunners; they led up to Pope, but they were also 
scaled down by him. 

There is an opposite desire on the part of anti-academics 
within and without the universities to affirm the tyranny of flux, 
the "whirligig of taste." 22 Cases there are — like that of Cowley 
— of generational tastes never ratified by a subsequent genera- 

Evaluation 259 

tion. They seem not, however, to be many. Thirty years ago, 
Skelton might seem a parallel case, but not now; we find him 
brilliant, "sincere," modern. Meanwhile, the largest reputations 
survive generational tastes : Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Mil- 
ton — even Dryden and Pope and Wordsworth and Tennyson — 
have a permanent, though not a "fixed" position. 

The aesthetic structures of such poets seem so complex and 
rich that they can satisfy the sensibility of successive ages : there 
is the Neo-Classical Milton admired by Addison in his Spectator 
essays and by Pope, and the Romantic Milton or Miltons of 
Byron, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley. There was the Shakespeare 
of Coleridge, and now we have the Shakespeare of Wilson 
Knight. Each generation leaves elements in the great work of 
art unappropriated, finds levels or strata lacking in "beauty" or 
even positively ugly (as the Neo-Classicists did Shakespeare's 
puns), yet finds the whole aesthetically satisfying. 

We seem thus far arrived at a kind of generationism which 
denies the relativity of taste viewed as the individual's but finds 
alternations in literary history of more or less contrary sets of 
aesthetic criteria (as in Wolfflin's contrast of Renaissance and 
Baroque) and suggests no getting behind or beyond these alter- 
nations to common principles; we seem also arrived at "multiva- 
lence," 23 the view that enduring works of art appeal to different 
admiring generations for different reasons or, to push the two 
conclusions together, that major works, the "classics," keep their 
place but keep it by a series of changing appeals or "causes," 
while original, highly special works (e.g., Donne) and minor 
works (good in the style of the period, e.g., Prior or Churchill) 
gain in reputation when the literature of the day bears some 
kind of sympathetic relation to that of their day, lose when that 
relation is adverse. 24 

We move with difficulty, perhaps, beyond this position, but 
move beyond it we can. For one thing, we need not limit the 
appreciation earlier ages had for their classics (Homer, Virgil, 
Milton, et al.) by the arguments their critics mustered up. We 
can deny that earlier criticism was able to do justice to the crea- 
tive work of its own day or indeed to its own aesthetic experi- 
ence. 25 We can also affirm that a really adequate literary theory 
can avoid the either-or of generationalism : thus George Wil- 

260 Theory of Literature 

liamson 26 thinks the best of the metaphysical poems are just 
good poetry ; there is no need to admire all metaphysical poems 
or to condemn all, nor are the best poems of the school the 
"most metaphysical." Thus Pope has been praised in our time 
as — in part, at least — a "metaphysical" poet, that is, a good and 
real poet, not just the "poet of an age of prose." 2T And clearly 
theorists as different as the Richards of Practical Criticism, and 
Brooks and Warren {Understanding Poetry) think of a single 
standard for poetry and exactly stress that one should not try 
to "place" the poem as to author, period, or school before judg- 
ing it. It may of course be said that these anthologist-critics ap- 
peal to a standard (roughly, the Eliotic), to which many readers 
would not assent. But their standards enable them to justify a 
wide range of poetry: least fair to the Romantics, they save at 
least Blake and Keats. 

No literary critic can, we think, really either reduce himself to 
generationism (which denies that there is an aesthetic norm) or 
attach himself to so barren and pedagogic an absolutism as that 
of the "fixed rank." He may sound at times like a generationist 
merely by protest or by desire to enter and understand the past 
author through the wholly appropriate means of his analogy to 
some author of the present. Yet he means to affirm that the value 
so discovered is really, or potentially, present in the art object — 
not "read into" it or associatively attached to it, but with the 
advantage of a special incentive to insight, seen in it. 

This brings us to the question concerning the locus of aesthetic 
values. Is it the poem, or the reader of the poem, or the relation 
between the two? The second answer is subjectivist: it correctly 
asserts that someone has to value the valued, but does not corre- 
late the nature of the response with the nature of the object. It 
is psychologistic, in the sense that it turns the attention away 
from what is contemplated or enjoyed to fix it upon the reac- 
tions, emotional vibrations, of the self, even the private, gener- 
alized self. Whether one gives the first or the third answer 
seems a matter of interpretation. The first answer, to profes- 
sional philosophers, unavoidably suggests Platonism or some 
other system of absolute standards thought of as existing with- 
out reference to human need or cognition. Even if one means, 
as literary theorists are likely to, to assert the objective character 

Evaluation 261 

of the literary structure, from devices to "meaning," the first 
answer has the further difficulty of suggesting that the literary 
values are there for anyone y as present as redness or cold. No 
critic, however, has really meant to claim that kind of unquali- 
fied objectivity for a poem: Longinus and other "classicists" who 
appeal to the suffrage of all men of all times and lands make 
silent restriction of their "all" to "all competent judges." 

What the formalist wants to maintain is that the poem is not 
only a cause, or a potential cause, of the reader's "poetic expe- 
rience" but a specific, highly organized control of the reader's 
experience, so that the experience is most fittingly described as 
an experience of the poem. The valuing of the poem is the ex- 
periencing, the realization, of aesthetically valuable qualities and 
relationships structurally present in the poem for any competent 
reader. Beauty, says Eliseo Vivas, expounding what he calls 
"objective relativism" or "perspective realism," is "a character 
of some things, and in them present; but present only in the 
thing for those endowed with the capacity and the training 
through which alone it can be perceived." 28 The values exist 
potentially in the literary structures: they are realized, actually 
valued, only as they are contemplated by readers who meet the 
requisite conditions. There is undoubtedly a tendency to disallow 
(in the name of democracy or science) any claim to objectivity 
or "value" which is not publicly verifiable in the most complete 
sense. But it is difficult to think of any "values" which offer 
themselves thus unconditionally. 

Older manuals often contrast "judicial" criticism with other 
types — "impressionist," for example. This distinction was mis- 
leadingly named. The former type appealed to rules or princi- 
ples assumed as objective 5 the latter often flaunted its lack of 
public reference. But in practice the latter was an unavowed 
form of judgment by an expert, whose taste is to offer a norm 
for less subtle sensibilities. Nor can there have been many critics 
of the latter sort who did not attempt what Remy de Gourmont 
defines as the great effort of any sincere man — to "erect into 
laws his personal impressions." 29 Today, many essays called 
"criticism" are exegetical of specific poems or authors and offer 
no concluding estimate, rating, or ranking. Objection is some- 
times raised to allowing such exegeses the name of "criticism" 

262 Theory of Literature 

(which in its Greek origins meant "judgment"). And sometimes 
the distinction is made between the "elucidatory" and the "judi- 
cial" as alternative types of criticism. 30 But though separation be- 
tween the exegesis of meaning (Deutung) and the judgment of 
value (Wertung) can certainly be made, it is rarely, in "literary 
criticism," either practiced or practicable. What is crudely asked 
for or offered as "judicial criticism" is a blunt grading of authors 
and poems, accompanied by the citation of authorities or appeal 
to a few dogmas of literary theory. To go beyond that, of neces- 
sity involves analyses and analytical comparisons. On the other 
hand, an essay which appears to be purely exegetical must, by 
its very existence, offer some minimal judgment of worth 5 and, 
if it is exegetical of a poem, a judgment of aesthetic worth, not 
historical, biographical, or philosophical. To spend time and at- 
tention on a poet or poem is already a judgment of value. But 
few exegetical essays make judgment merely by the act of choos- 
ing a topic. "Understanding poetry" passes readily into "judging 
poetry," only judging it in detail and judging while analyzing, 
instead of making the judgment a pronouncement in the final 
paragraph. The one-time novelty of Eliot's essays was precisely 
their delivering themselves of no final summary or single judg- 
ment but judging all the way through an essay: by specific com- 
parisons, juxtapositions of two poets with respect to some quality, 
as well as by occasional tentative generalization. 

The distinction one needs to make, it would seem, is between 
overt and implicit judgment — not the same as the distinction 
between judgments conscious and unconscious. There is a judg- 
ment of sensibility and a reasoned, a ratiocinative, judgment. 
They exist in no necessary contradiction : a sensibility can scarcely 
attain much critical force without being susceptible of consider- 
able generalized, theoretical statement; and a reasoned judg- 
ment, in matters of literature, cannot be formulated save on the 
basis of some sensibility, immediate or derivative. 


Literary History 

Is it possible to write literary history, that is, to write that 
which will be both literary and a history? Most histories of lit- 
erature, it must be admitted, are either social histories, or his- 
tories of thought as illustrated in literature, or impressions and 
judgments on specific works arranged in more or less chrono- 
logical order. A glance at the history of English literary his- 
toriography will corroborate this view. Thomas Warton, the 
first "formal" historian of English poetry, gave as his reason for 
studying ancient literature that it "faithfully records the fea- 
tures of the times and preserves the most picturesque and expres- 
sive representations of manners" and "transmits to posterity 
genuine delineations of life." x Henry Morley conceived of lit- 
erature as "the national biography" or the "story of the English 
mind." 2 Leslie Stephen regarded literature as "a particular 
function of the whole social organism," "a kind of by-product" 
of social change. 3 W. J. Courthope, author of the only history 
of English poetry based on a unified conception of its develop- 
ment, defined the "study of English poetry as in effect the study 
of the continuous growth of our national institutions as reflected 
in our literature," and looked for the unity of the subject "pre- 
cisely where the political historian looks for it, namely, in the 
life of a nation as a whole." 4 

While these and many other historians treat literature as 
mere document for the illustration of national or social history, 
those constituting another group recognize that literature is first 
and foremost an art, but appear unable to write history. They 
present us with a discontinuous series of essays on individual 
authors, attempting to link them by "influences" but lacking any 
conception of real historical evolution. In his introduction to A 
Short History of Modem English Literature (1897), Edmund 

Gosse professed, to be sure, to show the "movement of English 


264 Theory of Literature 

literature," to give a "feeling of the evolution of English litera- 
ture," 5 but he was merely paying lip-service to an ideal then 
spreading from France. In practice, his books are a series of 
critical remarks on authors and some of their works, chronologi- 
cally arranged. Gosse later, quite rightly, disclaimed any in- 
terest in Taine and stressed his indebtedness to Sainte-Beuve, the 
master of biographical portraiture. 6 Mutatis mutandis, the same 
is true of George Saintsbury, whose conception of criticism was 
nearest to Pater's theory and practice of "appreciation," 7 and of 
Oliver Elton, whose Survey of English Literature, in six vol- 
umes — the most remarkable achievement of recent literary his- 
tory in England — frankly professes to be "really a review, a di- 
rect criticism," and not a history. 8 This list could be extended 
almost indefinitely 3 and an examination of French and German 
histories of literature would lead, with some exceptions, to almost 
identical conclusions. Thus Taine was obviously interested mainly 
in his theories of national character and his philosophy of 
"milieu" and race, Jusserand studied the history of manners as 
illustrated in English literature, and Cazamian invented a whole 
theory of "the oscillation of the moral rhythm of the English 
national soul." 9 Most leading histories of literature are either 
histories of civilization or collections of critical essays. One type 
is not a history of art; the other, not a history of art. 

Why has there been no attempt, on a large scale, to trace the 
evolution of literature as art? One deterrent is the fact that the 
preparatory analysis of works of art has not been carried out in 
a consistent and systematic manner. Literary theory has not yet 
developed methods enabling us to describe a work of art purely 
as a system of signs. Either we remain content with the old 
rhetorical criteria, unsatisfactory in their preoccupation with ap- 
parently superficial devices, or we have recourse to an emotive 
language describing the effects of a work of art upon the reader 
in terms incapable of real correlation with the work itself. 

Another difficulty is the prejudice that no history of literature 
is possible save in terms of causal explanation by some other 
human activity. A third difficulty lies in the whole conception of 
the development of the art of literature. Few would doubt the 
possibility of an internal history of painting or music.Tt suffices 
to walk through any set of art galleries arranged according to 

Literary History 265 

chronological order or in accordance with "schools" to see that 
there is a history of the art of painting quite distinct from either 
the history of painters or the appreciation or judgment of indi- 
vidual pictures. It suffices to listen to a concert in which compo- 
sitions are chronologically arranged to see that there is a history 
of music which has scarcely anything to do with the biographies 
of the composers, the social conditions under which the works 
were produced, or the appreciation of individual pieces. Such 
histories have been attempted in painting and sculpture ever 
since Winckelmann wrote his Geschichte der Kunst im Alter turn, 
and most histories of music since Burney have paid attention to 
the history of musical forms. 

Literary history has before it the analogous problem of trac- 
ing the history of literature as an art, in comparative isolation 
from its social history, the biographies of authors, or the appre- 
ciation of individual works. Of course, the task of literary his- 
tory (in this limited sense) presents its special obstacles. Com- 
pared to a painting, which can be seen at a glance, a literary work 
of art is accessible only through a time sequence and is thus more 
difficult to realize as a coherent whole. But the analogy of mu- 
sical form shows that a pattern is possible, even when it can be 
grasped only in a temporal sequence. There are, further, special 
problems. In literature, there is a gradual transition from simple 
statements to highly organized works of art, since the medium 
of literature, language, is also the medium of everyday com- 
munication and especially the medium of sciences. It is thus more 
difficult to isolate the aesthetic structure of a literary work. Yet 
an illustrative plate in a medical textbook and a military march 
are two examples to show that the other arts have also their 
borderline cases and that the difficulties in distinguishing be- 
tween art and non-art in linguistic utterance are only greater 

Theorists there are, however, who simply deny that literature 
has a history. W. P. Ker argued, for instance, that we do not 
need literary history, as its objects are always present, are 
"eternal," and thus have no proper history at all. 10 T. S. Eliot 
also would deny the "pastness" of a work of art. "The whole of 
the literature of Europe from Homer," he says, "has a simul- 
taneous existence and composes a simultaneous order." 1X Art, 

266 Theory of Literature 

one could argue with Schopenhauer, has always reached its goal. 
It never improves, and cannot be superseded or repeated. In art 
we need not find out "wie es eigentlich gewesen" — as Ranke put 
the aim of historiography — because we can experience quite di- 
rectly how things are. So literary history is no proper history 
because it is the knowledge of the present, the omnipresent, the 
eternally present. One cannot deny, of course, that there is some 
real difference between political history and the history of art. 
There is a distinction between that which is historical and past 
and that which is historical and still somehow present. 

As we have shown before, an individual work of art does not 
remain unchanged through the course of history. There is, to be 
sure, a substantial identity of structure which has remained the 
same throughout the ages. But this structure is dynamic; it 
changes throughout the process of history while passing through 
the minds of readers, critics, and fellow-artists. The process of 
interpretation, criticism, and appreciation has never been com- 
pletely interrupted and is likely to continue indefinitely, or at 
least so long as there is no complete interruption of the cultural 
tradition. One of the tasks of the literary historian is the descrip- 
tion of this process. Another is the tracing of the development 
of works of art arranged in smaller and larger groups, according 
to common authorship, or genres, or stylistic types, or linguistic 
tradition, and finally inside a scheme of universal literature. 

But the concept of the development of a series of works of art 
seems an extraordinarily difficult one. In a sense each work of 
art is, at first sight, a structure discontinuous with neighboring 
works of art. One can argue that there is no development from 
one individuality to another. One meets even with the objection 
that there is no history of literature, only one of men writing. 12 
Yet according to the same argument we should have to give up 
writing a history of language because there are only men utter- 
ing words or a history of philosophy because there are only men 
thinking. Extreme "personalism" of this sort must lead to the 
view that every individual work of art is completely isolated, 
which, in practice, would mean that it would be both incommu- 
nicable and incomprehensible. We must conceive rather of lit- 
erature as a whole system of works which is, with the accretion 

Literary History 267 

of new ones, constantly changing its relationships, growing as a 
changing whole. 

But the mere fact that the literary situation of a time has 
changed compared to the situation of a decade or a century be- 
fore is still insufficient to establish a process of actual historical 
evolution, since the concept of change applies to any series of 
natural phenomena. It may mean merely ever new but meaning- 
less and incomprehensible rearrangements. Thus the study of 
change recommended by F. J. Teggart in his Theory of His- 
tory 13 would lead merely to the abolishment of all differences 
between historical and natural processes, leaving the historian to 
subsist on borrowings from natural science. If these changes re- 
curred with absolute regularity we should arrive at the concept 
of law as the physicist conceives it. Yet, despite the brilliant 
speculations of Spengler and Toynbee, such predictable changes 
have never been discovered in any historical process. 

Development means something else and something more than 
change or even regular and predictable change. It seems obvious 
that it should be used in the sense elaborated by biology. In 
biology, if we look closer, there are two very different concepts 
of evolution: first, the process exemplified by the growth of an 
egg to a bird, and second, the evolution exemplified by the 
change from the brain of a fish to that of a man. Here no series 
of brains ever develops actually, but only some conceptual ab- 
straction, "the brain," definable in terms of its function. The 
individual stages of development are conceived as so many ap- 
proximations to an ideal drawn from "human brain." 

Can we speak of literary evolution in either of these two 
senses? Ferdinand Brunetiere and John Addington Symonds as- 
sumed that we can speak in both. They supposed that one could 
consider literary genres on the analogy of species in nature. 14 
Literary genres, once they reach a certain degree of perfection, 
must wither, languish, and finally disappear, taught Brunetiere. 
Furthermore, genres become transformed into higher and more 
differentiated genres, just as do species in the Darwinian concep- 
tion of evolution. The use of "evolution" in the first sense of 
the term is obviously little more than a fanciful metaphor. Ac- 
cording to Brunetiere, French tragedy, for example, was born, 
grew, declined, and died. But the tertium comfarationis for the 

268 Theory of Literature 

birth of tragedy is merely the fact that there were no tragedies 
written in French before Jodelle. Tragedy died only in the sense 
that no important tragedies conforming to Brunetiere's ideal 
were written after Voltaire. But there is always the possibility 
that a future great tragedy will be written in French. According 
to Brunetiere, Racine's Phedre stands at the beginning of the 
decline of tragedy, somewhere near to its old age ; but it strikes 
us as young and fresh compared to the learned Renaissance 
tragedies, which, according to this theory, represent the "youth" 
of French tragedy. Even less defensible is the idea that genres 
become transformed into other genres, as, according to Brune- 
tiere, French pulpit oratory of the classical centuries was trans- 
formed into the Romantic lyric. Yet no real "transmutation" 
had taken place. One could at most say that the same or similar 
emotions were expressed earlier in oratory and later in lyrical 
poetry, or that possibly the same or similar social purposes were 
served by both. 

While we thus must reject the biological analogy between the 
development of literature and the closed evolutionary process 
from birth to death — an idea by no means extinct and recently 
revived by Spengler and Toynbee — , "evolution" in this second 
sense seems much nearer to the real concept of historical evolu- 
tion. It recognizes that no mere series of changes but, instead, 
an aim for this series must be postulated. The several parts of 
the series must be the necessary condition for the achievement 
of the end. The concept of evolution toward a specific goal (e.g., 
the human brain) makes a series of changes into a real concate- 
nation with a beginning and an end. Still, there is an impor- 
tant distinction between this second sense of biological evolution 
and "historical evolution" in the proper sense. To grasp his- 
torical evolution in distinction from biological, we must some- 
how succeed in preserving the individuality of the historical 
event without reducing the historical process to a collection of 
sequent but unrelated events. 

The solution lies in relating the historical process to a value 
or norm. Only then can the apparently meaningless series of 
events be split into its essential and its unessential elements. Only 
then can we speak of an historical evolution which yet leaves the 
individuality of the single event unimpaired. By relating an in- 

Literary History 269 

dividual reality to a general value, we do not degrade the indi- 
vidual to a mere specimen of a general concept but, instead, give 
significance to the individual. History does not simply individu- 
alize general values (nor is it, of course, a discontinuous mean- 
ingless flux), but the historical process will produce ever new 
forms of value, hitherto unknown and unpredictable. The rela- 
tivity of the individual work of art to a scale of values is thus 
nothing else than the necessary correlative of its individuality. 
The series of developments will be constructed in reference to 
a scheme of values or norms, but these values themselves emerge 
only from the contemplation of this process. There is, one must 
admit, a logical circle here: the historical process has to be judged 
by values, while the scale of values is itself derived from his- 
tory. 15 But this seems unavoidable, for otherwise we must either 
resign ourselves to the idea of a meaningless flux of change or 
apply some extra-literary standards — some Absolute, extraneous 
to the process of literature. 

This discussion of the problem of literary evolution has been 
necessarily abstract. It has attempted to establish that the evolu- 
tion of literature is different from that of biology, and that it 
has nothing to do with the idea of a uniform progress toward 
one eternal model. History can be written only in reference to 
variable schemes of values, and these schemes have to be ab- 
stracted from history itself. This idea may be illustrated by ref- 
erence to some of the problems with which literary history is 

The most obvious relationships between works of art — sources 
and influences — have been treated most frequently and consti- 
tute a staple of traditional scholarship. Although not literary 
history in the narrow sense, the establishment of literary rela- 
tionships between authors is obviously a most important prepa- 
ration for the writing of such literary history. If, for instance, 
we should want to write the History of English Poetry in the 
eighteenth century, it would be necessary to know the exact re- 
lationships of the eighteenth-century poets to Spenser, Milton 
and Dryden. A book like Raymond Havens' Milton's Influence 
on English Poetry? 6 a centrally literary study, accumulates im- 
pressive evidence for the influence of Milton, not only assem- 
bling the opinions of Milton held by eighteenth-century poets 

270 Theory of Literature 

but studying the texts and analyzing similarities and parallels. 
Parallel-hunting has been widely discredited recently: especially 
when attempted by an inexperienced student, it runs into obvi- 
ous dangers. First of all, parallels must be real parallels, not 
vague similarities assumed to turn, by mere multiplication, into 
proof. Forty zeroes still make zero. Furthermore, parallels must 
be exclusive parallels ; that is, there must be reasonable certainty 
that they cannot be explained by a common source, a certainty 
attainable only if the investigator has a wide knowledge of lit- 
erature or if the parallel is a highly intricate pattern rather than 
an isolated "motif" or word. Work violating these elementary 
requirements is not only shockingly large in amount but is some- 
times produced by distinguished scholars who should be able to 
recognize the commonplaces of a period — cliches, stereotyped 
metaphors, similarities induced by a common theme. 17 

Whatever the abuses of the method, however, it is a legiti- 
mate method and cannot be rejected in toto. By a judicious study 
of sources it is possible to establish literary relationships. Among 
those, quotations, plagiarisms, mere echoes are the least interest- 
ing: they establish, at the most, the mere fact of the relation- 
ship, though there are authors like Sterne and Burton who know 
how to use quotations for their own artistic purposes. But most 
questions of literary relationships are, obviously, far more com- 
plex and require for their solution critical analysis, for which 
the bringing together of parallels is merely a minor instrument. 
The defects of many studies of this kind lie precisely in their 
ignoring this truth: in their attempts to isolate one single trait, 
they break the work of art into little pieces of mosaic. The rela- 
tionships between two or more works of literature can be dis- 
cussed profitably only when we see them in their proper place 
within the scheme of literary development. Relationships be- 
tween works of art present a critical problem of comparing two 
wholes, two configurations not to be broken into isolated com- 
ponents except for preliminary study. 

When the comparison is really focused on two totalities, we 
shall be able to come to conclusions on a fundamental problem 
of literary history, that of originality. Originality is usually mis- 
conceived in our time as meaning a mere violation of tradition, 
or it is sought for at the wrong place, in the mere material of 

Literary History 271 

the work of art, or in its mere scaffolding — the traditional plot, 
the conventional framework. In earlier periods, there was a 
sounder understanding of the nature of literary creation, a rec- 
ognition that the artistic value of a merely original plot or sub- 
ject matter was small. The Renaissance and Neo-Classicism 
rightly ascribed great importance to translating, especially the 
translating of poetry, and to "imitation" in the sense in which 
Pope imitated Horace's satires or Dr. Johnson, Juvenal's. 18 Mis- 
conceptions of the artistic process underlie much work of this 
kind, e.g., the many studies of Sir Sidney Lee on Elizabethan 
sonnets, which prove the thorough conventionality of the form 
but do not thereby prove, as Sidney Lee supposed, the insin- 
cerity and badness of the sonnets. 19 To work within a given tra- 
dition and adopt its devices are perfectly compatible with emo- 
tional power and artistic value. The real critical problems in this 
kind of study arise when we reach the stage of weighing and 
comparing, of showing how one artist utilizes the achievements 
of another artist, when we watch the transforming power. The 
establishment of the exact position of each work in a tradition is 
the first task of literary history. 

The study of the relationships between two or more works of 
art leads then to further problems in the evolution of literary 
history. The first and most obvious series of works of art is that 
of the works written by one author. Here a scheme of values, 
an aim, is least difficult to establish: we can judge one work or 
a group of works to be his maturest, and can analyze all the 
other works from the point of view of their approximation to 
this type. Such a study has been attempted in many monographs, 
though rarely with a clear consciousness of the problems in- 
volved, and frequently in inextricable confusion with problems 
of the author's private life. 

Another type of evolutionary series can be constructed by iso- 
lating a certain trait in works of art and tracing its progress to- 
ward some ideal (even though temporarily ideal) type. This can 
be done in the writings of a single author if we study, for in- 
stance, as Clemen 20 did, the evolution of Shakespeare's imagery, 
or it can be done in a period or in the whole of a nation's litera- 
ture. Books like those of George Saintsbury on the history of 
English prosody and prose rhythm 21 isolate such an element and 

272 Theory of Literature 

trace its history, though Saintsbury's own ambitious books are 
vitiated by the unclear and obsolete conceptions of meter and 
rhythm on which they are based, demonstrating thereby that no 
proper history can be written without an adequate scheme of 
reference. The same type of problems will arise in a history of 
English poetic diction, for which we have only little sketches, 
or in a history of English poetic imagery, which has not been 
even attempted. 

With this type of study one might be expected to class the 
many historical studies of themes and motifs such as Hamlet or 
Don Juan or the Wandering Jew 5 but actually these are dif- 
ferent problems. Various versions of a story have no such neces- 
sary connection or continuity as have meter and diction. To trace 
all the different versions of, say, the tragedy of Mary Queen of 
Scots throughout literature might well be a problem of interest 
for the history of political sentiment, and would, of course, inci- 
dentally illustrate changes in the history of taste — even chang- 
ing conceptions of tragedy. But it has itself no real coherence or 
dialectic. It presents no single problem and certainly no critical 
problem. 22 Stoffgeschichte is the least literary of histories. 

The history of literary genres and types offers another group 
of problems. But the problems are not insoluble 5 and, despite 
Croce's attempts to discredit the whole conception, we have 
many studies preparatory to such a theory and themselves sug- 
gesting the theoretical insight necessary for the tracing of a clear 
history. The dilemma of genre history is the dilemma of all his- 
tory: i.e., in order to discover the scheme of reference (in this 
case, the genre) we must study the history ; but we cannot study 
the history without having in mind some scheme of selection. 
Our logical circle is, however, not insurmountable in practice. 
There are some cases, like the sonnet, where some obvious ex- 
ternal scheme of classification (the fourteen-line poem rhymed 
according to a definite pattern) provides the necessary starting- 
point j in other cases, like the elegy or the ode, one may legiti- 
mately doubt whether more than a common linguistic label holds 
together the history of the genre. There seems little overlap be- 
tween Ben Jonson's "Ode to Himself," Collins' "Ode to Eve- 
ning," and Wordsworth's "Intimations of Immortality" j but a 
sharper eye will see the common ancestry in Horatian and Pin- 

Literary History 273 

daric ode, and will be able to establish the connecting link, the 
continuity between apparently disparate traditions and ages. The 
history of genres is indubitably one of the most promising areas 
for the study of literary history. 

This "morphological" approach can be and should be applied 
on a large scale to folklore, where genres are frequently more 
clearly pronounced and defined than in later art-literature, and 
where this approach seems at least as significant as the commonly 
preferred study of the mere migrations of "motifs" and plots. 
Good beginnings have been made, especially in Russia. 23 Modern 
literature, at least up to the Romantic revolt, is incomprehensible 
without a grasp of both classical genres and the new genres which 
arose in the Middle Ages; their mingling and contamination, 
their struggle, is a large part of literary history between 1500 
and 1800. Indeed, whatever the Romantic age may have done 
to blur distinctions and to introduce mixed forms, it would be 
an error to underrate the power of the concept of genre, even in 
the most recent literature. The early genre histories of Brune- 
tiere or Symonds are certainly vitiated by an excessive reliance 
on the biological parallel. But in recent decades there have come 
studies which work more cautiously. Such studies run the danger 
of reducing themselves to descriptions of types or to an unre- 
lated series of individual discussions, a fate which has overtaken 
many books calling themselves histories of the drama or the 
novel. But there are books which clearly envisage the problem 
of the development of a type. It can scarcely be ignored in writ- 
ing the History of English Drama up to Shakespeare, within 
which the succession of types like Mysteries and Moralities and 
the rise of modern drama can be traced in striking mixed forms 
like Bale's King John. Though divided in its purposes, W. W. 
Greg's book on Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama is an early 
example of good genre history; 24 and later C. S. Lewis' Alle- 
gory of Love 25 has provided an illustration of a clearly con- 
ceived scheme of development. In Germany, there are at least 
two very good books, Karl Vietor's History of the German Ode 
and Giinther Miiller's History of the German Song. 26 Both of 
these authors have reflected acutely upon the problems with 
which they are confronted. 27 Vietor clearly recognizes the logical 
circle but is not frightened by it: the historian, he sees, must 

274 Theory of Literature 

intuitively, though provisionally, grasp what is essential to the 
genre which is his concern, and then go to the origins of the 
genre, to verify or correct his hypothesis. Though the genre will 
appear in the history exemplified in the individual works, it will 
not be described by all traits of these individual works: we must 
conceive of genre as a "regulative" concept, some underlying 
pattern, a convention which is real, i.e., effective because it ac- 
tually molds the writing of concrete works. The history never 
needs to reach a specific aim in the sense that there cannot be 
any further continuation or differentiation of a genre, but, in 
order to write a proper history, we shall have to keep in mind 
some temporal aim or type. 

Exactly analogous problems are raised by a history of a period 
or movement. The discussion of development must have shown 
that we cannot agree with two extreme views: either the meta- 
physical view that period is an entity whose nature has to be 
intuited, or the extreme nominalistic view that period is a mere 
linguistic label for any section of time under consideration for 
the purposes of description. Extreme nominalism assumes that 
period is an arbitrary superimposition on a material which in 
reality is a continuous directionless flux, and thus leaves us with 
a chaos of concrete events on the one hand and with purely sub- 
jective labels on the other. If we hold this view, then obviously 
it does not matter where we put a cross-section through a reality 
essentially uniform in its manifold variety. It is then of no im- 
portance what scheme of periods, however arbitrary and me- 
chanical, we adopt. We can write literary history by calendar 
centuries, by decades, or by years, in an annalistic fashion. We 
may even adopt such a criterion as Arthur Symons did in his 
book on The Romantic Movement in English Poetry. 28 He dis- 
cusses only authors born before 1 800 and of those only such as 
died after 1800. Period is then merely a convenient word, a 
necessity in the subdivision of a book or the choice of a topic. 
This view, though frequently unintended, underlies the practice 
of books which devoutly respect the date lines between centuries 
or which set to a topic exact limitations of date (e.g., 1700- 1750) 
unjustified by any reason save the practical need for some limits. 
This respect for calendar dates is legitimate, of course, in purely 
bibliographical compilations, where it provides such orientation 

Literary History 275 

as the Dewey decimal system offers to a library 5 but such peri- 
odical divisions have nothing to do with literary history proper. 

Most literary histories, however, divide their periods in ac- 
cordance with political changes. Literature is thus conceived of 
as completely determined by the political or social revolutions of 
a nation, and the problem of determining periods is handed over 
to the political and social historians, whose divisions and periods 
are usually and without question adopted. If we look into older 
histories of English literature, we shall find that they are either 
written according to numerical divisions or according to one 
simple political criterion — the reigns of the English sovereigns. 
It is scarcely necessary to show how confusing it would be to 
subdivide the later history of English literature according to the 
death dates of the monarchs: nobody thinks seriously of distin- 
guishing in early nineteenth-century literature between the 
reigns of George III, George IV, and William IV; yet the 
equally artificial distinctions between the reigns of Elizabeth, 
James I, and Charles I still have some survival. 

If we look into more recent histories of English literature, 
we find that the old divisions by calendar centuries or reigns of 
kings have disappeared almost completely and have been re- 
placed by a series of periods whose names, at least, are derived 
from the most diverse activities of the human mind. Though we 
still use the terms "Elizabethan" and "Victorian," survivals of 
the old distinctions between reigns, they have assumed a new 
meaning inside a scheme of intellectual history. We keep them 
because we feel that the two queens seem to symbolize the char- 
acter of their times. We no longer insist upon a rigid chrono- 
logical period actually determined by the ascent to the throne 
and the death of the monarch. We use the term "Elizabethan" 
to include writers before the closing of the theaters, almost forty 
years after the death of the queen; and, on the other hand, 
though his life falls well within the chronological limits of Vic- 
toria's reign, we rarely speak of a man like Oscar Wilde as a 
Victorian. The terms, originally of political origin, have thus 
assumed a definite meaning in intellectual and even in literary 
history. None the less, the motley derivation of our current 
labels is somewhat disconcerting. "Reformation" comes from 
ecclesiastical history; "Humanism," mainly from the history of 

276 Theory of Literature 

scholarship; "Renaissance" from art history; "Commonwealth" 
and "Restoration" from definite political events. The term 
"eighteenth century" is an old numerical term which has as- 
sumed some of the functions of literary terms such as "Augustan" 
and "Neo-Classic." "Pre-Romanticism" and "Romanticism" are 
primarily literary terms, while Victorian, Edwardian, and Geor- 
gian are derived from the reigns of the sovereigns. The same 
bewildering picture is presented by almost any other literature: 
for example, the "Colonial period" in American literature is a 
political term, while "Romanticism" and "Realism" are literary 

In defense of this mixture of terms it may, of course, be urged 
that the apparent confusion was caused by history itself. As lit- 
erary historians, we have first of all to pay heed to the ideas and 
conceptions, the programs and names, of the writers themselves, 
and thus be content with accepting their own divisions. The value 
of the evidence supplied by consciously formulated programs, 
factions, and self-interpretations in the history of literature is, 
of course, not to be minimized; but surely the term "movement" 
might well be reserved for such self-conscious and self-critical 
activities, to be described, as we would describe any other his- 
torical sequence of events and pronouncements. But such pro- 
grams are merely materials for our study of a period, just as the 
whole history of criticism will offer a running commentary to 
any history of literature. They may give us suggestions and 
hints, but they should not prescribe our own methods and divi- 
sions, not because our views are necessarily more penetrating 
than theirs but because we have the benefit of seeing the past in 
the light of the present. 

Besides, it must be said, these terms of confusingly different 
origin were not established in their own time. In English, the 
term "Humanism" occurs first in 1832, "Renaissance" in 1840, 
"Elizabethan" in 18 17, "Augustan" in 18 19, and "Romanti- 
cism" in 1844. These dates, derived from the Oxford Dic- 
tionary, are probably not quite reliable, for the term "Augustan" 
appears sporadically as early as 1690; Carlyle uses "Romanti- 
cism" in 1 83 1. 29 But they indicate the time lag between the 
labels and the periods which they designate. The Romanticists, 
as we know, did not call themselves Romanticists, at least in 

Literary History 2JJ 

England. Apparently only about 1849 were Coleridge and 
Wordsworth connected with the Romantic movement and 
grouped with Shelley, Keats, and Byron. 30 In her Literary His- 
tory of England between the End of the Eighteenth and the 
Beginning of the Nineteenth Century (1882), Mrs. Oliphant 
never uses the term, nor does she conceive of the "Lake" poets, 
the "Cockney" school, and the "Satanic" Byron as one move- 
ment. There is thus no historical justification for the present 
usually accepted periods of English literature. One cannot escape 
the conclusion that they constitute an indefensible jumble of 
political, literary, and artistic labels. 

But even if we had a series of periods neatly subdividing the 
cultural history of man — politics, philosophy, the other arts, and 
so forth — literary history should not be content to accept a 
scheme arrived at on the basis of various materials with different 
aims in mind. Literature must not be conceived as being merely 
a passive reflection or copy of the political, social, or even intel- 
lectual development of mankind. Thus the literary period should 
be established by purely literary criteria. 

If our results should coincide with those of political, social, 
artistic, and intellectual historians, there can be no objection. But 
our starting point must be the development of literature as lit- 
erature. Period is, then, only a subsection of the universal de- 
velopment. Its history can be written only with reference to a 
variable scheme of values, and this scheme of values has to be 
abstracted from history itself. A period is thus a time section 
dominated by a system of literary norms, standards, and conven- 
tions, whose introduction, spread, diversification, integration, 
and disappearance can be traced. 

This does not, of course, mean that we have to accept this 
system of norms as binding for ourselves. We must extract it 
from history itself: we have to discover it there in reality. For 
instance, "Romanticism" is not a unitary quality which spreads 
like an infection or a plague, nor is it, of course, merely a verbal 
label. It is an historical category or, if one prefers the Kantian 
term, a "regulative idea" (or, rather, a whole system of ideas) 
with the help of which we interpret the historical process. But 
we have found this scheme of ideas in the process itself. Such a 
concept of the term "period" differs from one in frequent use, 

278 Theory of Literature 

which expands it into a psychological type detachable from its 
historical context. Without necessarily condemning the use of 
established historical terms as names for such psychological or 
artistic types, we should see that such a typology of literature is 
very different from the matter under discussion — that it does not 
belong to literary history in the narrow sense. 

Thus a period is not a type or a class but a time section defined 
by a system of norms embedded in the historical process and 
irremovable from it. The many futile attempts to define "Ro- 
manticism" show that a period is not a concept similar to a class 
in logic. If it w r ere, all individual works could be subsumed under 
it. But this is manifestly impossible. An individual work of art 
is not an instance in a class, but a part which, together with all 
the other works, makes up the concept of the period. It thus 
itself modifies the concept of the whole. The discrimination of 
different "Romanticisms" 31 or multiple definitions, however 
valuable they are as indications of the complexity of the scheme 
to which they refer, seem on theoretical grounds mistaken. It 
should be frankly realized that a period is not an ideal type or 
an abstract pattern or a series of class concepts, but a time sec- 
tion, dominated by a whole system of norms, which no work of 
art will ever realize in its entirety. The history of a period will 
consist in the tracing of the changes from one system of norms to 
another. While a period is thus a section of time to which some 
sort of unity is ascribed, it is obvious that this unity can be only 
relative. It means merely that during this period a certain scheme 
of norms has been realized most fully. If the unity of any one 
period were absolute, the periods would lie next to each other like 
blocks of stone, without continuity of development. Thus the 
survival of a preceding scheme of norms and the anticipations of 
a following scheme are inevitable, as a period is historical only 
if every event is considered as a result of the whole preceding 
past and if its effects can be traced into the whole future. 32 

The problem of writing the history of a period will be first a 
problem of description: we need to discern the decay of one 
convention and the rise of a new one. Why this change of con- 
vention has come about at a particular moment is a historical 
problem insoluble in general terms. One type of solution pro- 
posed assumes that within the literary development a stage of 

Literary History 279 

exhaustion is reached requiring the rise of a new code. The Rus- 
sian formalists describe this process as a process of "automati- 
zation," i.e., devices of poetic craft effective in their time be- 
come so common and hackneyed that new readers become inured 
against them and crave something different, something, it is 
assumed, antithetic to what has gone before. A seesaw alter- 
nation is the scheme of development, a series of revolts ever 
leading to new "actualizations" of diction, themes, and all 
other devices. But this theory does not make clear why develop- 
ment has to move in the particular direction it has taken: mere 
seesaw schemes are obviously inadequate to describe the whole 
complexity of the process. One explanation of these changes in 
direction would put the burden on outside interferences and 
pressures of the social milieu. Each change of literary conven- 
tion would be caused by the rise of a new class or at least group 
of people who create their own art: in Russia, with the clear 
class distinctions and affiliations which prevailed before 1917, 
frequently a close correlation between social and literary change 
can be established. 

Another explanation turns to the rise of a new generation. 
This theory has found many adherents since Cournot's Consid- 
erations sur la marche des idees ( 1 872) and has been elaborated, 
especially in Germany, by Petersen and Wechssler. 33 But it can 
be objected that generation, taken as a biological entity, does not 
offer any solution at all. If we postulate three generations in a 
century, e.g., 1800-1833, 1 834-1869, 1870-1900, we must admit 
that there are equally series 1801-1834, 1835-1870, 1871-1901, 
etc., etc. Biologically considered, these series are completely 
equal j and the fact that a group of people born around 1800 
have influenced literary change more profoundly than a group 
born around 18 15 must be ascribed to other than purely bio- 
logical causes. It is undoubtedly true that at some moments in 
history literary change is effected by a group of young people 
(Jugendreihe) of about equal age: the German Sturm und 
Drang or Romanticism are the obvious examples. A certain 
"generational" unity seems achieved by such social and his- 
torical facts that only people of a certain age group can have 
experienced an important event such as the French Revolution 
or the two World Wars at an impressionable age. But this is 

280 Theory of Literature 

simply the case of one powerful social influence. In other cases 
we can scarcely doubt that literary change has been profoundly 
influenced by the mature works of old men. On the whole, the 
mere exchange of generations or social classes is insufficient to 
explain literary change. It is a complex process varying from 
occasion to occasion ; it is partly internal, caused by exhaustion 
and the desire for change, but also partly external, caused by 
social, intellectual, and all other cultural changes. 

An unending discussion has been given to the main periods of 
modern literary history. The terms "Renaissance," "Classicism," 
"Romanticism," "Symbolism," and recently "Baroque" have 
been defined, redefined, controverted. 34 It is unlikely that any 
kind of agreement can be reached so long as the theoretical issues 
we have tried to clarify remain confused, so long as the men 
engaged in the discussions insist on logical definitions, confuse 
"period" terms with "type" terms, confuse the semantic history 
of the terms with the actual changes of style. Quite understand- 
ably, A. O. Lovejoy and others have recommended the aban- 
donment of such terms as "Romanticism." But the discussion of 
a period will at least raise all kinds of questions of literary his- 
tory: the history of the term and the critical programs as well as 
the actual stylistic changes ; the relationships of the period to all 
the other activities of man 5 the relationship to the same periods 
in other countries. As a term, Romanticism comes late to Eng- 
land, but there is a new program in Wordsworth's and Cole- 
ridge's theories which has to be discussed in relation to the prac- 
tice of Wordsworth and Coleridge and to that of the other Ro- 
mantic poets. There is a new style whose anticipations can be 
traced back even into the early eighteenth century. We can com- 
pare English Romanticism with the different Romanticisms in 
France and Germany and can study the parallels or alleged par- 
allels with the Romantic movement in the fine arts. The prob- 
lems will be different in every time and place: it seems impos- 
sible to make general rules. Cazamian's supposition that the 
alternation of periods has grown speedier and speedier until 
today the oscillation has become stabilized is surely mistaken, 
and so are attempts to state dogmatically which art precedes 
another or which nation precedes another in the introduction of 
a new style. Obviously we should not expect too much from 

Literary History 281 

mere period labels : one word cannot carry a dozen connotations. 
But the skeptical conclusion which would abandon the problem 
is equally mistaken, as the concept of period is certainly one of 
the main instruments of historical knowledge. 

The further and wider problem, a history of a national litera- 
ture as a whole, is harder to envisage. It is difficult to trace the 
history of a national literature as an art when the whole frame- 
work invites to references essentially unliterary, to speculations 
about national ethics and national characteristics which have little 
to do with the art of literature. In the case of American litera- 
ture, where there is no linguistic distinction from another na- 
tional literature, the difficulties become manifold, since the de- 
velopment of the art of literature in America must be necessarily 
incomplete and partly dependent on an older and stronger tra- 
dition. Clearly, any national development of the art of literature 
presents a problem which the historian cannot afford to ignore, 
though it has scarcely ever been investigated in any systematic 
fashion. Needless to say, histories of groups of literatures are 
even more distant ideals. The existent examples, such as Jan 
Machal's Slavonic Literatures or Leonardo Olschki's attempt to 
write a history of all Romance literatures during the Middle 
Ages, are not too successful. 35 Most histories of world literature 
are attempts to trace the main tradition of European literature 
united by their common descent from Greece and Rome, but 
none of these have gone beyond ideological generalities or super- 
ficial compilations unless possibly the brilliant sketches by the 
brothers Schlegel, which hardly serve contemporary needs. 36 
Finally, a general history of the art of literature is still a far dis- 
tant ideal. The existing attempts, like John Brown's History of 
the Rise and Progress of Poetry dating from 1763, are too 
speculative and schematic, or else, like the Chadwicks' three vol- 
umes on The Growth of Literature, preoccupied with questions 
of static types of oral literature. 37 

After all, we are only beginning to learn how to analyze a 
work of art in its integrity; we are still very clumsy in our 
methods, and their basis in theory is still constantly shifting. 
Thus, much is before us. Nor is there anything to regret in the 
fact that literary history has a future as well as a past, a future 
which cannot and should not consist merely in the filling of 

282 Theory of Literature 

gaps in the scheme discovered by older methods. We must seek 
to elaborate a new ideal of literary history and new methods 
which would make its realization possible. If the ideal here out- 
lined seems unduly "purist" in its emphasis on the history of 
literature as an art, we can avow that no other approach has been 
considered invalid and that concentration seems a necessary anti- 
dote to the expansionist movement through which literary his- 
tory has passed in the last decades. A clear consciousness of a 
scheme of relationships between methods is in itself a remedy 
against mental confusion, even though the individual may elect 
to combine several methods. 


The Academic Situation 


The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 

For at least a generation, now, Americans of literary interests 
have felt ill at ease either within or without our universities. 
Young men have gone to graduate school in search of a doctorate, 
generally in English, with the hope of receiving a serious literary 
education. Some have dropped out; others have become bitter 
but resigned 3 others have complied but been distracted from 
their proper direction and only belatedly have sought to give 
themselves that literary discipline they had missed. 

What is the matter with our "higher study" of literature? Are 
we offered no wider choice than between the "historical method" 
(not the same as literary history) and dilettantism? Is the situa- 
tion peculiarly American? 

There is an obvious gain in perspective if, before addressing 
ourselves specifically and practically to the familiar local situa- 
tion, we review briefly the comparable situations, between the 
two World Wars, in England, France, Germany, and Russia. 1 

In England, the mass-production of Ph.D.'s is not a danger, 
for the universities are still comparatively few, and manage with 
small staffs. 2 Mere antiquarianism, however, is flourishing. An 
influential professor has been heard to say that the future of 
literary scholarship is in "bibliography," i.e., the type of textual 
criticism cultivated by W. W. Greg and Dover Wilson. But far 
more influential and prominent is a "genteel" tradition which 
approves the writing of irresponsible, whimsical, impressionistic 
essays. In leading positions there are still men contemptuous of 
all theory and system, of everything modern and contemporary, 
men best exemplified perhaps by the late President of Magdalen, 
Dr. George Gordon. Though the education of a student of Eng- 
lish in the British universities may be more literary than in most 
American universities, one cannot say that it gives critical train- 
ing, not to speak of anything like a systematic theory. In Eng- 


286 Theory of Literature 

land, little academic publication avoids the extremes of pure 
antiquarianism on the one hand and pure literary essay-writing 
on the other. There are, to be sure, some precursors of change, 
men like Geoffrey Tillotson, a student of the history of English 
poetry, who, though his theory be far too relativistic, is gen- 
uinely occupied with poetics, or F. R. Leavis, editor of Scrutiny, 
who, as leader of a critical group, has fought vigorously against 
academic gentility, or Leavis' able associate, L. C. Knights. The 
British universities have the considerable advantage of drawing 
on students who come from cultivated families, and who have re- 
ceived sound training in the classical languages. But the suspicion 
of theory and the prevailing gentility combine to preclude a high 
standard of critical scholarship. A reform is overdue. 

At the end of the nineteenth century, Germany was the center 
and norm of exact research and "scientific method." 3 Between 
the two wars, reaction went to amazing lengths: from facts and 
facts alone, one is tempted to say, the Germans swung to fancies, 
speculations, and dogma. The Germans it was who reacted 
against what American humanists are still likely to think of as 
"German scholarship." Among them there were, of course, tem- 
perate, distinguished thinkers, like Dilthey and Unger, who de- 
fined problems of method and clarified epistemological issues. 
But, especially in its later developments, German literary 
scholarship has produced grandiose theories and pretentious 
verbalisms which neither arise from nor apply themselves to 
concrete works of art. Even before the Nazis, German theorizers 
concentrated on the German "Geist" and its permutations. The 
chief writers have scarcely been critically analyzed, save per- 
haps in terms of their political thought , and, indeed, outside 
of nationalistic and racialist criteria (sometimes disguised, like 
"organicity"), German literary scholarship is highly relativistic. 
Studies in "comparative literature," in some respects active, are 
dominated by the same reference to the norms of German Kultur 
and German Geist. Though the Nazi rule has passed, those 
twelve years must have left their deep impress even on men not 
technically identified with the "movement." Its racial theory, 
its pathological sense of superiority to the rest of the world, and 
its centrally political outlook have pervaded German literary 

The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 287 

scholarship, necessitating its present reconstruction almost from 
the bottom. 

In France, the tradition of critical scholarship has been very 
strong j and French literary scholarship, on the whole, has been 
in less danger of losing the sense of its true vocation than has 
literary scholarship elsewhere. But in France there has been a 
tendency toward mass-production. The enormous these has en- 
couraged sheer wordiness, rhetoric, or the indiscriminate display 
of materials ; and, when the work is devoted to a foreign author, 
it has included word-for-word translations. After the first World 
War, it would appear that France wanted to vie with German 
organized scholarship : one thinks of the elaborate and overelab- 
orate editions of French classics like Rabelais or the "integral" 
literary history of Daniel Mornet, who advocates the study of 
minor and even "minimal" authors. 4 Hence a critic like Valery 
Larbaud proposes that scholars be forbidden to write books and 
be limited to printing of their treasured fiches, their "notes and 
queries." 5 The French have produced little systematic literary 
theory and have, on the whole, avoided methodological discus- 
sion. In part, however, these very lacks testify not only to distaste 
for Teutonic extremes but to the general soundness of the French 
tradition. The French universities can still take for granted a cer- 
tain humanistic training imparted by the lycees — a training 
which, though rather limited in scope and taste, includes gram- 
mar, rhetoric, and explication of texts. But in France, as else- 
where, the disjunction between scholarship and criticism widens. 

In Russia, just after the first World War, the Formalists, 
originally a group of linguists, did much to clarify the meth- 
odology of literary study and produced some excellent analyses 
of poetry and prose. 6 Their resolution to study literature as liter- 
ature was admirable; but it is impossible to endorse their avoid- 
ance of the critical problem. Through their stress on evolution, 
on "historical poetics," they arrived at a new relativism, accord- 
ing to which works of literature are to be judged solely by how 
far they modify existing poetic convention, succeed in changing 
the course of literature. 

Now, Formalism as a movement has been suppressed. Most 
of its proponents have shifted their writing to historical novels 
and biographies. Literary scholarship is officially dominated by 

288 Theory of Literature 

the Marxist view. It is, however, possible — witness the new 
Soviet Academy Histories of Russian, French, English and 
American Literature — to combine professions of Marxist faith 
(attested by frequent citations of Marx and Lenin) not only 
with conventional historical scholarship but also with observa- 
tions formalistic in origins and methods. On the whole, Soviet 
literary scholarship is less purely antiquarian than its American 
equivalent, as it is also far less theoretical and cloudy than the 
German; but it suffers from its narrow conception of social 
utility and is not centrally or primarily "literary." 

One cannot yet anticipate the way in which European literary 
scholarship will be reconstituted. But it seems probable that, in 
any case, leadership has passed to the United States. Here the 
material bases have been unimpaired ; here it has been possible 
to assemble European scholars of methodological and speculative 
concerns as well as learning ; and here there is a native, inde- 
pendent critical movement beginning to make itself academically 
felt. Here there is a chance — though one which we can miss or 
misuse — to reconstitute literary scholarship on more critical lines: 
to give merely antiquarian learning its proper subsidiary position, 
to break down nationalistic and linguistic provincialisms, to bring 
scholarship into active relations with contemporary literature, to 
give scholarship theoretical and critical awareness. 

The present status of American scholarship in literature has 
been frequently and often unfavorably characterized. 7 The com- 
mon objections rehearse the triviality, futility, remoteness from 
life and literature of much academic publication; the chiefly 
quantitative standards; the exaltation of the hitherto unknown 
and unpublished, whatever its intrinsic worth; the complacent 
pleasure in mere factual accuracy. Academics are, of course, in- 
clined to dismiss such strictures as either perfectionist or hostile — 
made by those extra muros. They defend current production 
variously, sometimes on the conviction that any kind of industry 
is preferable to undisguised laziness, or to merely polite pursuits 
like gardening, golf playing, cocktails, and The New Yorker. 
They can maintain — and frequently with some truth — that what 
appears trivial to the layman may, to the contextually aware spe- 
cialist, seem significant. They may assert that the fear of erudite 
accumulations ("masses of knowledge") is excessive — or vain. 

The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 289 

Such defenses, we think, avoid the real issue. The crisis of the 
profession is not due to scholarship or to such unavoidable tech- 
nicalities of a profession as invite the ridicule of the outsider. 
Rather, we have to do with a special situation, that of the literary 
scholar ; and we believe it remediable from within the profession. 

There are, indubitably, some hopeful signs. Within the last 
twenty-five years, those who feel the need of reform have grown 
to be a vocal minority. At Chicago, the whole graduate program 
has been boldly reoriented from the historical to the critical ; at 
Iowa, under Norman Foerster, the School of Letters developed 
a comprehensive and flexible critical doctorate ; almost every- 
where there have been some changes in an analogous direction. 
These new interests at the universities find expression and stimu- 
lation in the new groups which have, at the Modern Language 
Association conventions, been organized as "Special Topics." 
Now, as critical alternative to the organization by historical 
periods, we have sections studying Poetics and General Aes- 
thetics, Literature and Society, Literature and the Fine Arts. The 
same felt need for the articulation of theory and method 
prompted the establishment of the English Institute, which has 
already held six annual meetings. 

In the world of professional magazines, similar changes are 
observable. The "learned journals," including the PMLA, have 
increasingly admitted articles (theory, literary criticism, studies 
of contemporary writers like Joyce, Proust, and T. S. Eliot) 
which, before, would either have been rejected or never received. 
Some recently established journals, notably the Journal of the 
History of Ideas and the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 
have set new standards of intellectual precision and stylistic care. 
But our magazines of "literary scholarship" include also, and 
centrally, the critical or critical and creative quarterlies — the late 
Criterion and Southern Review, the current Scrutiny, Sewanee 
Review, Kenyon Review, Partisan Review, and Accent. 

Of the obvious forces which work for the preservation of the 
existing order, the chief is undoubtedly inertia. Others are of an 
institutional nature. American universities have become enor- 
mous enterprises requiring huge staffs of English and Modern 
Language teachers. The necessary classification and grading of 
such teachers can most easily be done by giving them a stand- 

290 Theory of Literature 

ardized education with standardized degrees, and by measuring 
their subsequent achievement in terms of pages contributed to 
"learned journals"; and it is manifestly difficult to replace this 
system by something less mechanical. 

Further, the overexpansion of the university has led to a cor- 
responding overproduction of teachers of English. Like history, 
literature is too often taught by men without specific vocation, by 
those who might as well have become businessmen, lawyers, or 
preachers. The teacher of literature should himself be a literary 
man, as professors of philosophy are, still, expected to be philos- 
ophers, not merely historians of philosophy. Whether a prac- 
ticing poet or novelist or a critic or theorist, he should be a man 
who has experienced, and who values, literature as an art. In the 
traditional sense, he should be an "apologist" for literature. Cur- 
rently, other disciplines — e.g., sociology, psychiatry — press their 
claims, extend the application of their principles. The professor 
of literature must be conversant with the relations between lit- 
erary theory, philosophy, psychology. He must be able to give 
some reasoned account, to representatives of other disciplines, of 
the nature and value of literature. The eminent French critic, 
Albert Thibaudet, has suggested that, just as there are chairs of 
philosophy, so there should be chairs of "literature," for in- 
quiries which belong to the general theory of literature. The sug- 
gestion is good. But we Americans should do more: we should 
seek to make our professors of English into professors of Litera- 

The reply from the "old guard" will of course be that no in- 
dividual can be an "authority" on English literature, let alone 
on "literature." Distinction in literary scholarship is possible only 
through sharp limitation of the data— in effect, a limitation in 
time and space (one period, one nation, one author). The stand- 
ard English departments must still have an accredited specialist 
in Chaucer, in Shakespeare, and in Milton, and for each period 
of fifty or a hundred years. 

As the publications of scholarship increase, it becomes more 
and more difficult to be, without sacrifice of perspective, a tech- 
nical Shakespeare scholar. E. E. Stoll is one of our few Shake- 
speareans who is also a man of letters. The most comprehensive 

The Study of Literature In the Graduate School 29 1 

recent critic of Shakespeare, the late Granville-Barker, was a 
dramatist and dramatic producer, not a professor. 

But prevailing conceptions of what constitutes distinction in a 
department we believe to be unsoundly narrow and superficial. 
Universities should appoint to their vacant chairs only men of 
general intellectual and literary distinction, the best they can 
find. There is no need to follow a Miltonist with a Miltonist. 
Nor is it necessary that Milton be taught by a Miltonist, i.e., 
someone who has published books and articles on Milton. It is 
the present presumption that a man teaches only after he has 
published a book or article on the author to whom the course is 
devoted. We might better argue, however, that he should teach 
the course only till he has published his book. After his view has 
been developed and committed to print, it is a waste of time to 
have it repeated and diluted in lectures. 

A professor of literature should be able, with proper ad hoc 
preparation, to teach and to write on any author or period within 
his linguistic compass: W. P. Ker, H. J. C. Grierson, and Mario 
Praz are examples of such versatile distinction. Research of a 
"factual" sort is not necessary to the production of sound crit- 
icism. But, what the teacher-critic does need, of course, is the 
grasp his training in the methods of literary scholarship should 
give him — the ability to judge the general reliability of pub- 
lished research, the ability to analyze the assumptions and logic 
of other literary scholars, the ability to analyze a poem, novel, 
or play. 

Instead of staffing a department in terms of "Shakespeare 
men" and "Wordsworth men," we should, better, invoke types 
of mind and method. Have we someone adept at exegesis and 
practical criticism? Have we a literary theorist? Have we a man 
of strong philosophical interests and training who can analyze 
the interrelations of literature and philosophy in the "history of 
ideas"? Have we a poet? Have we a teacher who has active 
social and political interests without ceasing to be a literary 
man? Have we a "Catholic intellectual"? Have we a man versed 
in modern psychology and psychiatry? Have we men who are 
adequately sympathetic representatives of the chief literary 
kinds — drama, the novel, poetry? 

Unavoidably, if our departments alter their conceptions of 

292 Theory of Literature 

English professors, older men, within a given university and 
elsewhere, will complain that standards have been lowered or 
given up. All such laments, it is important to see, are not state- 
ments of fact but judgments of value. If, in 1930, Kittredge had 
retired and T. S. Eliot had been appointed in his stead, most 
Harvard Ph.D.'s would probably have said that Harvard stand- 
ards had declined. They would obviously have changed. When 
our standards for professors grow more literary, we shall sur- 
render some things once thought imperative while we shall also 
make new exactions. 

To pass from appointment and promotion to their correlative 
and, in large measure, prerequisite — the training of future 
teachers of literature: we urge far-reaching reform in the train- 
ing of candidates for the Ph.D. 8 In general, two ways are open. 
The first would involve a sharper distinction between the teacher 
and the scholar. Smaller and humbler institutions — perhaps most 
colleges — would abandon their present pretensions to "scholarly 
research." The doctorate — or at any rate the Ph.D. — would 
really represent what it has professed to represent. Its holders 
would be specialists with easy access to the largest libraries, who, 
freed from elementary teaching, would devote themselves to 
their own studies and the training of their successors. 

The new "higher" Ph.D. would correspond rather to a French 
docteur es lettres or the Habituation of a German Privatdozent. 
In addition, there would be a "teaching" degree, frankly utili- 
tarian, which would be focused on what would be useful in future 
college teaching, and might require courses in Education or pos- 
sibly "practice teaching." Though it would meet some of the crit- 
icisms of the present situation, this solution would not be satis- 
factory, but, probably, even aggravate the divorce between 
learning and literature. The "high" Ph.D. would tend to become 
an even more technical and antiquarian degree ; the teaching de- 
gree would tend to become purely vocational, illiberal. 

The other and opposite way, which is also the democratic way, 
seems much the sounder. It would reform the Ph.D. in the 
direction of making its holder not a specialist in a period but a 
professional man of letters, a man who, in addition to English 
and American literature, knows literary theory, the modes of 
scholarship and criticism, who, without recourse to impressionism 

The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 293 

and "appreciation," can analyze and discuss books with his classes. 
Such a program of graduate study could be inaugurated grad- 
ually. Feasible means present themselves. 

In the linguistic requirements, radical change should be made. 
The usual perfunctory attainments in the medieval stages of 
modern languages and in Latin are, we think, of little direct 
value to the student of modern literatures. This is, of course, 
not to disparage really substantial attainments in the classical lan- 
guages, nor to question the importance of Old French or Old 
Norse as well as Latin for the student specializing in medieval 
literature and civilizations. Nor, of course, do we doubt the 
value of a science of linguistics which has its own rationale and 
problems and should train scholars by its own methods. But the 
new type of Ph.D. would profit most, it seems to us, from a real 
conversance with one or two modern languages. The present 
examinations in French and German frequently test the candi- 
dates' ability to read some paper in Englische Studien or Anglia 
or some passage in Taine or Legouis-Cazamian — the ability, that 
is, to read academic or critical prose concerning English litera- 
ture. The assumption, surely deplorable, is that French and 
German, for the man of letters as for the chemist or physicist, are 
tool subjects, vehicles of scientific communication. 

At present our linguistic requirements are too easy, too uni- 
form, and not adequately literary. Our student of literature 
should know French or German or Italian or even Spanish or 
Russian so well that he can read poetry and fiction in one or two 
of those tongues with literary understanding. If he knows Racine 
and Baudelaire, or Goethe and Rilke — which, of course, im- 
plies that he is able to study other French and German poets — 
his understanding of English poetry will be measurably in- 
creased (in terms not of "sources" and "influences" but of com- 
parison and contrast) and he will come into direct relation with 
modern movements of literature, which neither can nor should 
be understood in terms of a single language. Thus it would be 
possible to lower those boundaries between national literatures 
which have obstructed the synoptic view of literary history, to 
approximate, at least, the ideal of "general literature." 

Our present graduate curriculum offers two kinds of courses — 

294 Theory of Literature 

those in periods and those in great authors, both (in practice) 
illustrations of a loosely conceived literary history j and there is 
a tendency to think of compulsory courses in the chief periods 
and authors. Both the course theory of education and the ex- 
clusive rule of the "historical method" should be challenged. A 
graduate school exists to induct literarily serious students into an 
acquaintance with the aims and methods of literary study and to 
provide critical supervision of their reading and writing. Such a 
conception includes both "scholarship" and "criticism" (as Amer- 
icans commonly use these terms) and refuses to distinguish in 
its methods of study between literature before the twentieth 
century and "contemporary literature." 

For curricular requirements, we should plan "types" of 
courses. One would be a course in a period, which need not be 
restricted to a single literature: "The Age of Reason," or "The 
Romantic Movement" should survey at least France, Germany, 
England, and America. A course in a single author provides — 
should indeed necessitate — close reading and exegesis ; but the 
authors thus selected need not be always the same, nor only the 
three or four masters, nor always authors from the remote past. 
There should be a genre course, which need not be so broad as 
"The English Novel" but should certainly not turn into a series 
of isolated analyses. There should be a course in literary theory. 
There should be a seminar studying specific approaches to litera- 
ture — the biographical, the sociological, the ideological ; studying 
the relations between literature and the fine arts, between liter- 
ature and philosophy. 

The doctoral thesis should be conceived of as flexibly as we 
conceive of professional literary distinction. As the most in- 
dividual part of a man's professional training, it should give the 
reader — not merely the official departmental "reader" — a real 
sample of its author's intellectual quality. It should certainly not 
be assigned by the sponsoring professor as a subdivision of some 
topic upon which he is professionally engaged ; it should, rather, 
be proposed by the candidate and ratified as suitable and in- 
tellectually profitable by the advisor. Length and documentation 
— or degree of documentation — should be flexible. Every topic 
has its own logic and its own length. Mere industry and en- 
durance are not intellectual virtues; and the fiches — the three- 

The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 295 

by-five cards — should not, even though pasted together, con- 
stitute a book. 

Should the thesis be printed, and if so, when and how? It, or 
some representative part of it, should be published rather soon 
after the awarding of the degree. It does not seem desirable that 
ten or fifteen years should go to a working over of the thesis, 
which may then become the author's sole publication. Appren- 
ticeship should not be prolonged into middle age. If a man has 
no capacity for independent study and writing, he should not be 
spared that self-knowledge. 

The success or failure of the doctoral candidate should depend 
much more evenly than is now the case on both thesis and gen- 
eral examination. The latter (both written and oral, and in time 
nearer to three days than to three hours) should be passed before 
active work on the thesis is begun. The general examination 
should be critical (i.e., exegetical and evaluative) as well as fac- 
tual and historical. At some schools, it may be strategic to set 
separate papers, one historical and the other critical j but such a 
separation would be false were it taken to imply some real dis- 
junction between history — literary history — and criticism. The 
final oral should either be abandoned or limited to a discussion 
of the thesis. As a general examination, it comes too late in the 
student's career. It is usually so badly planned that it tests only 
the knowledge of isolated bits of information. 9 

In some European universities, every candidate for the Ph.D., 
whether in Latin or in Chemistry, has to pass a two-hour oral 
examination in philosophy — the history of European philosophy 
and theory (psychology, logic, epistemology, perhaps). The in- 
tent is thoroughly sound. The learned specialist should also be 
a comprehensive, "educated man." And he should also know 
something concerning the "philosophy" of his own subject, see 
its place, historically and theoretically, in the whole structure of 
human knowledge, thought, and civilization. For literary men, 
this would, of course, mean aesthetics, with its subdivision, 
poetics. Sometimes (e.g., at Berlin under Dessoir and at Prince- 
ton under Bowman) all prospective Ph.D.'s have been required 
to attend a course of philosophical lectures especially addressed 
to them. A course would seem less useful, however, than individ- 
ually guided reading upon which the candidate should be orally 

296 Theory of Literature 

examined by members of the philosophy department. What is 
needed, in any case, is not another ritual gesture toward the 
hypothetic unity of human knowledge but, at our highest level 
of education, some actual discipline for all in the unification of 
knowledge — in logic, epistemology, or semiotics. The shocking 
inability of one scholar to communicate, at any respectable level 
of abstraction, with another scholar ; the inability of a specialist 
to state either to himself, or to a specialist in another discipline, 
the assumptions and sanctions of his researches: these are recog- 
nized symptoms of a culture's disruption. Though the world will 
not be put together again by semiotics or even philosophy, a 
modest degree of intellectual communication between scientists, 
social scientists, and humanists can do much to hold together 
what remains. 

These recommendations for the reform of the English doc- 
torate can be applied with slight modifications to the degree in 
the other modern literatures. Even Latin and Greek may be re- 
vitalized by reducing their stress on antiquarianism and the pur- 
suit of microscopic philological learning. A student of French 
literature (or German or Spanish) would also profit from a 
sharp reduction in the requirements of medieval languages and 
linguistics and a strong stress on literary theory and criticism. He 
should elect as a second subject English literature, needed to 
help him understand and to teach his European literature. It is 
an anomalous situation that many teachers of French, German, 
and Spanish are almost totally ignorant of the literature in their 
own, or at least their students', native tongue. The combination 
of French and English, German and English, Spanish and Eng- 
lish might be trusted to break down the cultural provincialism 
and even the cultural Francophilia, Germanophilia, or Hispano- 
philia of many of our teachers of French, German, and Spanish. 10 

Our proposals for reform may also suggest that there is the 
possibility of a revival, at least in the larger institutions, of 
Comparative Literature, which should become simply a Depart- 
ment of General or International Literature, or simply of Lit- 
erature. The dangers of dilettantism, of mere sentimental ex- 
pansionism, are here acute. Professionals in the established lit- 
eratures have frequently felt that such studies offer an easy 
escape from the rigors of their linguistic, philological, and his- 

The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 297 

torical training. But there is nothing wrong in this if the escape 
from petty antiquarianism be compensated for by a rigorous 
training in literary theory and criticism. Proper safeguards 
against dilettantism can be introduced, among them, high initial 
language requirements. One literature should be the area of con- 
centration j and within it almost as much could be demanded as 
from the student of the one literature. Why should it not be 
possible to combine the study of French and German or English 
and French? In the Romance Language departments, it is pos- 
sible and even necessary to study French and Spanish or French 
and Italian or even all three major Romance literatures. 

Departments of Comparative Literature should be also con- 
cerned to encourage studies in the classical tradition as continued 
in the modern literatures, a topic surely deserving of systematic 
cultivation. The Department of Comparative Literature could 
also easily become the special protector of studies in literary 
theory, studies which are not and cannot be confined to a single 
linguistic medium. A History of Criticism not concerned with, 
at least, Aristotle, the Italians of the Renaissance, and the French 
of the seventeenth century is hardly worthy of the name ; yet it 
can be labeled English only if we extend the English Depart- 
ment to take all literature for its province. The Department of 
Comparative Literature may adopt as a special task the needed 
training of teachers prepared to direct the Great Books, Human- 
ities, and Literature Core courses now given in many American 
institutions and now usually taught by teachers grossly unpre- 
pared for their task. 11 Thus the department may become the 
center for the reform which should, however, be carried out 
primarily within the departments of English and the other 
Modern Languages, the reform which, briefly, demands a Ph.D. 
in literature rather than in English, French, or German Phi- 

It has been objected to such a program as ours that it asks for 
a reform of homo Americanus, that it ignores his preoccupation 
with the job, his ideal of efficiency, his belief in teaching anybody 
and everybody, his inborn positivism. 12 This objection we do not 
grant. While we all hope for a change in man, and in the Amer- 
ican specifically, the scheme proposed is not Utopian nor does it 
contradict fundamental American traditions. It is the older, the 

298 Theory of Literature 

existing, program which is "unrealistic," since it lacks integration 
with contemporary life and literature, and does not prepare for 
the teaching in the college classroom which the literary doctor is 
to undertake. 

We do not ask for reorientation according to some vague and 
tenuous idealism. If we reject some of the preconceptions of 
nineteenth-century scientism — its atomism, its excessive deter- 
minism, its skeptical relativism — we are thereby in agreement 
with well-nigh all of the physical and social sciences, for with 
them today, revolutionary concepts such as patterns, fields, and 
Gestalt have superseded the old concepts of atomism, and with 
them determinism is no longer a generally accepted dogma. A 
turn toward the study of theory and criticism is neither "ideal- 
istic" nor un-American. 

The education of the recent past was conspicuous for its pro- 
vincial reduction of all serious values to the scientific and its 
consequent reduction of the humanities to the status of pseudo- 
sciences or irresponsible eclecticisms. We need not longer main- 
tain this nineteenth-century epistemology or accept the dis- 
missal of the arts as no longer deserving of serious attention. But 
we professors of literature must not hope to persist in our old, 
easy ways, our personal compoundings of pedantry and dil- 
ettantism. Literary study within our universities — our teaching 
and our writing — must become purposively literary. It must turn 
away from the delightful details of "research" and direct itself 
toward the large, unsolved problems of literary history and lit- 
erary theory. It must receive stimulation and direction from 
modern criticism and contemporary literature — from participa- 
tion in literature as a living institution. 



Literature and Literary Study 

1. Advocated in Stephen Potter's The Muse in Chains, London, 1937. 

2. Ferdinand Brunetiere, UEvolution des genres dans Vhistoire de la 
litterature, Paris, 1890; J. A. Symonds, Shakspere's Predecessors in 
the English Drama, London, 1884, and "On the Application of 
Evolutionary Principles to Art and Literature," Essays Speculative 
and Suggestive, London, 1890, Vol. I, pp. 42-84; John Matthew 
Manly, "Literary Forms and the New Theory of the Origin of 
Species," Modem Philology, IV (1907), pp. 577-95. 

3. LA. Richards, Principles of Literary Criticism, London, 1924, pp. 
120, 251. 

4. Wilhelm Dilthey, Einleitung in die G eisteszvissenschaften, Berlin, 

5. Wilhelm Windelband, Geschichte und Naturzvissenschaft, Strass- 
burg, 1894. Reprinted in Praludien, 4th ed., Tubingen, 1907, 
Vol. II, pp. 136-60. 

6. Heinrich Rickert, Die Grenzen der naturzvissenschaftlichen Begrijfs- 
bildung, Tubingen, 1 91 3; also Kulturwissenschaft und Naturzvissen- 
schaft, Tubingen, 1921. 

7. A. D. Xenopol, Les Principes fondamentaux de Vhistoire, Paris, 

1894; second ed., under title La Theorie de Vhistoire, Paris, 1908; 
Benedetto Croce, History: Its Theory and Practice, New York, 1 92 1, 
and History as the Story of Liberty, New York, 1940. 

8. Fuller discussions of these problems in Maurice Mandelbaum, The 
Problem of Historical Knowledge, New York, 1938; Raymond Aron, 
La Philosophie critique de Vhistoire, Paris, 1938. 

9. Louis Cazamian, L 'Evolution psychologique de la litterature en 
Angleterre, Paris, 1920, and the second half of E. Legouis and L. 
Cazamian, Histoire de la litterature anglaise, Paris, 1924 (English 
translation by H. D. Irvine and W. D. Maclnnes, 2 vols., London, 

10. Cf. W. K. Wimsatt, Jr., "The Structure of the 'Concrete Uni- 
versal' in Literature," PMLA, LXII (1947), pp. 262-80 (reprinted 


300 Notes [ff. 7-16 

in Criticism [ed. Schorer, Miles, McKenzie], N. Y., 1948, pp. 393- 
403); Scott Elledge, "The Background and Development in English 
Criticism of the Theories of Generality and Particularity," ibid., pp. 
II. R. G. Collingwood, "Are History and Science Different Kinds of 
Knowledge?" Mind, XXXI (1922), pp. 449-50, and Pitirim 
Sorokin, Social and Cultural Dynamics, Cincinnati, 1937, Vol. I, 
pp. 168-74, etc. 


The Nature of Literature 

1. Edwin Greenlaw, The Province of Literary History, Baltimore, 
1931, p. 174. 

2. Mark van Doren, Liberal Education, New York, 1943. 

3. Thomas C. Pollock, The Nature of Literature, Princeton, 1942. 

4. Most of the work of E. E. Stoll is relevant here. See also L. L. 
Schiicking, Charakterp-oble?ne bei Shakespeare, Leipzig, 191 9 (Eng- 
lish tr., London, 1922) and L. C. Knights, Hozv Many Children 
Had Lady Macbeth? , Cambridge, 1 93 3 (reprinted in Explorations, 
London, 1946, pp. 15-54). Recent treatments of conventionalism 
vs. naturalism in the drama are S. L. Bethell, Shakespeare and the 
Popular Dramatic Tradition, Durham, N. C, 1944, and Eric Bent- 
ley, The Playwright as Thinker, New York, 1946. 

5. For remarks on time in the novel, cf. Edwin Muir, The Structure 
of the Novel, London, 1928. For the treatment of time in other 
genres, cf. T. Zielinski, "Die Behandlung gleichzeitiger Vorgiinge 
im antiken Epos," Philologus, Supplenie?itband, VIII (1899-1901), 
pp. 405-499; Leo Spitzer, "Uber zeitliche Perspektive in der neueren 
franzosischen Lyrik," Die neueren Sprachen, XXXI (1923), pp. 241- 
66 (reprinted, Stilstudien, II, Munich, 1928, pp. 50-83); Oskar 
Walzel, "Zeitform im lyrischen Gedicht," Das Wortkunstzcerk, Leip- 
zig, 1926, pp. 277-96. 

6. Adolf von Hildebrand, Das Problem der For?n in der bilde?iden 
Kimst, third edition, Strassburg, 190 1 (English tr., New York, 
1907). Cf. also Hermann Konnerth, Die Kimsttheorie Conrad 
Fiedlers, Munich, 1909; Alois Riehl, "Bemerkungen zu dem Prob- 
lem der Form in der Dichtkunst," Viertel jahrschrift fur zvissen- 
schaftliche Philosophie, XXI (1897), pp. 283-306, XXII (1898), 
96-114 (an application of the concept of pure visibility to litera- 
ture) ; also Benedetto Croce, "La Teoria dell'arte come pura visi- 
bility, " Nuovi Saggi di Estetica, Bari, 1920, pp. 239-54. 

ff. 16-25] Notes 301 

7. Theodor A. Meyer, Das Stilgesetz der Poesie, Leipzig, 1901. 

8. Cf. the bibliography of this chapter for the books upon which this 
discussion is based. 


The Function of Literature 

1. Horace (Ars Poetica, lines 333-44) gives, in fact, three alternative 
ends for poetry: 

il Aut prodesse volunt out delect are poetae 

Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci, 
Lectorem delectando fariterque monendo . . ." 

The "polar heresies" — the taking of either alternative end by 
itself — are refuted in R. G. Collingwood's Principles of Art, Oxford, 
1938 (the chapters on "Art as Magic" and "Art as Amusement"). 

2. Mortimer Adler, Art and Prudence, New York, 1937, p. 35 and 
-passim; K. Burke, Counter statement, New York, 193 1, p. 151. 

3. G. Boas, Primer for Critics, Baltimore, 1937; T. S. Eliot, Use of 
Poetry, Cambridge, Mass., 1933, pp. 113, 155. 

4. W. T. Stace, The Meaning of Beauty, London, 1929, p. 161. 

5. "Flat" and "round" are terms from Forster's Aspects of the Novel, 
London, 1927, pp. 103 ff. 

"A person may be regarded as a complex of many qualities whose 
absolute intensities and relative proportions determine the person's 
'character' " (E. Woodbridge, The Drama: Its Law and Its Tech- 
nique, 1898, p. 133). 

6. Karen Horney, Self-Analysis, New York, 1942, pp. 38-9; Forster, 
op. cit., p. 74. 

7. Max Eastman, The Literary Mind: Its Place in an Age of Science, 
New York, 1935, esp. p. 155 ff. 

8. Cf. Bernard C. Heyl, New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism, 
New Haven, 1943, pp. 51-87. 

9. Cf. Dorothy Walsh, "The Cognitive Content of Art," Philo- 
sophical Review, LII (1943), pp. 433-51. 

10. Eliot, Selected Essays, New York, 1932, pp. 1 15-7: the particular 
essay is "Shakespeare and the Stoicism of Seneca." "The poet who 
'thinks,' " writes Eliot, "is merely the poet who can express the 
emotional equivalent of thought. . . . All great poetry gives the 
illusion of a view of life. When we enter into the world of Homer, 
of Sophocles, or Virgil, or Dante, or Shakespeare, we incline to 

302 Notes [pp. 25-32 

believe that we are apprehending something that can be expressed 
intellectually; for every precise emotion tends towards intellectual 

11. Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key, Cambridge, Mass., 
1942, "Discursive Forms and Presentational Forms," p. 79 ff. 

12. Op. cit., p. 288. 

13. The fact that librarians lock up and that censors prohibit the sale 
of some books only does not prove that those books alone are propa- 
ganda, even in the popular sense. It proves, rather, that the prohibited 
books are propaganda in behalf of causes disapproved by the ruling 

14. Eliot, "Poetry and Propaganda," in Literary Opinion in America (ed. 
Zabel), New York, 1937, p. 25 ff. 

15. Stace, op. cit., p. 164 ff. 

16. Goethe, Dichtung uni Wahrheit, Bk. XIII. Collingwood {op. cit., 
pp. 1 2 1-4) distinguishes "expressing emotion" (art) from "betray- 
ing emotion," one form of not-art. 

17. Plato, Republic, X, § 606 D; Augustine, Confessions, I, p. 21 ; 
A. Warren, "Literature and Society," Twentieth Century English 
(ed. W. S. Knickerbocker), New York, 1946, pp. 304-14. 

18. Spingarn's History of Literary Criticism in the Renaissance (New 
York, rev. ed., 1 924) surveys our topic under the terms "function" 
and "justification" of poetry. 

19. A. C. Bradley, "Poetry for Poetry's Sake," Oxford Lectures on 
Poetry, Oxford, 1909, pp. 3-34. 


Literary Theory, History, and Criticism 

1. Philip August Boekh, Encyklopadie und Methodologie der philolo- 
gischen Wissenschaften, Leipzig, 1877 (Second ed. 1886). 

2. F. W. Bateson, "Correspondence," Scrutiny, IV (1935), pp. 181-85. 

3. Ernst Troeltsch, Der Historismus und seine Probleme, Tubingen, 
1922; Der Historismus und seine Uberzvindung, Berlin, 1924. 

4. Hardin Craig, Literary Study and the Scholarly Profession, Seattle, 
Wash., 1944, p. 70. Cf. also: "The last generation has rather un- 
expectedly decided that it will discover the meaning and values of old 
authors themselves and has pinned its faith to the idea, for example, 
that Shakespeare's own meaning is the greatest of Shakespearean mean- 
ings." Pp. 126-7. 

5. E.g., in Poets and Playwrights, Minneapolis, 1930, p. 217; and From 
Shakespeare to Joyce, New York, 1944, p. ix. 

ff. 32-39] Notes 303 

6. E.g., in Lily Campbell, Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes: Slaves of Passion, 
Cambridge, 1930; also Oscar J. Campbell, "What is the Matter with 
Hamlet?" Yale Review, XXXII (1942), pp. 309-22. Stoll holds to 
a different variety of historicism which insists on reconstructing stage 
conventions but attacks the reconstruction of psychological theories. 
See "Jacques and the Antiquaries," From Shakespeare to Joyce, pp. 


7. "Imagery and Logic: Ramus and Metaphysical Poetics," Journal of the 
History of Ideas, III (1942), pp. 365-400. 

8. F. A. Pottle, The Idiom of Poetry, Ithaca, N. Y., 1941 (Second ed., 

9. Cf. the exposition by Hoyt Trowbridge, "Aristotle and the New Criti- 
cism," Sewanee Review, LII (1944), pp. 537-55. 

10. The example comes from Harold Cherniss, "The Biographical Fashion 
in Literary Criticism," University of California Publications in Classi- 
cal Philology, XII (1943). PP- 279-93. 

11. R. G. Collingwood, Principles of Art, Oxford, 1 93 8, p. 4. As Allen 
Tate observes, "The scholar who tells us that he understands Dryden 
but makes nothing of Hopkins or Yeats is telling us that he does not 
understand Dryden," in "Miss Emily and the Bibliographer" {Reason 
in Madness, New York, 1941, p. 115). 

12. Norman Foerster, The American Scholar, Chapel Hill, 1929, p. 36. 

13. A few recent discussions of the relations of literary scholarship and 
criticism are listed in the bibliography to this chapter. 

chapter v 
National, Comparative, and General Literature 

1. Cf. Fernand Baldensperger, "Litterature comparee: Le Mot et la 
chose," Revue de litterature comparee, I (1921), pp. 1-29. 

2. F. C. Green, Minuet, London, 1935. 

3. Hans Naumann, Primitive Gemeinschaftskultur, Jena, 1 92 1. 

4. Quite irrelevant to the study of Shakespeare are the world-wide paral- 
lels to the Hamlet story collected in Schick's Corpus Hamleticum, 5 
vols., Berlin, 1912-38. 

5. This is true of the work of Alexander Veselovsky, dating back to the 
1870's; the later work of J. Polivka on Russian fairy-tales ; and the 
writings of Gerhard Gesemann on the Yugoslav Epic (e.g., Studien 
zur siidslavischen Volksepik, Reichenberg, 1926). See the instructive 
account by Margaret Schlauch, "Folklore in the Soviet Union," 
Science and Society, VIII (1944), pp. 205-22. 

304 Notes [pp. 39-42 

6. Cf. P. Bogatyrev and Roman Jakobson, "Die Folklore als eine 
besondere Form des SchafTens," Donum Natalicium Schrijnen, 
Nijmegen, Utrecht, 1929, pp. 900-13. This essay seems to over- 
stress the distinction between folk literature and higher literature. 

7. The bibliography lists some of the chief attempts at defining the 
scope of comparative literature. 

8. Cf. Benedetto Croce's "La Letteratura Comparata" in Problemi di 
Estetica, Bari, 1910, pp. 73-9, originally occasioned by the first 
number of George Woodberry's short-lived Journal of Comparative 
Literature, New York, 1 90 3. 

9. Goethe's Gespr'dche mit Eckermann, January 31, 1827; Kunst und 
Alter turn (1827); Werke, Weimarer Ausgabe, Series I, Vol. XLI 
(Part 2), p. 265 (a review of Duval's Tasso). 

10. Paul Van Tieghem, "La synthese en histoire litteraire: Litterature 
comparee et litterature generale," Revue de synthese historique, XXXI 
(1921), pp. 1-27; Robert Petsch, "Allgemeine Literaturwissenschaft," 
Zeitschrift fur Asthetik, XXVIII (1934), pp. 254-60. The term 
"litterature generale" appears to have been first employed by Nepo- 
mucene Lemercier in his Cours analytique de litterature generale, 
Paris, 1 81 7. 

11. Paul Van Tieghem, Ossian en France, 2 vols., Paris, 1 91 7; La Poesie 
de la nuit et des to??ibeaux en France au XVIIIe silcle, Bruxelles, 
1925; Le Preromantisme, 2 vols., Paris, 1929, 1930; Histoire lit- 
teraire de V Europe et de V Amerique de la Re?iaissance a nos jours, 
Paris, 1 941. 

12. August Wilhelm Schlegel, Uber dramatische Kunst und Literatur, 3 
vols., Heidelberg, 1 809-11; Friedrich Schlegel, Geschichte der alten 
und neuen Literatur, Vienna, 1815; Friedrich Bouterwek, Geschichte 
der Poesie und Beredsamkeit seit de?n Ende des dreizehnten Jahr- 
hunderts, 13 vols., Gottingen, 1801-19; Simonde de Sismondi, De la 
Litterature du viidi de P Europe, 4 vols., Paris, 1 8 1 3 ; Henry Hallam, 
An Introduction to the Literature of the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and 
Seventeenth Centuries, 4 vols., London, 1836-9. 

13. In the same year, 1886, appeared H. M. Posnett's Comparative Lit- 
erature, London, and N. P. Karayev's Literaturnaya evolutsiya na 
zapade {Literary Evolution in the West), St. Petersburg. 

14. Leonardo Olschki, Die romanischen Liter aturen des Mittel alters, Wild- 
park-Potsdam, 1928 (a volume of O. Walzel's Handbuch der Litera- 
turwissenschaft) . 

15. Andreas Heusler, Die altgermanische Dichtung, Wildpark-Potsdam, 
1923 (also in Walzel's Handbuch), is an excellent sketch. 

ff. 42-50] Notes 305 

16. Jan Machal, Slovanske literatury, 3 vols., Prague, 1922-29 (unfin- 
ished), is the most recent attempt to write a history of all Slavic lit- 
eratures. The possibility of a Slavic comparative history of literature 
is discussed in Slavische Rundschau, 1932. 

1 7. E.g., A. O. Lovejoy, "On the Discrimination of Romanticisms" in 
PMLA, XXXIX (1924), pp. 229-53. [Reprinted in Essays in the 
History of Ideas, Baltimore, 1945, pp. 228-53.] Henri Peyre (Le 
Classicisme francaise, New York, 1942) argues strongly for the sharp 
distinction of French classicism from all the other neo-classicisms. 
Erwin Panofsky ("Renaissance and Renascences," Kenyon Review, 
VI (1944), pp. 201-36) favors the traditional view of the Renais- 

18. Josef Nadler, Literaturgeschichte der deutschen St'dmme und Land- 
schajten, Regensburg, 3 vols., 191 2-1 8 (Second edition, 4 vols., 1923- 
28; a fourth, and Nazi, edition under the title, Literaturgeschichte 
des deutschen Volkes, 4 vols., Berlin, 1938-40). Cf. Berliner Ro- 
mantik, Berlin, 192 1, and the theoretical discussion, "Die Wissen- 
schaftslehre der Literaturgeschichte" in Euphorion, XXI (1914), pp. 
1-63. Cf. also H. Gumbel, "Dichtung und Volkstum," in Philosofhie 
der Lit eraturwis sense haft (E. Ermatinger, ed.), Berlin, 1930, pp. 
43-9 — a foggy interpretation. 


The Establishing and Ordering of Evidence 

1. Henry Medwall, Fulgens and Lucrece (ed. Seymour de Ricci), New 
York, 1920 (Critical ed. by F. S. Boas and A. W. Reed, Oxford, 
1926); The Book of Margery Kemfe, 1436 (Modern Version by 
W. Butler-Bowden. London, 1936. The original text is being edited 
by Sanford B. Meech. Vol. I was published by the Early English 
Text Society, London, 1 940); Christopher Smart, Rejoice in the 
Lamb (ed. W. F. Stead), London, 1939. 

2. Leslie Hotson, The Death of Christopher Marlowe, London, 1925, 
Shakespeare versus Shallow, Boston, 1 931; The Private Papers of 
James Boswell from Malahide Castle (ed. Geoffrey Scott and F. A. 
Pottle), 18 vols., Oxford, 1928-34; Claude C. Abbott, A Catalogue 
of Papers Relating to Boswell, Johnson and Sir William Forbes, Ox- 
ford, 1936. 

3. Cf. the sensible advice of J. M. Osborn, "The Search for English 
Literary Documents," English Institute Annual, 1939, New York, 
1940, pp. 31-55. 

306 Notes [pp. 50-53 

4. Most useful for students of English are J. W. Spargo, A Biblio- 
graphical Manual for Students, Chicago, 1939 (Second ed., 1941); 
Arthur G. Kennedy, A Concise Bibliography for Students of English, 
Second ed., Stanford University Press, 1945. 

5. E.g., W. W. Greg, A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to 
the Restoration, Vol. I, London, 1939; F. R. Johnson, A Critical 
Bibliography of the Works of Edmund Spenser Pri?ited before 1770, 
Baltimore, 1933; Hugh Macdonald, John Dry den: A Bibliography of 
Early Editions and Drydeniana, Oxford, 1939; cf. James M. Osborn, 
"Macdonald's Bibliography of Dryden," Modern Philology, XXXIX 
(1942), pp. 313-19; R. H. Griffith, Alexander Pope: A Bibliography, 
2 parts, Austin, Texas, 1922-27. 

6. R. B. McKerrow, An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Stu- 
dents, Oxford, 1927. 

7. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

8. On paleography of English literary documents, see Wolfgang Keller, 
Angelsachsische Paleographie, 2 vols., Berlin, 1 906 {Palaestra, 43, 
a and b). On Elizabethan handwriting, see Muriel St. Clare Byrne, 
"Elizabethan Handwriting for Beginners," Review of English Studies, 
I (1925), pp. 198-209; Hilary Jenkinson, "Elizabethan Handwrit- 
ings," Library, 4th Series, III (1922), pp. 1-34; McKerrow, loc. cit. 
(for Appendix on Elizabethan handwriting) ; Samuel A. Tannen- 
baum, The Handzvriting of the Renaissance, New York, 1 930. Tech- 
nical devices of investigating MSS (microscopes, ultra-violet rays, 
etc.) are described in R. B. Haselden, Scientific Aids for the Study of 
Manuscripts, Oxford, 1935. 

9. Finely worked out pedigrees are to be found in such books as R. K. 
Root's The Textual Tradition of Chaucer's Troilus, Chaucer Society, 
London, 1916. 

10. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

11. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

12. W. S. MacCormick and J. Haseltine, The MSS of the Canterbury 
Tales, Oxford, 1933; J. M. Manly, The Text of the Canterbury 
Tales, 8 vols., Chicago, 1940; R. W. Chambers and J. H. Grattan, 
"The Text of Piers Plowman: Critical Methods," Modem Language 
Review, XI (1916), pp. 257-75, and "The Text of Piers Plow77ian" 
ibid., XXVI (1926), pp. 1-5 1. 

13. For more elaborate distinctions cf. Kantorowicz, quoted in bibliog- 
raphy, Section I. 

14. Cf. Sculley Bradley, "The Problem of a Variorum Edition of Whit- 
man's Leaves of Grass,'''' English Institute Antiual, 1041, New York, 

ft- 53S9] No t e s 307 

1942, pp. 129-58; A. Pope, The Dunciad (ed. James Sutherland), 
London, 1943. 
I 5. Sigurd B. Hustvedt, Ballad Books and Ballad Men, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, 1930. 

16. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

17. Shakespeare's Hand in The Play of Sir Thomas More, Cambridge, 
1923 (contributions by A. W. Pollard, W. W. Greg, Sir E. M. 
Thompson, J. D. Wilson, and R. W. Chambers) ; S. A. Tannenbaum, 
The Booke of Sir Thomas More, New York, 1927. 

18. The Tempest (ed. Sir A. Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson), Cam- 
bridge, 1 92 1, p. xxx. 

19. E. K. Chambers, "The Integrity of The Tempest," Review of Eng- 
lish Studies, I (1925), pp. 129-50; S. A. Tannenbaum, "How Not 
to Edit Shakespeare: A Review," Philological Quarterly, X (1931), 
pp. 97-137; H. T. Price, "Towards a Scientific Method of Textual 
Criticism in the Elizabethan Drama," Journal of English and Ger- 
manic Philology, XXXVI (1937), pp. 151-67 (actually concerned 
with Dover Wilson, Robertson, etc.). 

20. Michael Bernays, Zur Kritik und Geschichte des Goetheschen Textes, 
Munich, 1866, was the beginning of "Goethe-philologie." Cf. also 
R. W. Chapman, "The Textual Criticism of English Classics," The 
Portrait of a Scholar, Oxford, 1922, pp. 65-79. 

21. Cf. bibliography, Section III. 

22. Michael Bernays, "Zur Lehre von den Zitaten und Noten," Schriften 
zur Kritik und Liter atur geschichte, Berlin, 1899, Vol. IV, pp. 253- 
347; Arthur Friedman, "Principles of Historical Annotation in Criti- 
cal Editions of Modern Texts," English Institute Annual, 1941, New 
York, 1942, pp. 115-28. 

23. Edmond Malone, "An Essay on the Chronological Order of Shake- 
speare's Plays," George Steevens' edition of Shakespeare's Plays (Sec- 
ond ed. 1788, Vol. I, pp. 269-346) was the first successful attempt. 
Metrical tables based on the work of Fleay, Furnivall, and Konig in 
T. M. Parrott's Shakespeare: Twenty-three Plays and the Sonnets, 
New York, 1938, p. 94. 

24. James Hurdis, Cursory Remarks upon the Arrangement of the Plays 
of Shakespeare, London, 1792. 

25. Wincenty Lutoslawski, The Origin and Growth of Plato's Logic with 
an Account of Plato's Style and the Chronology of his Writings, Lon- 
don, 1897; for comment cf. John Burnet, Platonism, Berkeley, 1928, 
pp. 9-12. 

26. Giles Dawson, "Authenticity and Attribution of Written Matter," 
English Institute Annual, 1942, New York, 1943, pp. 77-100 ; G. E. 

308 Notes [-pp. 59-61 

Bentley, "Authenticity and Attribution of the Jacobean and Caroline 
Drama," ibid., pp. 101-118; cf. E. H. C. Oliphant, "Problems of 
Authorship in Elizabethan Dramatic Literature," Modem Philology, 
VIII (1911), pp. 4H-59- 

27. August Wilhelm Schlegel, "Anhang, iiber die angeblich Shakespeare'n 
unterschobenen Stiicke," Uber dramatische Kunst und Literatur, 
Heidelberg, 1811, Zweiter Theil, Zweite Abtheilung, pp. 229-42. 

28. J. M. Robertson, The Shakespeare Canon, 4 parts, London, 1922-32; 
An Introduction to the Study of the Shakespeare Canon, London, 
1924; E. K. Chambers, "The Disintegration of Shakespeare," Pro- 
ceedings of the British Academy, XI (1925), pp. 89-108 (reprinted 
in Shakespearean Gleanings, Oxford, 1944, pp. 1-21). 

29. E. N. S. Thompson, "Elizabethan Dramatic Collaboration," Englische 
Studien, XL (1908), pp. 30-46; W. J. Lawrence, "Early Dramatic 
Collaboration," Pre-Restoration Stage Studies, Cambridge, Massa- 
chusetts, 1927; E. H. C. Oliphant, "Collaboration in Elizabethan 
Drama: Mr. W. J. Lawrence's Theory," Philological Quarterly, VIII 
(1929), pp. I-IO. For good examples of discussions on Diderot and 
Pascal cf. Andre Morize, Problems and Methods of Literary History, 
Boston, 1922, pp. 157-93. 

30. E. H. C. Oliphant, The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher: An Attempt 
to Determine Their Respective Shares and the Shares of Others, New 
Haven, 1927; "The Authorship of The Revenger's Tragedy" Studies 
in Philology, XXIII (1926), pp. 157-68. 

31. New Essays by Oliver Goldsmith (ed. R. S. Crane), Chicago, 1927. 

32. G. Udny Yule, The Statistical Study of Literary Vocabulary, Cam- 
bridge, 1944. 

33. J. S. Smart, James Macpherson, London, 1905; G. M. Fraser, "The 
Truth about Macpherson's Ossian," Quarterly Reviezv, CCXLV 
(1925), pp. 331-45; W. W. Skeat (ed.), The Poetical Works of 
Thomas Chatterton with an Essay on the Rowley Poems, 2 vols., 
London, 1871; Thomas Tyrwhitt, Appendix to Poems supposed to 
have been written . . . by Thomas Rowley, Second ed., London, 
1778; and A Vindication of the Appendix to the Poems called 
Rowley's, London, 1782; Edmond Malone, Cursory Observations on 
the Poems attributed to Thomas Rowley, London, 1782; Thomas 
Warton, An Enquiry into the Authenticity of the Poems attributed to 
Thomas Rowley, London, 1782; J. Mair, The Fourth Forger, Lon- 
don, 1938; George Chalmers, An Apology for the Believers in the 
Shakespeare Papers, London, 1797. 

34. Zoltan Haraszti, "The Works of Hroswitha," More Books, XX 
(1945), pp. 87-119, pp. 139-73; Edwin H. Zeydel, "The Authen- 

pp. 6i-*J3\ Notes 309 

ticity of Hroswitha's Works," Modern Language Notes, LXi (1946), 
pp. 50-55; Andre Mazon, Le Slovo d'lgor, Paris, 1940; Henri 
Gregoire, Roman Jakobson, et al. (ed.), La Geste du Prince Igor, 
New York, 1948. 

35. The best account in English is in Paul Selver's Masaryk: A Biog- 
raphy, London, 1940. 

36. John Carter and Graham Pollard, An Enquiry into the Nature of 
Certain Nineteenth Century Pamphlets, London, 1934; Wilfred Part- 
ington, Forging Ahead: The True Story of ... T. J. Wise, New 
York, 1939; Letters of Thomas J. Wise to J. H. Wrenn (ed. Fannie 
E. Ratchford), New York, 1944 (The introduction implicates H. 
Buxton Forman and, unconvincingly, Edmund Gosse.) 


Literature and Biography 

1. S. T. Coleridge, in a letter to Thomas Poole, Feb., 1797, Letters, ed. 
E. H. Coleridge, London, 1895, Vol. I, p. 4. 

2. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

3. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

4. Georg Brandes, William Shakes peare, 2 vols., Copenhagen, 1896 
(English tr., 2 vols., London, 1898); Frank Harris, The Man Shake- 
speare, New York, 1909. 

5. C. J. Sisson, The Mythical Sorrows of Shakespeare, British Academy 
Lecture, 1934; E. E. Stoll, u The Tempest,'''' Shakespeare and other 
Masters, Cambridge, Mass., 1940, pp. 281-316. 

6. John Keats, Letter to Richard Woodhouse, October 27, 181 8, Letters 
(ed. H. B. Forman), 2nd ed., Oxford, 1935, p. 228. Cf. W. J. Bate, 
Negative Capability : The Intuitive Approach in Keats, Cambridge, 
Mass., 1939; T. S. Eliot, "Tradition and Individual Talent," The 
Sacred Wood, London, 1920, pp. 42-53. 

7. Brandes, op. cit., p. 425. H. Kingsmill, Matthew Arnold, London, 
1928, pp. 147-9- 

8. Ramon Fernandez, "L'Autobiographie et le Roman: l'Exemple de 
Stendhal," Messages, Paris, 1926, pp. 78-109; George W. Meyer, 
Wordsworth's Formative Years, Ann Arbor, Mich., 1943. 

9. Wilhelm Dilthey, Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung, Leipzig, 1 907; 
Friedrich Gundolf, Goethe, Berlin, 1916 (a distinction is made be- 
tween Urerlebnis and Bil dungs erlebnis) . 

10. V. Moore, The Life and Eager Death of Emily Bronte, London, 
1936; Edith E. Kinsley, Pattern for Genius, New York, 1939 (a 
biography piecing together quotations from the Brontes' novels with 

310 Notes [pp. 74-78 

real names replacing the fictional) ; Romer Wilson, The Life and Pri- 
vate History of Emily Jane Bronte, New York, 1928 (Wuthering 
Heights is treated as straight autobiography). 
1 1. The example is taken from C. B. Tinker, The Good Estate of Poetry, 
Boston, 1929, p. 30. 


Literature and Psychology 

Cf. Alfred Adler, Study of Organ Inferiority and Its Psychical Com- 
pensation, 1907 (Engl, tr.j 1917); Wayland F. Vaughan, "The Psy- 
chology of Compensation," Psych. Review, XXXIII (1926), pp. 
467-79; Edmund Wilson, The Wound and the Bow, New York, 
194.1; also L. MacNeice, Modern Poetry (London, 1938), p. 76; 
L. Trilling, "Art and Neurosis," Partisan Review, XII (1945), pp. 


S. Freud, "The Relation of the Poet to Day-Dreaming, " Collected 
Papers (London, 1924), IV, pp. 173-83; "Dostoevski and Parricide," 
Partisan Review, XIV (1945), pp. 530-44. On Freud and literary 
theory, cf.: L. Trilling, "The Legacy of Freud: Literary and 
Aesthetic," Kenyon Review, II (1940), pp. 152-73; Herbert J. 
Muller, "Psychoanalysis," Science and Criticism, New Haven, 1943, 
pp. 143-57; Frederick J. Hoffman, Freudianis7n and the Literary 
Mind, Baton Rouge, 1945; Kenneth Burke, "Freud and the 
Analysis of Poetry," Philosophy of Literary Form, Baton Rouge, 
1941, pp. 258-92; S. E. Hyman, "The Psychoanalytical Criticism of 
Literature," Western Review, XII (1947-8), pp. 106-15, and The 
Armed Vision, New York, 1948, pp. 142-67. 

W. H. Auden, Letters from Iceland, London, 1937, p. 193; 
cf. L. MacNeice, Modern Poetry, London, 1938, pp. 25-6; Karen 
Horney, The Neurotic Personality of our Time, New York, 1937; 
Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom, New York, 194 1, and Man 
for Himself, New York, 1947. 

Cf. W. Silz, "Otto Ludwig and the Process of Poetic Creation," 
PMLA, LX (1945), pp. 860-78, which reproduces most of the topics 
in author-psychology studied in recent German research; and Erich 
Jaensch, Eidetic Imagery and Typological Methods of Investigation, 
London, 1930; also "Psychological and Psychophysical Investigations 
of Types . . ." in Feelings and E?notio?is, Worcester, Mass., 1928, 

P- 355 ff- 

On synaesthesia, cf. Ottokar Fischer, "Uber Verbindung von Farbe 

und Klang: Eine literar-psychologische Untersuchung," Zeitschrift 

ff. 78-80] Notes 311 

fiir Asthetik, II (1907), pp. 501-34; Albert Wellek, "Das Doppel- 
empfinden in der Geistesgeschichte," Zeitschrift filr Asthetik, XXIII 
(1929), pp. 14-42; "Renaissance- und Barock-synasthesie," Deutsche 
Vierteljahrschrift filr Literaturwissenschaft, IX (1931), pp. 534-84; 
E. v. Erhardt-Siebold, "Harmony of the Senses in English, German 
and French Romanticism," PMLA, XLVII (1932), pp. 577-92; 
W. Silz, "Heine's Synesthesia," PMLA, LVII (1942), pp. 469-88; 
S. de Ullman, "Romanticism and Synaesthesia," PMLA, LX (1945), 
pp. 811-27; A. G. Engstrom, "In Defense of Synaesthesia in Litera- 
ture," Philological Quarterly, XXV (1946), pp. 1-19. 

6. Cf. Richard Chase, "The Sense of the Present," Kenyon Review, 
VII (1945), p. 218 ft. The quotations from T. S. Eliot's The Use of 
Poetry occur on pp. 118-9, 155, and 148 and n. The essay to which 
Eliot refers, "Le Symbolisme et l'ame primitive," appeared in the 
Revue de litterature compare e, XII (1932), 356-86. Cf. also Emile 
Cailliet's Symbolism et ames -primitives, Paris, 1 936, the "conclusion" 
of which reports a conversation with Eliot. 

7. Carl J. Jung, "On the Relation of Analytical Psychology to Poetic 
Art," Contributions to Analytical Psychology, London, 1928, and 
Psychological Types (tr. H. G. Baynes), London, 1926; and cf. 
J. Jacobi, The Psychology of Jung (tr. Bash), New Haven, 1943. 
British philosophers, psychologists, and aestheticians publicly indebted 
to Jung include John M. Thorburn, Art and the Unconscious, 1925; 
Maud Bodkin, Archetypal Patterns in Poetry: Psychological Studies 
of Imagination, 1934; Herbert Read, "Myth, Dream, and Poem," 
transition, No. 27 (1928), p. 176 ff. ; H. G. Baynes, Mythology of 
the Soul, London, 1940; M. Esther Harding, Women's Mysteries, 
London, 1935. 

8. On character typologies, cf., for a historical account, A. A. Roback, 
The Psychology of Character with a Survey of Temperament, New 
York, 1928; Eduard Spranger, Types of Men-: the Psychology . . . 
of Personality (tr. Pigors), Halle, 1928; Ernst Kretschmer, Physique 
and Character . . . (tr. Sprott), London, 1925; The Psychology of 
Men of Genius (tr. Cattell), London, 193 1. On the "maker" and 
the "possessed," cf. W. H. Auden, "Psychology and Art," The Arts 
Today (ed. G. Grigson), London, 1935, pp. I-2I. 

9. F. W. Nietzsche, Die Geburt der Tragodie, 1872; Th. Ribot, Essai 
sur P imagination creatrice, Paris, 1900 (tr. Baron, London, 1906); 
Liviu Rusu, Essai sur la creation artistique, Paris, 1935. The 
"daemonic" comes from Goethe (first used in Urworte, 1 817) and 
has been a prominent concept in modern German theory; cf. M. 

312 Notes [ff. 80-86 

Schiitze, Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters, Chicago, 1933, 
p. 91 ff. 

10. C. S. Lewis, The Personal Heresy . . . , London, 1939, pp. 22-3; 
W. Dilthey, Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung . . . , Leipzig, 1906; 
cf. Schiitze, of. cit., p. 96 ff. 

11. Norah Chadwick, Poetry and Prophecy, Cambridge, 1942 (on Sha- 
manism); Ribot, Creative Imagination (tr., London, 1906), p. 51. 

12. Elizabeth Schneider, "The 'Dream' of Kubla Khan," PMLA, LX 
(1945), pp. 784-801. Cf. also Jeanette Marks, Genius and Disaster: 
Studies in Drugs and Genius, New York, 1925. 

13. Aelfrida Tillyard, Spiritual Exercises and their Results . . . , London, 
1927; R. van Gelder, Writers and Writing, New York, 1946; Samuel 
Johnson, Lives of the Poets, "Milton." 

14. On Hemingway and the typewriter: R. G. Berkelman, "How to Put 
Words on Paper," Saturday Review of Literature, Dec. 29, 1945. On 
dictation and style: Theodora Bosanquet, Henry James at Work (Ho- 
garth Essays), London, 1924. 

15. Thus German aestheticians chiefly cite Goethe and Otto Ludwig; the 
French, Flaubert (the correspondence) and Valery; American critics, 
Henry James (the prefaces to the New York edition) and Eliot. 

. An excellent specimen of the French view is Valery on Poe (P. 
Valery, "Situation de Baudelaire," Variete II [Paris, 1937], pp. 

16. On signs and symbols, cf. S. K. Langer, Philosophy in a New Key, 
Cambridge, Mass., 1942, pp. 53-78, and Helmut Hatzfeld, "The 
Language of the Poet," Studies in Philology, XLIII (1946), pp. 

17. J. L. Lowes, The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the 
Imagination, Boston, 1927. 

18. W. Dibelius, Charles Dickens, Leipzig, 1926, pp. 347-73. 

19. Albert R. Chandler, Beauty and Human Nature: Ele??ients of Psy- 
chological Aesthetics, New York, 1934, p. 328; A. Thibaudet, Gus- 
tave Flaubert, Paris, 1935, pp. 93-102; Frederick H. Prescott, "The 
Formation of Imaginary Characters," The Poetic Mind, New York, 
1922, p. 187 ff. ; A. H. Nethercot, "Oscar Wilde on his Subdividing 
Himself," PMLA, LX (1945), pp. 616-7. 

20. The Letters of John Keats (ed. H. B. Forman), 2nd ed., New York, 
1935, p. 228. The textual emendation followed is recommended in 
Forman's note. 

21. A. Feuillerat, Comment Proust a co?npose son roman, New Haven, 
1934; cf. also the essays by Karl Shapiro and Rudolf Arnheim in 
Poets at Work (ed. C. D. Abbott), New York, 1948. 

ff. 86-92] Notes 313 

22. Cf. James H. Smith, The Reading of Poetry, Boston, 1939 (edi- 
torially invented variants take the place of auctorially discarded ones). 

23. Lily B. Campbell, Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes: Slaves of Passion, 
Cambridge, 1930; Oscar J. Campbell, "What is the Matter with 
Hamlet?", Yale Review, XXXI I (1942), pp. 309-22; Henri Dela- 
croix, La Psychologie de Stendhal, Paris, 191 8; F. J. Hoffman, 
Freudianism and the Literary Mind, Baton Rouge, 1945, pp. 256-88. 

24. Cf. L. C. T. Forest, "A Caveat for Critics against Invoking Eliza- 
bethan Psychology," PMLA, LXI (1946), pp. 651-72; also Lawrence 
Bowling, Dramatizing the Mind, Iowa doctoral dissertation, 1946. 

25. Cf. the writings of E. E. Stoll, passim, especially From Shakesfeare 
to Joyce, New York, 1944, p. 70 ff. 


Literature and Society 

1. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

2. Cf. Morris R. Cohen's excellent discussion, "American Literary 
Criticism and Economic Forces," Journal of the History of Ideas, I 
(1940), pp. 369-74- 

3. On De Bonald, cf. Horatio Smith, "Relativism in Bonald's Literary 
Doctrine," Modern Philology, XXXII (1934), pp. 193-2 10 ; B. 
Croce, "La Letteratura come 'espressione della societa,' " Problemi di 
Estetica, Bari, 1910, pp. 56-60. 

4. Cf., e.g., Havelock Ellis, A Study of British Genius, London, 1904 
(revised ed., Boston, 1926); Edwin L. Clarke, American Men of 
Letters: Their Nature and Nurture, New York, 191 6 ("Columbia 
Studies in History, Economics, and Public Law," Vol. 72) ; A. Odin, 
Genese des grands hommes, 2 vols., Paris, 1895. 

5. Sakulin, N. P., Die russische Literatur, Wildpark-Potsdam, 1927 (in 
Oskar Walzel's Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft). 

6. E.g., D. Blagoy, Sotsiologiya tvorchestva Pushkina (The Sociology of 
Pushkin's Creation), Moscow, 193 1. 

7. Herbert Schoeffler, Protestantismus und Literatur, Leipzig, 1922. 
Questions of social provenience are obviously closely related to ques- 
tions of early impressions, of the early physical and social milieu of 
a writer. As Schoeffler has pointed out, the sons of country clergymen 
did much to create the British pre-Romantic literature and taste of the 
eighteenth century. Having lived in the country, almost literally in 
the churchyard, they may well have been predisposed to a taste for 
landscape and graveyard poetry, for ruminations on death and im- 

3*4 Notes [ff. 92-gj 

8. L. C. Knights, Drama and Society in the Age of Jonson, London, 


9. Lily Campbell, Shakespeare's Histories: Mirrors of Elizabethan Policy, 
San Marino, 1947; Sir Charles Firth, "The Political Significance of 
Swift's Gulliver 's Travels" Essays: Historical and Literary, Oxford, 
1938, pp. 210-241. 

10. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

1 1 . Prosper de Barante, De la litterature francaise fendant le dix-huitieme 
siecle, Paris, 3rd ed., 1822, p. v. The preface is not to be found in 
the first edition, of 1809. Barante's theory is brilliantly applied by 
Harry Levin in "Literature as an Institution," Accent, VI (1946), 
pp. 159-68. Reprinted in Criticism (ed. Schorer, Miles, McKenzie), 
New York, 1948, pp. 546-53. 

12. Ashley H. Thorndike, Literature in a Changing Age, New York, 
1921, p. 36. 

13. Q. D. Leavis, Fiction and the Reading Public, London, 1932. 

14. Some work on these questions: Alfred A. Harbage, Shakes feare' s Au- 
dience, New York, 1941; R. J. Allen, The Clubs of Augustan 
London, Cambridge, Mass., 1933; Chauncey B. Tinker, The Salon 
and English Letters, New York, 191 5; Albert Parry, Garrets and 
Pretenders: a History of Bohemianism in America, New York, 1933. 
There is a whole series of studies on periodicals, e.g.: Walter Graham, 
English Literary Periodicals, New York, 1931; Edmund Blunden, 
Leigh Hunt's Exajniner Examined, London, 19285 William Beach 
Thomas, The Story of the Spectator, New York, 1928; George L. 
Nesbitt, Benthamite Reviezving: Twelve Years of the Westminster 
Review, 1824-36, New York, 1934; Miriam M. H. Thrall, Rebel- 
lious Eraser's, New York, 1934; Edwin M. Everett, The Party of 
Humanity: The Fortnightly Review and its Contributors, 1865-74, 
Chapel Hill, 1939; Leslie A. Marchand, The Athenaeum, Chapel 
Hill, 1 941; Francis E. Mineka, The Dissidence of Dissent: The 
Monthly Repository, 1806-1838, Chapel Hill, 1944; Frank L. Mott, 
A History of American Magazines, 3 vols., Cambridge, Mass., 1930- 
38; Frederick J. Hoffman, C. Allen and C. F. Ulrich, The Little 
Magazine: A History aitd a Bibliography, Princeton, 1946. 

15. Cf. Grace Overmyer, Government and the Arts, New York, 1939. 
On Russia, cf. the writings of Freeman, Max Eastman, W. Frank, etc. 

16. Georgi V. Plekhanov, Art and Society, New York, 1936, pp. 43, 63, 
etc. A translation of "Isskusstvo i obschestvennaya zhizn," Sozre- 
mennik II (1912), Part XI, pp. 291-314, Part XII, pp. 108-23, and 
III (191 3), Part I, pp. 130-61. Chiefly ideological discussions are: 
A. Cassagne, La Theorie de Part four Part en France, Paris, 1906; 

ff. 97-102] Notes 315 

Rose F. Egan, The Genesis of the Theory of Art for Art's Sake in 
Germany and England, 2 parts, Northampton, 1 92 1-4; Louise Rosen- 
blatt, Uidee de fart 'pour Part dans la litter ature anglaise, Paris, 1 931. 

1 7. L. L. Schucking, Die Soziologie der literarischen Geschmacksbildung, 
Munich., 1923 (second ed., Leipzig, 193 1 . English tr. The Sociology 
of Literary Taste, London, 1 941); cf. Schucking, Die Familie im 
Puritanismus, Leipzig, 1929. 

18. Cf. T. A. Jackson, Charles Dickens, The Progress of a Radical, Lon- 
don, 1937. 

19. Cf. Mrs. Leavis, quoted in note 13; Link, K. C, and Hopf, H., 
People and Books, New York, 1946; F. Baldensperger, La Litter ature: 
creation, succes, duree, Paris, 191 3; P. Stapfer, Des Reputations 
litteraires, Paris, 1893; Gaston Rageot, Le Succes: Auteurs et public. 
Essai de critique sociologique, Paris, 1906; Emile Hennequin, La 
critique scientifique, Paris, 1882. The social effects of another art, the 
moving pictures, are judiciously studied by Mortimer Adler in Art 
and Prudence, New York, 1937. A brilliant dialectical scheme of 
"aesthetic function, norm and value as social facts" is to be found in 
Jan Mukarovsky, Estetickd funkce, norma a hodnota jako socidlni fakt, 
Prague, 1936. 

20. Thomas Warton, History of English Poetry, London, 1774, Vol. I, 
p. I. 

21. E. Kohn-Bramstedt, Aristocracy and the Middle Classes in Germany, 
London, 1937, p. 4. 

22. Cf. Andre Monglond, Le Heros preromantique, Le Preromantisme 
frangais, Vol. I, Grenoble, 1930; R. P. Utter and G. B. Needham, 
Pamela's Daughters, New York, 1937. Also the writings of E. E. Stoll, 
e.g., "Heroes and Villains: Shakespeare, Middleton, Byron, Dickens," 
in From Shakespeare to Joyce, Garden City, 1944, pp. 307-27. 

23. Charles Lamb, "On the Artificial Comedy," Essays of Elia, 182 1; 
T. B. Macaulay, "The Dramatic Works of Wycherley, Congreve, Van- 
brugh, and Farquhar," Edinburgh Review, LXII (1841); J. Palmer, 
The Comedy of Manners, London, 1 91 3; K. M. Lynch, The Social 
Mode of Restoration Comedy, New York, 1926. 

24. E. E. Stoll, "Literature and Life," Shakespeare Studies, New York, 
1927, and several papers in Prom Shakespeare to Joyce, Garden City, 

25. John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Money, New York, 1930, Vol. 
II, p. 154. 

26. Lunacharsky, quoted by L. C. Knights, loc. cit., p. 10, from The 
Listener, December 27, 1934. 

316 Notes [pp. 103-104 

27. Karl Marx, Critique of Political Economy (tr. N. I. Stone), Chi- 
cago, 1904, p. 310. This passage appears to give up the Marxist posi- 
tion altogether. There are other cautious statements, e.g., Engels' 
letter to Starkenburg, January 25, 1894. "Political, legal, philo- 
sophical, religious, literary, artistic, etc., development is grounded 
upon economic development. But all of them react, conjointly and 
separately, one upon another, and upon the economic foundation." 
(Marx-Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, p. 391.) In a letter to Joseph 
Bloch, September 21, 1 890, Engels admits that he and Marx had over- 
emphasized the economic factor and understated the role of reciprocal 
interaction; and, in a letter to Mehring, July 14, 1893, he says that 
they had "neglected" the formal side — the way in which ideas de- 
velop. (Cf. Marx-Engels, Selected Works, Vol. I, pp. 383, 390.) 

28. From Die Deutsche Ideologic, in Karl Marx and F. Engels, Historisch- 
kritische Gesamtausgabe (ed. V. Adoratskij), Berlin, 1932, Vol. V, 

PP- 21, 373- 

29. A. A. Smirnov, Shakes feare: A Marxist Interpretation, New York, 

1936, p. 93- 

30. Max Scheler, "Probleme einer Soziologie des Wissens," Versuch zu 
einer Soziologie des Wissens (ed. Max Scheler), Munich and Leipzig, 
1924, Vol. I, pp. 1-146, and "Probleme einer Soziologie des Wissens," 
Die Wissens formen und die Gesellschaft, Leipzig, 1926, pp. 1-226; 
Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utofia (tr. L. Wirth and Z. Shils), 
London, 1936. Some discussions are: H. Otto Dahlke, "The Sociology 
of Knowledge," in H. E. Barnes, Howard Becker and F. B. Becker, 
Contemporary Social Theory, New York, 1940, pp. 64-99; Robert K. 
Merton, "The Sociology of Knowledge," Twentieth Cefitury So- 
ciology (ed. Georges Gurvitch and Wilbert E. Moore), New York, 
1945, pp. 366-405; Gerard L. De Gre, Society and Ideology: an In- 
quiry into the Sociology of Knowledge, New York, 1943; Ernst 
Gruenwald, Das Problem der Soziologie des Wissens, Vienna, 1934. 
Thelma Z. Lavine, "Naturalism and the Sociological Analysis of 
Knowledge," Naturalism and the Human Spirit (ed. Yervant H. 
Krikorian), New York, 1944, pp. 183-209, tries to obviate criticism 
of the method by distinguishing between the validity of a proposition 
and the validation process of which only the last is the object of 
sociological interest. A rather timid application to literature is pro- 
posed in Alexander C. Kern, "The Sociology of Knowledge in the 
Study of Literature," Sewanee Reznew, L (1942), pp. 505-14. 

31. Max Weber, Gesammelte Aufsatze zur Religionssoziologie, 3 vols., 
Tubingen, 1920-21 (partially translated as The Protestant Ethics and 
the Spirit of Capitalism, London, 1930); R. H. Tawney, Religion 

pp. 104-108] Notes 317 

and the Rise of Capitalism, London, 1926 (new ed. with Preface, 
1937); Joachim Wach, The Sociology of Religion, Chicago, 1944. 

32. Cf. the criticism of Pitirim A. Sorokin, Contemporary Sociological 
Theories, New York, 1928, p. 710. 

33. P. A. Sorokin, Fluctuations of Forms of Art, Social and. Cultural 
Dynamics, Vol. I, New York, 1937, especially Chapter I. 

34. Edwin Berry Burgum, "Literary Form: Social Forces and Innova- 
tions," Sewanee Review, XLIX (1941), pp. 325-338 (reprinted in 
The Novel and the World's Dilemma, New York, 1947). 

35. Fritz Briiggemann, "Der Kampf urn die biirgerliche Welt- und Leb- 
ensauffassung in der deutschen Literatur des 18. Jahrhunderts," 
Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift fur Literaturzvis sense haft und Geistes- 
geschichte, III (1925), pp. 94-127. 

36. Erich Auerbach, Mimesis: Dargestellte Wirklichkeit in der abend- 
landischen Literatur, Bern, 1946, passim, esp. pp. 76, 94, 494-5. 

37. Karl Biicher, Arbeit und Rhythmus, Leipzig, 1896; J. E. Harrison, 
Ancient Art and Ritual, New York, 191 3 ; Themis, Cambridge, 191 2; 
George Thomson, Aeschylus and Athens, A Study in the Social Origins 
of the Drama, London, 1941, and Marxism and Poetry, London, 1945 
(a small pamphlet of great interest, with application to Irish mate- 
rials) ; Christopher Caudwell, Illusion and Reality, London, 1937; 
Kenneth Burke, Attitudes toward History, New York, 1937; Marett, 
Robert R. (ed.), Anthropology and the Classics, Oxford, 1908. 

chapter x 
Literature and Ideas 

1. Hermann Ulrici, Uber Shakespeares dramatische Kunst, 1839. 

2. George Boas, Philosophy and Poetry, Wheaton College, Mass., 1932, 

P- 9- 

3. T. S. Eliot, Selected Essays, New York, 1932, pp. 11 5-6. 

4. E.g., "God's in his Heaven; all's right with the world" is an asser- 
tion that God has necessarily created the best of all possible worlds. 
"On earth the broken arch; in heaven, a perfect round" is the argu- 
ment from the limited to the infinite, from the awareness of incom- 
pletion to the possibility of completion, etc. 

5. The main theoretical pronouncements are the introduction by A. O. 
Lovejoy to The Great Chain of Being, Cambridge, Mass., 1936, pp. 
3-23, and "The Historiography of Ideas," Proceedings of the Ameri- 
can Philosophical Society, LXXVII (1937-8), pp. 529-43. Reprinted 
in Essays in the History of Ideas, Baltimore, 1948, pp. 1-1 3. Cf. also 
Marjorie Nicolson, "The History of Literature and the History of 

3 1 8 Notes [pp. iog-113 

Thought," English Institute Annual, 1939 (New York, 1940), pp. 
56-89, and A. O. Lovejoy, "Reflections on the History of Ideas," 
Journal of the History of Ideas, I (1940), pp. 1-23. 

6. Cf. bibliography. 

7. Leo Spitzer, "Milieu and Ambiance: An Essay in Historical Seman- 
tics," Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, III (1942), pp. 
1-42, pp. 169-218. Reprinted in Essays in Historical Semantics, New 
York, 1948, pp. 179-316; "Classical and Christian Ideas of World 
Harmony: Prolegomena to an Interpretation of the Word 'Stim- 
mung,' " Traditio: Studies in Ancient and Medieval History, Thought 
and Religion, II (1944), pp. 409-464, and III (1945), pp. 307-364. 

8. fitienne Henri Gilson, Les ldees et les Lettres, Paris, 1932. 

9. Paul Hazard, La Crise de la conscience europeenne, 3 vols., Paris, 
1934; La Pensee europeenne au XVIII e siecle de Montesquieu a 
Lessing, 3 vols., Paris, 1946. 

10. M. O. Gershenzon, Mudrost Pushkina (Pushkin's Wisdom), Moscow, 

11. For "metaphysical" studies of Dostoevsky, cf. Nikolay Berdayev, 
Mirosozertsanie Dostoevskogo (Dostoevsky's World-view), Prague, 
1923 (English translation from French, New York, 1934); Vyache- 
slav Ivanov, "Dostoevski i roman-tragediya," Borozdy i mezhi, Mos- 
cow, 1 916 (German tr. as Dostojewski und die Romantragodie, Leip- 
zig, 1922) ; D. Merezhkovsky, Tolstoi i Dostoevski, 2 vols., St. Peters- 
burg, 191 2 (incomplete English translation as Tolstoi as Man and 
Artist, with an Essay on Dostoevski, New York, 1902); V. Rozanov, 
Legenda o Velikom inkvizitore, Berlin, 1924; Leo Shestov, Dosto- 
jewski und Nietzsche, Philosophie der Tragodie (German tr., Berlin, 
1 931), and On Job's Balances, London, 1932; A. L. Volynsky, 
Tsarstvo Karamazovych, St. Petersburg, 1901, and Dostoevsky, St. 
Petersburg, 1 907. 

12. Hermann Glockner, "Philosophie und Dichtung: Typen ihrer Wech- 
selwirkung von den Griechen bis auf Hegel," Zeitschrift fiir As- 
thetik, XV (1920-21), pp. 187-204. 

13. Cf. Rene Wellek, "Literary Criticism and Philosophy: A Note on 
Revaluation" Scrutiny, V (1937), pp. 375-383, and F. R. Leavis, 
"Literary Criticism and Philosophy: A Reply." Ibid., VI (1937), pp. 

14. Rudolf Unger, Philosophische Probleme in der ?ieueren Literaturwis- 
senschaft, Munich, 1908; Weltanschauung und Dichtung, Zurich, 
191 j; Literaturgeschichte als Problemgeschichte, Berlin, 1924; "Lit- 
eraturgeschichte und Geistesgeschichte," Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift 

ff. 1 1 3-1 1 6] Notes 319 

fiir Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, IV (1925), pp. 177- 
92. All the foregoing papers are collected in Aufs'dtze zur Prinzipien- 
lehre der Literaturgeschichte, 2 vols., Berlin, 1929. 

15. Rudolf Unger, Herder, Novalis, Kleist: Studien ilber die Entwicklung 
des T odes-problem, Frankfurt, 1922; Walter Rehm, Der Todesgedanke 
in der deutschen Dichtung, Halle, 1928; Paul Kluckhohn, Die Auf- 
fassung der Liebe in der Literatur des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts und 
in der Romantik, Halle, 1922. 

16. Mario Praz, La Came, la morte e il diavolo nella letteratura ro- 
mantica, Milano, 1 930 (English tr. by Angus Davidson, The Romantic 
Agony, London, 1933). 

17. C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford, 1936; Theodore Spencer, 
Death and Elizabethan Tragedy, Cambridge, Mass., 1936. 

18. Hoxie Neale Fairchild, Religious Trends in English Poetry, 2 vols., 
New York, 1939-42. 

19. Andre Monglond, Le Preromantisme frangais, 2 vols., Grenoble, 
1 930; Pierre Trahard, Les Maitres de la sensibilite francaise au 
XVIIP siecle, 4 vols., Paris, 193 1-3. 

20. Cf. an excellent survey of research on The Use of Color in Literature 
by Sigmund Skard, in Proceedings of the American Philosophical So- 
ciety XC (No. 3, July, 1946), pp. 163-249. The bibliography of 
1 1 83 items lists also the vast literature on landscape feeling. 

21. Balzac, Cousine Bette (tr. James Waring, London, 1897), p. 106. 

22. Gellert, Letter to Count Hans Moritz von Briihl, April 3, 1755 (in 
Speck Collection, Yale University Library). 

23. Dr. Johnson, Prayers and Meditations, Letters to Miss Boothby, etc. 

24. Cf. Dilthey's first version of his theory of types in "Die drei 
Grundformen der Systeme in der ersten Halfte des 19. Jahrhun- 
derts," Archiv fur Geschichte der Philosophic, XI (1898), p. 557 ff. 
Later versions may be found in "Das Wesen der Philosophic" in Paul 
Hinneberg's Die Kultur der Gegenzuart (Teil I, Abteilung VI, c Sys- 
tematische Philosophic,' Berlin, 1907, pp. 1-72), and "Die Typen 
der Weltanschaung und ihre Ausbildung in den philosophischen Sys- 
temen," W eltanschauung, Philosophic, Religion (ed. Max Frischeisen- 
Kohler, Berlin, 191 1), pp. 3-54. 

25. Hermann Nohl, Die Wei tans chauun gen der Malerie, Jena, 1908; 
Typische Kunststile in Dichtung und Musik, Jena, 191 5. 

26. Unger in "Weltanschauung und Dichtung," Aufs'dtze . . . , op. cit., 
p. 77 ff. 

27. O. Walzel, Gehalt und Gestalt im dichterischen Kunstwerk (Berlin- 
Babelsberg, 1923), p. 77 ff. 

320 Notes [fif. uy-125 

28. H. W. Eppelsheimer, "Das Renaissanceproblem," Deutsche Vier- 
teljahrschrift fur Literaturzvissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, II 

(i933) 3 P- 497- 

29. H. A. Korff, Geist der Goethezeit: Versuch einer ideellen Entzvick- 

lung der klassisch-romantischen Literaturgeschichte, 3 vols., Leipzig, 
1923-40; Herbert Cysarz, Erfahrung und Idee, Vienna, 1921; 
Deutsche Barockdichtung, Leipzig, 1924, Literaturgeschichte als 
Geisteszvissenschaft, Halle, 1926, Von Schiller bis Nietzsche, Halle, 
1928; Schiller, Halle, 1934; Max Deutschbein, Das Wesen des 
Romantischen, Cothen, 1921; Georg Stefansky, Das Wesen der 
deutschen Romantik, Stuttgart, 1923; Paul Meissner, Die geistes- 
zvissenschaftlichen Grundlagen des englischen Literaturbarocks, Berlin, 


30. Ernst Cassirer, Treiheit und For?n, Berlin, 1922; Idee und Gestalt, 
Berlin, 192 1. Cf. Cysarz, of. cit. 

31. B. Croce, La poesia di Dante, Bari, 1920. 

32. B. Croce, Goethe, Bari, 1919. English translation, London, 1923, pp. 


Literature and the Other Arts 

1. Emile Legouis, Edmund Spenser, Paris, 1923; Elizabeth W. Man- 
waring, Italian Landscape in Eighteenth Century England, New 
York, 1925; Sir Sidney Colvin, John Keats, London, 191 7. 

2. Stephen A. Larrabee, English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Rela- 
tions hi-p betzveen Sculpture and Poetry especially in the Romantic 
Period, New York, 1943. 

3. Albert Thibaudet, La Poesie de Stephane Mallarme, Paris, 1926. 

4. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

5. Cf. Bruce Pattison, "Literature and Music," in V. De Sola Pinto, 
The English Renaissance, London, 1938, pp. 120-42; Germaine Bon- 
toux, La Chanson en Angleterre au temps d* Elizabeth, Paris, 1938; 
Miles M. Kastendieck, England's Musical Poet: Thomas Campion, 
New York, 1938. 

6. Erwin Panofsky, Studies in Iconology, New York, 1939. Cf. also the 
publication of the Warburg Institute, the work of Fritz Saxl, Edgar 
Wind, and others. There is much work on the pictorial representation 
(on vases) of Homer and the Greek tragedies, e.g., Carl Robert, Bild 
und Lied, Berlin, 1881 ; Louis Sechan, Etudes sur la tragedie grecque 
dans ses rapports avec la ceramique, Paris, 1926. 

7. Larrabee, loc. cit., p. 87. A fuller discussion by R. Wellek in a re- 
view, Philological Quarterly, XXIII (1944), pp. 382-3. 

pp. 125-132] Notes 321 

8. W. G. Howard, "Ut Pictura Poesis," Publications of the Modem Lan- 
guage Association, XXIV (1909), pp. 40-123 ; Cicely Davies, "Ut Pic- 
tura Poesis," Modern Language Review, XXX (1935), pp. 159-69; 
Rensselaer W. Lee, "Ut Pictura Poesis: The Humanistic Theory of 
Painting," Art Bulletin, XXII (1940), pp. 197-269. 

9. Mrs. Una Ellis-Fermor gives such an elaborate "musical analysis" of 
Jonson's Vol f one in her Jacobean Drama, London, 1936; and George 
R. Kernodle tried to find "The Symphonic Form of King Lear''' in 
Elizabethan Studies and Other Essays in Honor of George G. Rey- 
nolds, Boulder, Colorado, 1945, pp. 185-91. 

10. See Erwin Panofsky, "The Neoplatonic Movement and Michel- 
angelo," Studies in Iconology, New York, 1939, p. 171 ff. 

11. Charles de Tolnay, Pierre Bruegel I'Ancien, 2 vols., Bruxelles, 1935; 
cf. also Die Zeichnungen Peter Breugels, Munich, 1925; Carl Neu- 
mann's criticism in Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift, IV (1926), p. 308 ff. 

12. Cf. preceding chapter, "Literature and Ideas." 

13. Benedetto Croce, Aesthetic (tr. D. Ainslie), London, 1929, pp. 62, 
1 10, 188, et -passim. 

14. John Dewey, Art as Experience, New York, 1934, pp. 212. 

15. T. M. Greene, The Arts and the Art of Criticism, Princeton, 1 940, 
p. 213 ff., especially pp. 221-26; John Dewey, op. cit., pp. 175 ff., 
218 ff. Arguments against the use of rhythm in the plastic arts are to 
be found in Ernst Neumann, XJntersuchungen zur Psychologie und 
Aesthetik des Rhythmus, Leipzig, 1894; and in Fritz Medicus, "Das 
Problem einer vergleichenden Geschichte der Kiinste," in Philosophie 
der Literaturzvissenschaft (ed. E. Ermatinger), Berlin, 1930, p. 1 95 ff. 

16. George David Birkhoff, Aesthetic Measure, Cambridge, Mass., 1933. 

17. E.g., in John Hughes's Preface to his edition of the Faerie Queene 
(171 5) and in Richard Hurd's Letters on Chivalry and Romance 

18. Oswald Spengler, Der Untergang des Abendlandes, Munich, 1923, 
Vol. I, pp. 151, 297, 299, 322, 339. 

19. Cf. R. Wellek's article cited in Bibliography, section I, and his "The 
Concept of Baroque in Literary Scholarship," Journal of Aesthetics 
and Art Criticism, V (1946), pp. 77-108. There are many concrete 
examples and further references. 

20. H. Wolfflin, Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe, Munich, 191 5 (Eng- 
lish tr. by M. D. Hottinger, New York, 1932). 

21. Cf. Hanna Levy, Henri Wolfflin, Sa theorie. Ses predecesseurs, Rott- 
weil, 1936 (a Paris these). 

22. H. Wolfflin, "Kunstgeschichtliche Grundbegriffe: Eine Revision," 
Logos, XXII (1933), pp. 210-24 (reprinted in Gedanken zur Kunst- 
geschichte, Basel, 1941), pp. 18-24. 

322 Notes [pp. 132-140 

23. O. Walzel, "Shakespeares dramatische Baukunst," Jahrbuch der 
Shakespearegesellschaft, LII (1916), pp. 3-35 (reprinted in Das 
Wort kunstzverk, Mittel seiner Erforschung, Leipzig, 1926, pp. 

24. Ibid. (Berlin, 1917), esp. Gehalt und Gestalt im Kunstzverk des 
Dichters, Wildpark-Potsdam, 1923, pp. 265 ff. and 282 ff. 

25. Fritz Strich, Deutsche Klassik und Romantik, oder Vollendung und 
Unendlichkeit, Munich, 1922. Cf. also the criticism in Martin 
Schiitze, Academic Illusions, Chicago, 1933, pp. 13, 16. 

26. Cf. Christopher Hussey, The Picturesque: Studies in a Point of View, 
London, 1927, p. 5. 

27. Jakob Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, Vienna, 
pp. 202-3. 

28. There is a good discussion of these theories in Pitirim Sorokin's Social 
and Cultural Dynamics, Vol. I, Cincinnati, 1937. Cf. also W, Pas- 
sarge, Die Philosophic der Kunstgeschichte in der Gegenwart, Berlin, 

29. E. Legouis and L. Cazamian, Histoire de la litterature anglaise, Paris, 
1924, p. 279. 


The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 

1. Sir Sidney Lee, The Place of English Literature in the Modern Uni- 
versity, London, 191 3 (reprinted in Elizabethan and Other Essays, 
London, 1929, p. 7). 

2. Cf. bibliography, Section III. 

3. E.g., Oskar Walzel, Wechselseitige Erhellung der Kilnste, Berlin, 
191 7; Gehalt und Gestalt im Kunstzverk des Dichters, Potsdam, 1 923 ; 
Das Wort kunstzverk, Leipzig, 1926. 

4. For studies of the Russian movement cf. Manfred Kridl in American 
Bookman (1944), pp. 19-30; Nina Gourfmkel in Le Monde Slave, 
VI (1929), pp. 234-63; and V. Zhirmunsky, in Zeitschrift fur 
si avis c he Philologie, I (1925), pp. 117-52. 

5. Cf. esp. William Empson, Seven Types of Ambiguity, London, 1930; 
F. R. Leavis, Nezv Bearings in English Poetry, London, 1932; Geof- 
frey Tillotson, On the Poetry of Pope, 1938. 

6. Cf. bibliography, Section IV. 

7. L. C. Knights, Hozv many Children had Lady Macbeth?, London, 
1933, pp. 15-54 (reprinted in Explorations, London, 1946, pp. I 5- 
54), states the case against the confusion of drama and life well. The 
writings of E. E. Stoll, L. L. Schikking, and others have particularly 
emphasized the role of convention and the distance from life in drama. 

fp. 140-157] Notes 323 

8. The writings of Joseph Warren Beach and Percy Lubbock's The 
Craft of Fiction, London, 1 921, are outstanding. In Russia, Viktor 
Shklovsky's O Teoriyi frozy {The Theory of Prose), 1925, and many 
writings by V. V. Vinogradov and B. M. Eikhenbaum apply the For- 
malist approach to the novel. 

9. Jan Mukafovsky, Introduction to Machuv Maj {Macho's May), 
Prague, 1928, pp. iv-vi. 

10. Cf. "The actual story of a novel eludes the epitomist as completely 
as character . . . only as precipitates from the memory are plot or 
character tangible; yet only in solution have either any emotive va- 
lency." (C. H. Rickword, "A Note on Fiction," Toward Standards 
of Criticism [ed. F. R. Leavis], London, 1935, p. 33.) 

11. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

12. Ernest Fenollosa, The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for 
Poetry, New York, 1936; Margaret Church, "The First English Pat- 
tern Poems," PMLA, LXI (1946), pp. 636-50. 

13. Cf. Alfred Einstein, "Augenmusik im Madrigal," Zeitschrift der in- 
ternationalen Musikgesellschaft, XIV (191 2), pp. 8-21. 

14. I. A. Richards, Princifles of Literary Criticism, London, 1924, pp. 
125, 248. Cf. Practical Criticism, London, 1929, p. 349. 

15. Richards, Princifles, pp. 225-27. 

16. Cf. bibliography, Section V. 

17. Examples from Walzel's article listed in bibliography, Section V. 

18. As Spingarn says, "The poet's aim must be judged at the moment of 
creative art, that is to say, by the art of the poem itself." ("The New 
Criticism," Criticism and America, New York, 1924, pp. 24-5.) 

19. E. M. Tillyard and C. S. Lewis, The Personal Heresy: A Controversy, 
London, 1934; Tillyard's Milton, London, 1930, p. 237. 

20. In his Biografhie de Vceuvre litteraire, Paris, 1925, Pierre Audiat has 
argued that the work of art "represents a period in the life of the 
writer," and has consequently become involved in just such impossible 
and quite unnecessary dilemmas. 

21. Jan Mukafovsky, "L'art comme fait semiologique" (a paper read be- 
fore the International Congress of Philosophy, Prague, September, 

2 2. Roman Ingarden, Das literarische Kunstzverk, Halle, 1 931. 

23. Esp. in De Saussure's Cours de Linguistique Generale, Paris, 1916. 

24. Cf. E. Husserl's Meditations Cartesiennes, Paris, 193 1, pp. 38-9. 

25. Cf. note 7. 

26. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

27. Cf. Louis Teeter, "Scholarship and the Art of Criticism," ELH, V 
(1938), pp. 173-93- 

324 Notes [pp. 15J-164 

28. Cf. Ernst Troeltsch's "Historiography," in Hastings 5 Encyclopaedia of 

Religion and Ethics, Edinburgh, 191 3, Vol. VI, p. 722. 
29- This term is used, though differently, by Ortega y Gasset. 


Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 

1. Birkhoff, Aesthetic Measure, Cambridge, Mass., 1933. 

2. Cf. the experimental work of Carl Stumpf, Die Sprachlaute, Berlin, 
1926, esp. p. 38 ff. 

3. W. J. Bate, The Stylistic Development of John Keats, New York, 

4. Osip Brik, "Zvukovie povtory" (Sound-figures), in Poetika, St. Peters- 
burg, 191 9. 

5. For a fuller discussion cf. the chapter "Literature and the Other Arts." 

6. Henry Lanz, The Physical Basis of Rime, Palo Alto, 193 1. 

7. W. K. Wimsatt, "One Relation of Rhyme to Reason," Modern Lan- 
guage Quarterly, V (1944), pp. 323-38. 

8. H. C. Wyld, Studies in English Rhymes from Surrey to Pope, Lon- 
don, 1923. Cf. also Frederick Ness, The Use of Rhyme in Shake- 
speare's Plays, New Haven, 1 941. 

9. V. Zhirmunsky, Rifma, ee istoria i teoriya (Rhyme, its History and 
Theory), Petrograd, 1923; Valery Bryusov, "O rifme" (On Rhyme), 
Pechat i revolutsiya 1924 (I, pp. 114-23) reviews Zhirmunsky's book 
and suggests many further problems for the investigation of rhyme. 
Charles F. Richardson, A Study of English Rhyme, Hanover, N. H., 
1909, is a modest beginning in the right direction. 

10. Wolfgang Kayser, Die Klangmalerei bei Harsdorfer, Leipzig, 1932 
(Palaestra, vol. 1 79); I. A. Richards, Practical Criticism, London, 
1929, pp. 232-3. 

11. J. C. Ransom, The World's Body, New York, 1938, pp. 95-7. 

12. M. Grammont, Le Vers frangais, ses moyens d' 'expression, son har- 
monic , Paris, 1 91 3. 

13. Rene Etiemble, "Le Sonnet des Voyelles," Revue de litterature com- 
paree, XIX (1939), pp. 235-61, discusses the many anticipations in 
A. W. Schlegel and others. 

14. Albert Wellek, "Der Sprachgeist als Doppelempfinder," Zeitschrift 
fiir Asthetik, XXV (1 931), pp. 226-62. 

15. Cf. Stumpf, quoted in note 2, and Wolfgang KShler, "Akustische 
Untersuchungen," Zeitschrift fiir Psychologie, LIV (1910), pp. 241- 
89, LVIII (1911), pp. 59-140, LXIV (1913), pp. 92-105, LXXII 
(1915), pp. 1-192. Roman Jakobson, Kindersprache, Aphasie und 

ff. 164-168] Notes 325 

allgemeine Lautgesetze, Upsala, 1 941, supports these results by evi- 
dence drawn from children's language and aphasia. 

16. Cf., e.g., E. M. Hornbostel, "Laut und Sinn," in Festschrift Mein- 
hof, Hamburg, 1927, pp. 329-48; Heinz Werner, Grundfragen der 
Sfrachfhysiognomik, Leipzig, 1932. Katherine M. Wilson, Sound and 
Meaning in English Poetry, London, 1930, is rather a general book 
on metrics and sound-patterns. Roman Jakobson has in preparation a 
book on "Sound and Meaning." 

17. Convenient recent surveys are A. W. de Groot, "Der Rhythmus," 
Neofhilologus, XVII (1932), pp. 81-100, 177-97, 2 4 I_ °5; and 
Dietrich Sekel, Holderlins Sfrachrhythmus, Leipzig, 1937 (Palaestra 
207), a book which contains a general discussion of rhythm and a full 

18. E.g., in W. K. Wimsatt's The Prose Style of Samuel Johnson, New 
Haven, 1941, pp. 5-8. 

19. Joshua Steele, Prosodia Rationalis, or an Essay towards Establishing 
the Melody and Measure of Sfeech, London, 1775. 

20. Eduard Sievers, Rhythmisch-melodische Studien, Heidelberg, 191 2; 
Ottmar Rutz, Musik, Wort und Korfer ah Gemiitsausdruck, Leipzig, 
191 1, Sfrache, Gesang und Korferhaltung, Munich, 191 1, Mensch- 
heitstyfen und Kunst, Jena, 1921; Gunther Ipsen and Fritz Karg, 
Schallanalytische Versuche, Heidelberg, 1938, lists the literature on 
this question. 

21. O. Walzel, Gehalt und Gestalt im dichterischen Kunstwerk, Potsdam, 
1923, pp. 96-105, 391-94. Gustav Becking, Der musikalische 
Rhythmus als Erkenntnis quelle, Augsburg, 1923, is an admired, but 
fantastic attempt to use Sievers' theories. 

22. W. M. Patterson, The Rhythm of Prose, New York, 1916. 

23. G. Saintsbury, A History of English Prose Rhythm, London, 191 3. 

24. Oliver Elton, "English Prose Numbers," A Sheaf of Pafers, London, 
1922; Morris W. Croll, "The Cadence of English Oratorical Prose," 
Studies in Philology, XVI (1919), pp. 1-55. 

25. B. Tomashevsky, "Ritm prozy (po Pikovey Dame)" (Prose Rhythm, 
according to the Queen of Shades), O Stikhe. Statyi. (Essays on 
Verse), Leningrad, 1929. 

26. Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstfrosa, Leipzig, 1898, 2 vols., is 
standard. Cf. also Albert de Groot, A Handbook of Antique Prose 
Rhythm, Groningen, 1919. 

27. Cf. William K. Wimsatt's The Prose Style of Samuel Johnson, New 
Haven, 1 94 1. 

28. G. Saintsbury, History of English Prosody, 3 vols., London, 1 906-10. 

29. Bliss Perry, A Study of Poetry, London, 1920, p. 145. 

326 Notes [pp. 168-173 

30. T. S. Omond, English Metrists, Oxford, 1 921; Pallister Barkas, 
A Critique of Modem English Prosody, Halle, 1934 (Studien zur 
englischen Phi/ologie, ed. Morsbach and Hecht, LXXXII). 

31. Cf. esp. M. W. Croll, "Music and Metrics," Studies in Philology, 
XX (1923), pp. 388-94; G. R. Stewart, Jr., The Technique of Eng- 
lish Verse, New York, 1930. 

32. This notation comes from Morris W. Croll, The Rhythm of English 
Verse (mimeographed pamphlet, Princeton, 1929), p. 8. It seems 
a highly artificial reading to substitute a rest for a primary accent. 

33. The most elaborate theoretical book, with hundreds of examples, is 
William Thomson's The Rhythm of Sfeech, Glasgow, 1923. A recent 
subtle exponent is John C. Pope, The Rhythm of Beowulf, New 
Haven, 1942. 

34. E.g., Donald Stauffer, The Nature of Poetry, New York, 1946, pp. 

35. George R. Stewart, Jr., Modem Metrical Technique as Illustrated by 
Ballad Meter (1 700-1920), New York, 1922. 

36. Cf. bibliography, Section III, 2. 

37. W. L. Schramm, University of Iowa Studies, Series on Aims and Prog- 
ress of Research, No. 46, Iowa City, la., 1935. 

38. Cf. The title-page of Henry Lanz, The Physical Basis of Rime, Stan- 
ford Press, 1 93 1. 

39. Vittorio Benussi, Psychologie der Zeitauffassung, Heidelberg, 1913, 
pp. 215 ff. 

40. G. R. Stewart, The Technique of English Verse, New York, 1 930, 

P- 3- 

41. Saran, Deutsche Verslehre, loc. cit., p. ij Verrier, Essai . . . , Vol. I, 

p. ix. 

42. Stewart has to introduce the term "phrase," which implies an under- 
standing of meaning. 

43. The most important formalist publications on prosody are these: Boris 
Eikhenbaum, Melodika lyricheskogo stikha {The Melody of Lyric 
Verse), St. Petersburg, 1922; Boris Tomashevsky, Ruskoye stikhoslo- 
zhenye, Metrika {Russian Versification, Metrics), St. Petersburg, 1923, 
O Stikhe. Statyi. [Essays on Verse), Leningrad, 1 929; Yuryi N. Tyn- 
yanov, Problemy stikhotvomago yazyka {Problems of Poetic Lan- 
guage), Leningrad, 1924; Roman Jakobson, O cheshskom stikhe {On 
Czech Verse), Berlin, 1923; Viktor Zhirmunsky, Kompozitsiya 
liricheskikh stikhotvorenii {The Composition of Lyrical Poems), Pet- 
rograd, 1921, Vvedenie v metriku. Teoriya stikha {Introduction to 
Metrics: The Theory of Verse), Leningrad, 1925. 

ft- I 73- I 8°] Notes 327 

44. Jan Mukarovsky, "Intonation comme facteur de rhythme poetique," 
Archives neerlandaises de phonetique experimental e, VTII-IX (1933), 
pp. 153-65. 

45. Eduard Fraenkel, Iktus und Akzent im lateinischen Sprechvers, Berlin, 

46. Some beginnings are to be found in Albert H. Licklider, Chapters on 
the Metric of the Chaucerian Tradition, Baltimore, 19 10. 

47. A. Meillet, Les Origines indoeuropeennes des metres grecs, Paris, 1923. 

48. Roman Jakobson, "Uber den Versbau der serbokroatischen Volksepen," 
Archives neerlandaises de phonetique experimental , VIII-IX (1933)? 
pp. 135-153. 

49. Thomas MacDonagh {Thomas Campion and the Art of English Poetry, 
Dublin, 1 91 3) distinguishes between song, speech and chant verse. 

50. Boris E. Eikhenbaum, Melodika lyricheskogo stikha {The Melody of 
Lyrical Verse), St. Petersburg, 1922. 

51. See the criticism of Eikhenbaum in Viktor Zhirmunsky's Voprosy teorii 
literatury {Questions of the Theory of Literature), Leningrad, 1928. 


Style and Stylistics 

1. F. W. Bateson, English Poetry and the English Language, Oxford, 
1934, p. vi. 

2. K. Vossler, Gesammelte Aufs'dtze zur Sprachphilosophie, Munich, 
1923, p. 37. 

3. Vossler, Frankreichs Kultur im Spiegel seiner Sprachentzvicklung, 
Heidelberg, 191 3 (new ed., 1929, as Frankreichs Kultur und 
Sprache) ; Viktor Vinogradov, Yazyk Pushkina {Pushkin's Language), 
Moscow, 1935. 

4. These are the results of P. Verrier's careful experiments as given in 
Essai sur les principes de la metrique anglaise, Paris, 1 909-1 0, Vol. I, 
p. 113. 

5. A. H. King, The Language of Satirized Characters in Poetaster', a 
Socio-Stylistic Analysis, i^gj-1602, Lund Studies in English, Vol. X, 
Lund, 1941; Wilhelm Franz, Shakespearegrammatik, Halle, 1898- 
1900 (new ed. Heidelberg, 1924); Lazare Sainean, La Langue de 
Rabelais, 2 vols., Paris, 1922-23. For a full bibliography, cf. Guerlin 
de Guer, "La Langue des ecrivains," Qu'en sont les etudes de Fran- 
cais? (ed. A. Dauzat), Paris, 1935, pp. 227-337. 

6. See bibliography, Section I. 

7. From Tennyson's "Edwin Morris," drawn from H. C. Wyld, Some 
Aspects of the Diction of English Poetry, Oxford, 1933. There is a 

328 Notes [ff. 181-187 

highly historical discussion of the problem in the Preface to Geoffrey 
Tillotson's Essays in Criticism and Research, Cambridge, 1942. 

8. Marvell's "To his Coy Mistress." 

9. Louis Teeter, "Scholarship and the Art of Criticism," ELH, V 
(1938), p. 183. 

10. Charles Bally, Traite de la stylistique francaise, Heidelberg, 1909. 
Leo Spitzer also, at least in his earlier studies, identified stylistics with 
syntax: cf. "Uber syntaktische Methoden auf romanischen Gebiet," 
Die neueren Sfrachen, XXV (1919), p. 338. 

11. On "Grand Style," cf. Matthew Arnold's On Translating Homer and 
G. Saintsbury's "Shakespeare and the Grand Style," "Milton and the 
Grand Style," and "Dante and the Grand Style," Collected Essays and 
Papers, London, 1923, Vol. III. 

12. Friedrich Kainz, "Hohere Wirkungsgestalten des sprachlichen Aus- 
drucks im Deutschen," Zeitschrift fiir Asthetik, XXVIII (1934), pp. 


13. Wimsatt, of. cit., p. 12. 

14. Wilhelm Schneider, Ausdruckszuerte der deutschen Sfrache: Eine Stil- 
kunde, Leipzig, 1 93 I, p. 21. 

15. See bibliography, Section V. 

16. Cf. Morris W. Croll's Introduction to Harry Clemons' edition of 
Lyly's Eufhues, London, 191 6. 

17. Cf. Henry C. Wyld, Sfenser's Diction and Style, London, 1930; 
B. R. McElderry, Jr., "Archaism and Innovation in Spenser's Poetic 
Diction," PMLA, XL VII (1932), pp. 1 44-70; Herbert W. Sugden, 
The Grammar of Sfenser's Fairie Queene, Philadelphia, 1936. 

18. Cf. Austin Warren, "Instress of Inscape," Gerard Manley H of kins, By 
the Kenyon Critics, Norfolk, Conn., 1945, pp. 72-88. 

19. J. M. Robertson, The Shakesfeare Canon, 4 vols., London, 1922-32. 

20. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

21. Josephine Miles, "The Sweet and Lovely Language," Gerard Manley 
H of kins, By the Kenyon Critics, Norfolk, Conn., 1945, pp. 55-71. 

2 2. Geoffrey Tillotson, Essays in Criticism and Research, Cambridge, 
1942, p. 84. 

23. Friedrich Gundolf, Goethe, Berlin, 191 5. 

24. Hermann Nohl, Die Kunststile in Dichtung und Musik, Jena, 191 5, 
and Stil und W eltanschauung, Jena, 1920. 

25. Motif und Wort, Studien zur Literatur- und Sfrachfsychologie, Hans 
Sperber, Motiv und Wort bei Gustav Meyrink, Leo Spitzer, Die 
groteske Gestaltungs- und Sfrachkunst Christian Morgensterns, Leip- 
zig, 1 91 8; Josef Korner, Arthur Schnitzlers Gestalten und Probleme, 
Munich, 1921. Cf. also Josef Korner, "Erlebnis-Motiv-Stoff," Vom 

fp. 187-190] Notes 329 

Geiste neuer Literaturjorschung: Festchrift fiir Oskar Walzel, Wild- 
park-Potsdam, 1924, pp. 80-9; Leo Spitzer, Studien zu Henri Bar- 
busse, Bonn, 1 920. 

26. Leo Spitzer, "Zu Charles Peguys Stil," Vom Geiste neuer Litera- 
turjorschung: Festschrift fur Oskar Walzel (Wildpark, Potsdam, 
1924), pp. 162-183 (reprinted in Stilstudien, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 
301-64); "Der Unanimismus Jules Romains' im Spiegel seiner 
Sprache," Archivum Romanicum, VIII (1924), pp. 59-123 (reprinted 
in Stilstudien, loc. cit., II, pp. 208-300). On Morgenstern, cf. 
note 20. 

27. Spitzer, Die Wortbildung als stilistisches Mittel {bei Rabelais"), Halle, 
1 9 10; "Pseudo-objektive Motivierung bei Charles-Louis Phillipe," 
Zeitschrift fur franzosische Sprache und Liter atur, XL VI (1923), pp. 
659-85 (reprinted in Stilstudien, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 166-207). 

28. Spitzer, "Zur sprachlichen Interpretation von Wortkunstwerken," Neue 
Jahrbiicher fur Wissenschaft und Jugendbildung, VI (1930), pp. 
632-51 (reprinted in Romanische Stil- und Literaturstudien, Mar- 
burg, 193 1, Vol. I); cf. also "Wortkunst und Sprachwissenschaft," 
Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift, XIII (1925), pp. 169-86 (re- 
printed in Stilstudien, loc. cit., Vol. II, pp. 498-536); "Linguistics 
and Literary History," Linguistics and Literary History, Princeton, 
1948, pp. 1-40. 

29. Spitzer, "Klassische Dampfung in Racine," Archizmm Romanicum, 
XII (1928), pp. 361-472 (reprinted in Ro?nanische Stil- und Litera- 
turstudien, Marburg, 193 I, Vol. I, pp. 135-270). Also cf. there, arti- 
cles on Quevedo, Gongora, Voltaire. 

30. E.g., Fritz Strich, "Der lyrische Stil des siebzehnten Jahrhunderts," 
Abhandlungen zur deutschen Literaturgeschichte, Franz Muncker . . . 
dargebracht, Munich, 1916, pp. 21-53, esp. p. 37. 

31. Cf. Morris W. Croll's excellent essay, "The Baroque Style in Prose," 
Studies in English Philology: A Miscellany in Honor of F. Klaeber, 
Minneapolis, 1929, pp. 427-56; also George Williamson, "Senecan 
Style in the Seventeenth Century," Philological Quarterly, XV 
(1936), pp. 321-51. 

32. Cf. bibliography, Section IV. 

33. Cf. bibliography, Section IV. 


Image, Metaphor, Symbol, and Myth 

I. Max Eastman, The Literary Mind in an Age of Science (New York, 
1931), p. 165. 

330 Notes [ffi. igo-iQ4 

2. On "Types of Discourse," cf. Charles Morris, Signs, Languages, and 
Behavior, New York, 1 946, p. 123 ff. Morris distinguishes twelve 
kinds of "discourse," of which those relevant to our chapter — and our 
four terms — are "Fictive" (the World of the Novel), "Mythological," 
and "Poetic." 

3. Monosign and plurisign are used by Philip Wheelwright, in "The 
Semantics of Poetry," Kenyon Review, II (1940), pp. 263-83. The 
plurisign is "semantically reflexive in the sense that it is a part of what 
it means. That is to say, the plurisign, the poetic symbol, is not merely 
employed but enjoyed; its value is not entirely instrumental but largely 
aesthetic, intrinsic." 

4. Cf. E. G. Boring, Sensation and Perception in the History of Experi- 
mental Psychology, New York, 1942; June Downey, Creative Imagi- 
nation: Studies in the Psychology of Literature, New York, 1929; 
Jean-Paul Sartre, U Imagination, Paris, 1936. 

5. I. A. Richards, Principles of Literary Criticism, London, 1 924, Chap- 
ter XVI, "The Analysis of a Poem." 

6. Ezra Pound, Pavamies and Divisions, New York, 191 8; T. S. Eliot, 
"Dante," Selected Essays, New York, 1932, p. 204; Eliot, "A Note on 
the Verse of John Milton," Essays and Studies by Members of the 
English Association, XXI, Oxford, 1936, p. 34. 

7. "Modern psychology has taught us that these two senses of the term 
'image' overlap. We may say that every spontaneous mental image is 
to some extent symbolical." Charles Baudoin, Psychoanalysis and 
Aesthetics, New York, 1924, p. 28. 

8. J. M. Murry, "Metaphor," Countries of the Mind, 2nd series, Lon- 
don, 193 1, pp. I -1 6; L. MacNeice, Modern Poetry, New York, 1938, 
p. 113. 

9. An admirable study of one literary movement and its influence upon 
another is Rene Taupin's LUnfluence du symbolisme francais sur la 
poesie americaine . . . , Paris, 1929. 

10. For the terminology here followed, cf. Craig la Driere, The American 
Bookman, I (1944), pp. 103-4. 

11. S. T. Coleridge, The Statesman's Manual: Complete Works (ed. Shedd, 
New York, 1853), Vol. I, pp. 437-8. This distinction between symbol 
and allegory was first clearly drawn by Goethe. Cf. Curt Richard 
Miiller, Die geschichtlichen Voraussetzungen des Symbolbegriffs in 
Goethe's Kunstanschauung, Leipzig, 1937. 

12. J. H. Wicksteed, Blake's Innocence and Experience . . . , London, 
1928, p. 23; W. B. Yeats, Essays, London, 1924, p. 95 ff., on Shel- 
ley's "Ruling Symbols." 

When do metaphors become symbols? (a) When the "vehicle" of 

ff. ig^-igg~\ Notes 331 

the metaphor is concrete-sensuous, like the lamb. The cross is not a 
metaphor but a metonymic symbol, representing Him who died upon 
it, like St. Lawrence's gridiron and St. Catherine's wheel, or represent- 
ing suffering, in which case the instrument signifies that which it does, 
the effect of its action, (b) When the metaphor is recurrent and cen- 
tral, as in Crashaw and Yeats and Eliot. The normal procedure is the 
turning of images into metaphors and metaphors into symbols, as in 
Henry James. In "Domes of Byzantium," Southern Review, VII 
(1941), pp. 639-52, Howard Baker studies in detail how images in 
Yeats' early poems (fire, birds, hawks, towers) become symbols in the 
later work. 

13. The "Blakean heterodoxy," says M. O. Percival (Blake's Circle of 
Destiny, New York, 1938, p. 1), "was equally traditional with Dante's 
orthodoxy." Says Mark Schorer (Blake, New York, 1946, p. 23): 
"Blake, like Yeats, found metaphorical support for his dialectical view 
in . . . the system of correspondence of Swedenborg and Boehme, in 
the analogical pursuits of the cabalists, and in the alchemy of Para- 
celsus and Agrippa." 

14. Cf. the comments on Frost of Cleanth Brooks, Modem Poetry and 
the Tradition, Chapel Hill, 1939, p. IIO ff. 

15. Cf. Nietzsche, Die Gebnrt der Tragbdie, Leipzig, 1872. 

16. For a representative group of definitions, cf. Lord Raglan's The Hero 
. . . , London, 1937. 

1 7. Cf. Fritz Strich, Die Mythologie in der deutschen Literatur von Klof- 
stock bis Wagner, Berlin, 1910. 2 vols. 

18. S. H. Hooke, Myth and Ritual, Oxford, 1933; J. A. Stewart, The 
Myths of Plato, London ; Ernst Cassirer, Philosofhie der symbolischen 
Formen, Vol. II, "Das mythische Denken," Berlin, 1925, p. 271 ff. 

19. Georges Sorel, Reflexions on Violence (tr. T. E. Hulme), New York, 
1 9 14; Reinhold Niebuhr, "The Truth Value of Myths," The Nature 
of Religious Exferience . . . , New York, 1937. 

20. Cf. especially R. M. Guastalla, Le Mythe et le livre: essai sur 
Porigine de la litterature, Paris, 1940. 

21. Cf. Donald Davidson, "Yeats and the Centaur," Southern Review, 
VII (1941), pp. 510-16. 

22. Arthur Machen's Hieroglyphics, London, 1923, ably (if untechnically, 
and in a highly romantic version) defends the view that religion (i.e., 
myth and ritual) constitutes the larger climate within which alone 
poetry (i.e., symbolism, aesthetic contemplation) can breathe and grow. 

23. The standard ancient classification of the schemes and tropes is Quin- 
tilian's Institutes of Oratory. For the most elaborate Elizabethan treat- 

33 2 Notes [pp. 200-20J 

ment, cf. Puttenham's Arte of English Poesie (ed. Willcock and 
Walker), Cambridge, 1936. 

24. Karl Biihler, Sprachtheorie, Jena, 1934, p. 343; Stephen J. Brown, 
The World of Imagery, p. 149 ff., and Roman Jakobson, "Rand- 
bemerkungen zur Prosa des Dichters Pasternak," Slavische Rundschau, 

VII (1935), PP- 357-73- 

25. D. S. Mirsky, "Walt Whitman: Poet of American Democracy," Critics 
Group Dialectics, No. 1, 1937, pp. 11-29. 

26. G. Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric, London, 1776, pp. 3 2 1, 326. 

27. Richards, Philosophy of Rhetoric, London, 1936, p. 117, calls Camp- 
bell's first type the "verbal metaphor," for he holds that literary 
metaphor is not a verbal linkage but a transaction between contexts, an 
analogy between objects. 

28. Cf. Milman Parry, "The Traditional Metaphor in Homer," Classical 
Philology, XXVIII (1933), pp. 30-43. Parry makes clear Aristotle's 
unhistoric identification of Homer's metaphorism with that of later 
poets; compares Homer's "fixed metaphors" to those of Old English 
poets and (more restrictedly) to those of eighteenth-century Augustans. 

29. Cf, C. Bally, Traite de stylistique frangaise, Heidelberg, 1 909, Vol. 
I, p. 184 ff.: "La langage figure." On pp. 194-5, Bally, speaking 
not as a literary theorist but as a linguist, classifies metaphors as: 
"Images concretes, saisies par l'imagination, images affectives, saisies 
par une operation intellectuelle. . . ." His three categories I should 
call (1) poetic metaphor; (2) ritual ("fixed") metaphor; and (3) lin- 
guistic (etymological, or buried) metaphor. 

30. For a defense of ritual metaphor and guild images in the style of 
Milton, cf. C. S. Lewis, Preface to Paradise Lost, London, 1942, 
pp. 39 ff. 

31. Cf. Heinz Werner, Die Urspriinge der Metapher, Leipzig, 191 9. 

32. Hermann Pongs, Das Bild in der Dichtung. I: Versuch einer Mor- 
phologie der metaphorischen Formen. Marburg, 1927. II: Vorunter- 
suchungen zum Symbol. Marburg, 1939. 

33. L. B. Osborn, The . . . Writings of John Hoskyns, New Haven, 1937, 
p. 125; George Campbell, Philosophy of Rhetoric, pp. 335-7; A. Pope, 
The Art of Sinking; A. Dion, UArt d'ecrire, Quebec, 191 1, pp. 
1 1 1-2. 

34. Thomas Gibbons, Rhetoric . . . , London, 1767, pp. 15-16. 

35. John Dryden, Essays (ed. W. P. Ker), Oxford, 1 900, Vol. I, p. 247 
("Dedication of The Spanish Friar"). 

36. Cf. I. A. Richards, Philosophy of Rhetoric, London, 1936, pp. 117- 
18: "A very broad division may be made between metaphors which 
work through some direct resemblance between the two things, the 

ff. 208-211] Notes 333 

tenor and the vehicle, and those which work through some common 
attitude which we may . . . take up towards them both." 

37. The later Shakespeare abounds in rapidly shifting figures, what older 
pedagogues would call "mixed metaphors." Shakespeare thinks quicker 
than he speaks, one could put it, says Wolfgang Clemen, Shakesfeares 
Bilder . . . , Bonn, 1936, p. 144. 

38. H. W. Wells, Poetic Imagery, New York, 1924, p. 127. 

As characteristic users of the Radical image, Wells {of. cit., pp. 
136-7) cites Donne, Webster, Marston, Chapman, Tourneur, and 
Shakespeare, and out of the late nineteenth century, George Meredith 
(whose Modem Love he pronounces "an unusually condensed and in- 
teresting body of symbolic thought") and Francis Thompson. From 
Thompson come the lines: 

"At evening, when the lank and rigid trees 
To the mere forms of their sweet day-selves drying 
On heaven's blank leaf seem fressed and flattened.''' 

39. The imagery of Macbeth is brilliantly considered by Clean th Brooks 
in "The Naked Babe and the Cloak of Manliness," The Well Wrought 
Urn, New York, 1947, pp. 21-46. 

40. As far back as Quintilian {Institutes, Bk. VIII, chap. 6), a basic dis- 
tinction between kinds of metaphors has been felt to equate the dis- 
tinction between organic and inorganic. Quintilian's four kinds are: 
one sort of living thing for another; one inanimate thing for another; 
the inanimate put for the animate; and the animate put for the in- 

Pongs calls the first of his types the Beseeltyfus and the second the 
Erfuhltyfus. The first animizes or anthropomorphizes; the second 

41. For Ruskin on the "Pathetic Fallacy," cf. Modem Painters, London, 
1856, Vol. Ill, Pt. 4. The examples cited exempt the simile from 
indictment because it keeps natural fact separate from emotional 

On the polar heresies of Anthropomorphism and Symbolism, cf. 
M. T.-L. Penido's brilliant book, Le Role de I'analogie en theologie 
dogmatique, Paris, 193 1, p. 197 ff. 

42. M. A. Ewer, Survey of Mystical Symbolism, London, 1933, p. 164-6. 

43. Vossler, Spengler, T. E. Hulme {Speculations, London, 1924), and 
Yeats, as well as Pongs, have been stimulated by Wilhelm Worringer's 
Abstraktion und Einfiihlung, Berlin, 1908. 

Our first quotation comes from Joseph Frank's admirable study of 
"Spatial Form in Modern Literature," Sewanee Review, LIII (1945), 

334 Notes [pp. 211-215 

p. 64.5 ; our second from Spengler, who quotes Worringer in his dis- 
cussion of the Magian culture, Decline of the West, New York, 1926, 
Vol. I, pp. 183 ff., 192. 

44. Cf. Ernest Kris, "Approaches to Art," in Psychoanalysis Today (ed. 
S. Lorand), New York, 1944, pp. 360-2. 

45. W. B. Yeats, Autobiography, New York, 1938, pp. 161, 219-25. 

46. K. Vossler, Spirit of Language in Civilization (tr., London, 1932), 
p. 4. Karl Vossler well remarks that mages and mystics are permanent 
and opposed types. "There is constant strife between magic, which uses 
language as a tool and thereby seeks to bring as much as possible, even 
God, under its control, and mysticism, which breaks, makes valueless, 
and rejects, all forms." 

47. H. Pongs, Das Bild, Vol. I, p. 296. 

48. Emily Dickinson, Collected Poems, Boston, 1937, pp. 192, 161; cf. 
also p. 38 ("I laughed a wooden laugh") and p. 215 ("A clock 
stopped — not the mantel's"). 

49. For the significance of Byzantium, cf. Yeats' A Vision, London, 1938, 
pp. 279-81. 

50. Hermann Nohl, Stil und W eltanschauung, Jena, 1920. 

51. Cf. Emile Cailliet, Symbolisme et ames primitives, Paris, 1936, for 
a remarkably unblushing, uncritical acceptance of equivalence between 
the prelogical mind of primitive peoples and the aims of Symboliste 
poets. To the abstracting, conceptual operations of the modern post- 
Cartesian intellect, Cailliet contrasts the "participation mystique" of 
primitive man and the poet, the inability to distinguish between sign 
and thing signified. 

52. MacNeice, of. cit., p. 111. 

53. Cf. Harold Rosenberg, "Myth and Poem," Symposium, II (1931), 
pp. 179 ff- 

54. Gladys Wade, Thomas Traherne, Princeton, 1944, pp. 26-37. C/« 
the critical review of the book by E. N. S. Thompson, Philological 
Quarterly, XXIII (1944), pp. 383-4. 

55. Dr. Johnson, Lives of the Poets, "Thomson." 

On the argument from imagistic silence, including the examples 
we cite, cf. L. H. Hornstein's penetrating "Analysis of Imagery," 
PMLA, LVII (1942), pp. 638-53. 

56. Mario Praz, English Studies, XVIII (1936), pp. 177-81, wittily re- 
views Miss Spurgeon's Shakespeare's Imagery and What It Tells Us 
(Cambridge, 1935), especially its first part, "The Revelation of the 
Man," with its "fallacy of trying to read . . . into Shakespeare's 
images his senses, tastes, and interests," and rightly praises Clemen 
(whose book appeared in 1936) for thinking that "Shakespeare's use 

pp. 216-225] Notes 335 

and choice of images is not so much conditioned by his own personal 
tastes as by what are in each case his artistic intentions. . . ." 

57. Miss Spurgeon's essay is reprinted in Anne Bradby's Shakespeare Criti- 
cism, igig-^Si London, 1936, pp. 18-61. 

On autobiography and Hamlet, cf. C. J. Sisson, The Mythical Sor- 
rows of Shakespeare, London, 1936. 

58. T. S. Eliot, "Hamlet," Selected Essays, London, 1932, pp. 141-6. 

59. G. Wilson Knight: Myth and Miracle: An Essay on the Mystic Sym- 
bolism of Shakespeare, London, 1929; The Wheel of Fire, London, 
1 930; The Imperial Theme, London, 1 931; The Christian Renais- 
sance, Toronto, 1933; The Burning Oracle, London, 1939; The 
Starlit Dome, London, 1941. 

60. Wolfgang Clemen, Shakespeares Bilder, Bonn, 1936. 


The Nature and Modes of Narrative Fiction 

1. Sidney: "Now for the poet, he nothing affirmeth, and therefore never 

2. Wilson Follett, The Modern Novel, New York, 1 91 8, p. 29. 

3. The reader's exhortation that the novelist "deal with life" is often 
"an exhortation to preserve certain conventions of nineteenth-century 
prose fiction": Kenneth Burke, Counter statement, New York, 193 1, 
p. 238; cf. also p. 182 and p. 219. 

4. D. McCarthy, Portraits, London, 193 1, pp. 75, 156. 

5. J. Frank, "Spatial Form in Modern Literature," Sezvanee Review, 
LI II (1945), pp. 221-40, 433-56. Reprinted in Criticism (Schorer, 
Miles, McKenzie), New York, 1948, pp. 379-92. 

6. The first two chapters of Pride and Prejudice are almost exclusively 
dialogue, while the third chapter opens with narrative summary, then 
returns to the "scenic" method. 

7. Clara Reeve, Progress of Romance, London, 1785. 

8. Hawthorne, prefaces to The House of the Seven Gables and The 
Marble Faun. 

9. Poe's "Philosophy of Composition" opens with a quotation from 
Dickens: "Are you aware that Godwin wrote his Caleb Williams back- 
wards?" Earlier, in a review of Barnaby Rudge, Poe had cited God- 
win's novel as a masterpiece of close plotting. 

10. Motif is commonly used in English criticism; but A. H. Krappe, 
Science of Folklore, London, 1930, sensibly urges that we use the 
English motive instead of the French form, which in turn acquired 
its sense under the influence of the German Motiv. 

336 Notes [pp. 225-228 

11. Cf. Aarne-Thompson, Types of the Folk-Tale, Helsinki, 1928. 
I 2. Cf. G. Polti, Thirty-six Dramatic Situations, New York, 191 6; P. Van 
Tieghem, La litterature comparee, Paris, 193 1, p. 87 ff. 

13. Sir Walter Scott, quoted by S. L. Whitcomb, Study of a Novel, Boston, 
1905, p. 6. Whitcomb calls motivation "a technical term to denote the 
causation of the plot-movement, especially in reference to its conscious 
artistic arrangement." 

The opening sentence of Pride and Prejudice is a good example of 
"motivation" explicitly (even parodically) stated: "It is a truth uni- 
versally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good for- 
tune must be in want of a wife." 

14. Dibelius, Dickens, 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1926, p. 383. 

15. We refer here especially to Tomashevsky's treatment of "Thema- 
tology" in his Teoriya literatury, Leningrad, 193 1. 

16. Cf. the discussion of "tempo" in Carl Grabo's Technique of the Novel, 
New York, 1928, pp. 214-36, and "Zeit" in Petsch's Wesen und For- 
men der Erzahlkunst, Halle, 1934, p. 92 ff. 

17. Cf. E. Berend, "Die Namengebung bei Jean Paul," PMLA, LVII 
(1942), pp. 820-50; E. H. Gordon, "The Naming of Characters in 
the Works of Dickens," University of Nebraska Studies in Language, 
etc., 191 7; also John Forster's Life of Dickens, Bk. IX, Ch. 7, citing 
lists of names from the novelist's memoranda. 

Henry James talks out the naming of his characters in the memo- 
randa printed at the end of his unfinished novels, The Ivory Tower 
and The Sense of the Past (both 191 7). Cf. also James' Notebooks 
(ed. Matthiessen and Murdock), New York, 1947, pp. 7-8 and 

On Balzac's character-naming, cf. E. Faguet, Balzac (Eng. tr., Lon- 
don, 1914), p. 120; and on Gogol's, V. Nabokov's Gogol, New York, 
1944, p. 85 ff. 

18. Flat and round characterization: cf. E. M. Forster, Aspects of the 
Novel, London, 1927, pp. 103-4. 

19. On the typology of English heroines, cf. R. P. Utter and G. B. Need- 
ham, Pamela's Daughters, New York, 1936. On the polarity of light 
and dark heroines, cf. F. Carpenter, "Puritans Preferred Blondes," 
New England Quarterly, IX (1936), pp. 253-72; Philip Rahv, "The 
Dark Lady of Salem," Partisan Review, VIII (1941), pp. 3 6 2-8 1. 
Maggie Tulliver (Mill on the Floss, Bk. V, Ch. 4) protests, "I'm 
determined to read no more books where the blond-haired women 
carry away all the happiness. ... I want to avenge Rebecca, and 
Flora Maclvor, and Minna and all the rest of the dark unhappy 

ff. 228-235} Notes 337 

20. Dibelius, Dickens, Leipzig, 1916. 

21. Mario Praz, The Romantic Agony, London, 1933. 

22. Cf. Arthur Sewell, "Place and Time in Shakespeare's Plays," Studies 
in Philology, XLII (1945), pp. 205-24. 

23. Cf. P. Lubbock, Craft of Fiction, London, 1 921, pp. 205-35. 

24. Otto Ludwig, "Romanstudien," Gesammelte Schriften, VI (1891), p. 
59 ff.; Maupassant, Introduction to Pierre et Jean (1887); H. James, 
Prefaces to the New York Edition (collected as The Art of the Novel, 
New York, 1 934). Cf. also Oskar WalzePs "Objektive Erzahlung," in 
Das Wortkunstwerk, Leipzig, 1926, p. 182 ff., and J. W. Beach, The 
Twentieth Century Novel, New York, 1932. 

25. Ludwig, of. cit., pp. 66-7: The structure of Dickens' novels is analo- 
gous to that of plays. "Seine Romane sind erzahlte Dramen mit 
Zwischenmusik, d.i., erzahlter." 

On James and Ibsen, cf. Francis Fergusson, "James' Idea of Dra- 
matic Form," Kenyon Review, V (1943), pp. 495-507. 

26. On "picture" and "scene," cf. James' Art of the Novel, pp. 298-300, 


27. Ibid., pp. 320-1, 327-9. James attacks narration in the first person as 
well as the "mere muffled majesty of irresponsible 'authorship' " (the 
omniscient narrator). 

28. R. Fernandez, "La methode de Balzac: Le recit et 1'esthetique du 
roman," Messages, Paris, 1926, p. 59 ff. 

29. Oskar Walzel, "Von 'erlebter Rede,' " Das Wortkunstwerk, Leipzig, 
1926, p. 207 ff. ; Albert Thibaudet, Flaubert, Paris, 1935, pp. 229-32; 
E. Dujardin, Le monologue interieur . . . , Paris, 193 1 ; Wm. James, 
Principles of Psychology, New York, 1890, Vol. I, p. 243: chap. IX, 
in which the phrase appears, is called "The Stream of Thought." 

30. Lubbock, of. cit., p. 147. "When Strether's mind is dramatized, noth- 
ing is shown but the passing images that anybody might detect, looking 
down upon a mind grown visible" {ibid., p. 162). 

31. Cf. Lawrence Bowling, Dramatizing the Mind: A Study in the Stream 
of Consciousness Method of Narration (Iowa doctoral dissertation, 


Literary Genres 

1. Croce, Aesthetic (tr. Ainslie), London, 1922. Cf. Chs. IX and XV. 

2. N. H. Pearson, "Literary Forms and Types . . . ," English Institute 
Annual, 1940 (1941), p. 59 ff., especially p. 70. 

3. W. P. Ker, Form and Style in Poetry, London, 1928, p. 141. 

338 Notes [ff. 235-238 

4. Harry Levin, "Literature as an Institution," Accent, VI (1946), pp. 

5. A. Thibaudet, Physiologie de la Critique, Paris, 1930, p. 184 ff. 

6. But cf. C. E. Whitmore, "The Validity of Literary Definitions," 
PMLA, XXXIX (1924), pp. 722-36, especially pp. 734-5. 

7. Karl Vietor, "Probleme der litearischen Gattungsgeschichte," Deutsche 
Vierteljahrschrijt fur Literaturzvissenschaft . . . , IX (1931), pp. 
425-47: an admirable discussion which avoids positivism on the one 
hand and "metaphysicalism" on the other. 

8. Goethe calls ode, ballad, and the like "Dichtarten," while epic, lyric, 
and drama are "Naturformen der Dichtung" — "Es gibt nur drei 
echte Naturformen der Poesie: die klar erzlihlende, die enthusiastisch 
aufgeregte und die personlich handelnde: Epos, Lyrik, und Drama" 
(Notes to W est-ostlicher Divan, Goethe's Werke, Jubilaumsausgabe, 
Vol. V, pp. 223-4). English terminology is troublesome: we might well 
use "types" of our major categories (as does N. H. Pearson) and 
"genres" of the species, tragedy, comedy, the ode, etc. 

The word genre is late in establishing itself in English. In its lit- 
erary sense, it does not appear in the N.E.D. (nor does kind) ; eight- 
eenth-century writers, e.g., Johnson and Blair, commonly use species, 
as the term for "literary kind." In 1910, Irving Babbitt (preface to 
The Nezv Laokoon) speaks of genre as becoming established in English 
critical usage. 

Pedagogically, American practice seems to employ "types" — for 
both the major kinds and their subdivisions. Cf. Irvin Ehrenpreis' The 
Types Approach to Literature, New York, 1945, which follows a 
survey of the history of genre theory with an account of American 
literary education, collegiate and secondary, and its division of atten- 
tion between "kinds," and periods, and other modes of organization. 

9. "Plato is mightily aware of the ethical dangers of impersonation. For 
a man damages his own vocation if he is allowed to imitate the callings 
of others. . . ." James J. Donohue, The Theory of Literary Kinds 
. . . , Dubuque, Iowa, 1943, p. 88. 

For Aristotle, ibid., p. 99. 

10. Hobbes, in Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century (ed. J. E. Spin- 
garn), 1908, pp. 54-5. 

11. E. S. Dallas, Poetics: An Essay on Poetry, London, 1852, pp. 81, 91, 

12. John Erskine, The Kinds of Poetry, New York, 1920, p. 12. 

13. Roman Jakobson, "Randbemerkungen zur Prosa des Dichters Paster- 
nak," Slavische Rundschau, VII (1935), pp. 357~73- 

ff. 238-243] Notes 339 

14. On the oral recitation of poetry, John Erskine (The Elizabethan 
Lyric, New York, 1903, p. 3) points out the tradition survived as late 
as Wordsworth, who, in the "Preface" (18 1 5) of his poems says: 
"Some of these pieces are essentially lyrical; and, therefore, cannot 
have their due force without a supposed musical accompaniment; but, 
in much the greatest part, as a substitute for the classic lyre or romantic 
harp, I require nothing more than an animated or impassioned recita- 
tion, adapted for the subject." 

15. While Shaw and Barrie made a bid for a double audience by their 
prefaces and their novelistically detailed, imagistically suggestive stage 
directions, the whole tendency of dramaturgic doctrine today is against 
any judgment of a play divorced from, not inclusive of, its stagecraft- 
ness or theaterness: the French tradition (Coquelin, Sarcey) and the 
Russian (Stanislavsky — Moscow Art Theatre) agree on this. The con- 
sequence is interestingly illustrated in Eric Bentley's review of Under- 
standing Drama (Kenyon Review, VIII (1946), p. 333 ff.). 

16. Veit Valentin ("Poetische Gattungen," Zeitschrift fur vergleichende 
Litteraturgeschichte, Vol. V, 1892, p. 34 ff.) also, on different grounds, 
questions the canonical three. One should, he says, distinguish "die 
epische, die lyrische, und die reflektierende Gattung . . . die Dra- 
matik ist keine poetische Gattung, sondern eine poetische Form." 

17. Thibaudet, of. cit., p. 186. 

18. Aristotle, Poetics, chap. 14: "One should not seek every pleasure from 
tragedy but only that proper to it." 

19. More accurately, the eighteenth century has two octosyllabic sequences, 
— a comic (going back to Hudibras and coming on through Swift and 
Gay) and a meditative-descriptive (going back to "L' Allegro" and, 
especially, "II Penseroso.") 

20. Not till 1849, apparently, were the "Lake Poets" first definitely 
grouped with Shelley, Keats, and Byron as English Romantics. Cf. 
Wellek, "Periods and Movements," English Institute Annual, igqo, 

21. Paul Van Tieghem, "La Question des genres litteraires," Helicon, I 
(1938), p. 95 ff. 

22. There are already many monographs on the Gothic genre — e.g., Edith 
Birkhead, The Tale of Terror . . . , London, 1921; A. Killen, Le 
Roman Terrifiant ou Roman Noir . . . , Paris, 1923; Eino Railo, 
The Haunted Castle, London, 1927; Montague Summers, The Gothic 
Quest . . . , London, 1938. 

23. Poetics, chap. 24. 

24. Cf. Arthur Mizener's reply to Ransom: "The Structure of Figurative 
Language in Shakespeare's Sonnets," Southern Review, V (1940), pp. 

340 Notes [pp. 244-248 

25. Cf. Irving Babbitt, The New Laokoon, 1910. 

The French poet Andre Chenier held the distinction between 
genres to be a phenomenon of nature. In "L'Invention," he writes: 

"La nature dicta vingt genres opposes 
D'un fil leger entre eux chez les Grecs divises; 
Nul genre, s'ecartant de ses bornes prescrites, 
N'aurait ose d'un autre envahir les lijnites." 

26. The social implications of the Renaissance genre hierarchy, long fa- 
miliar, are specifically studied in Vernon Hall's Renaissance Literary 
Criticism, New York, 1945. 

27. Van Tieghem, op. cit., p. 99. 

28. Cf., e.g., Warner F. Patterson's Three Centuries of Trench Poetic 
Theory . . . , Ann Arbor, 1935, Part III, for a list of medieval verse 
genres and sub-genres. 

29. Viktor Shklovsky, "Art as Device," Theory of Prose, Moscow, 1925. 
Cf. the article "Formalism," by R. Poggioli, in Shipley's Dictionary 
of World Literature, p. 254, also Kridl's essay, "Russian Formalism," 
American Bookman, I (1944), pp. 19-30. 

30. For the "rebarbarization" of literature, cf. the brilliant article, "Lit- 
erature" by Max Lerner and Edwin Mims, Jr., Encyclopaedia of the 
Social Sciences, IX (1933), pp. 523-43. 

31. Andre Jolles, Einfache Formen, Halle, 1930. Jolles' list corresponds 
roughly to the list of folk-types, or "forms of popular literature," 
studied by Alexander H. Krappe in his Scietice of Folk-Lore, London, 
1930: the Fairy Tale, the Merry Tale (or Fabliau), the Animal 
Tale, the Local Legend, the Migratory Legend, the Prose Saga, the 
Proverb, the Folk-Song, the Popular Ballad, Charms, Rhymes, and 

32. Ferdinand Brunetiere, L' Evolution des genres dans I'histoire de la 
littirature . . . , Paris, 1898. 

33. Van Tieghem, Helicon, I (1938), p. 99. 

34. Vietor has held both positions in turn: cf. his Geschichte der deutschen 
Ode (Munich, 1923) and "Probleme der literarischen Gattungsge- 
schichte," cited above; also Giinther Miiller, "Bemerkungen zur Gat- 
tungspoetik," Philosophischer Anzeiger, III (1929), pp. 129-47. 



I. S. C. Pepper, Basis of Criticism, Cambridge, Mass., 1 945, p. 33: 
"Definition — as the qualitative criterion of aesthetic judgment deter- 

pp. 249-253] Notes 341 

mining what is or is not an aesthetic value and whether its value is 
positive or negative. Intrinsic standards — as quantitative criteria deter- 
mining the amount of aesthetic value. . . . Standards are therefore 
derived from definitions: the quantitative criteria come from the 

2. We are talking now of "literature," using the word as a "qualitative cri- 
terion" (whether it is literary in its nature — literature and not science, 
social science, or philosophy) ; we are not using the word in its 
honorific, comparative sense, of "great literature." 

3. Pepper thus puts a parallel issue {pp. cit., p. 87 n.): "A hostile writer 
is likely to pose the dilemma: either explicit practical purpose with a 
definite conceptual goal aimed at and attained, or passive enjoyment 
without a goal. The Kantian antinomy and Bertram Morris' paradox 
of an aesthetic purpose that is not a set purpose break the dilemma open 
and strikingly exhibit this third sort of mental being which is neither 
conation nor sensation but a specific aesthetic activity." 

4. If one takes the inclusive view, he does not deny aesthetic value in 
literature, but asserts, coexistent with it, other values; and in his judg- 
ment of literature he either blends the ethico-political and the aesthetic 
or he makes a double judgment. Cf. N. Foerster, "The Aesthetic 
Judgment and the Ethical Judgment," The Intent of the Critic, 
Princeton, 1 94 1, p. 85. 

5. T. M. Greene, The Arts and the Art of Criticism, Princeton, 1940, 
p. 389. 

6. "The 'greatness' of literature cannot be determined solely by literary 
standards, though we must remember that whether it is literature or 
not can be determined only by literary standards." Essays Ancient and 
Modern, New York, 1936, p. 93. 

7. On Form, cf. W. P. Ker, Form and Style in Poetry, London, 1928, 
especially pp. 95-104 and pp. 137-45; C. La Driere, "Form," Dic- 
tionary of World Literature, p. 250 ff. ; R. Ingarden, Das literarische 
Kunstwerk, Halle, 193 I; "Das Form-Inhalt Problem im literarischen 
Kunstwerk," 1 93 1, Helicon, I (1938), pp. 51-67. 

8. Emil Lucka's brilliant essay, "Das Grundproblem der Dichtkunst," 
Zeitschrift fur Asthetik, XXII (1928), pp. 129-46, studies "wie sich 
Welt in Sprache verwandelt. . . ." In an unsuccessful poem or novel, 
says Lucka, "fehlt die Identitat von Welt und Sprache." 

9. Cf. Dorothy Walsh, "The Poetic Use of Language," Journal of Phi- 
losophy, XXXV (1938), pp. 73-81. 

10. J. Mukarovsky, Aesthetic Function, Norm, and Value as Social Facts, 
Prague, 1936, in Czech. 

342 Notes [pp. 253-259 

11. Pepper's "contextualistic" criticism seems largely relevant here, for its 
prime test is vividness, and its emphasis is on contemporary art as 
most likely to meet the test: ". . . if the art of an earlier age appeals 
to a later, it is often for other than the original reasons, so that . . . 
critics are required in each age to register the aesthetic judgments of 
that age." (Op. cit., p. 68.) 

12. George Boas, A Primer for Critics, Baltimore, 1937, p. 1 36 and 

13. T. S. Eliot, Use of Poetry, Cambridge, Mass., 1933, p. 153. 

14. This is Pepper's "organistic criticism" (op. cit., esp. p. 79) classically 
represented by Bosanquet's Three Lectures on Aesthetic, London, 

15. We have already cited Eliot's dictum. Reference should be made to 
the books of the English poet-critic, Lascelles Abercrombie, who has 
published a Theory of Poetry and also an Idea of Great Poetry. 

16. L. A. Reid, A Study in Aesthetics, London, 193 1, p. 225 ff., "Subject- 
matter, Greatness, and the Problem of Standards." 

17. T. M. Greene, The Arts and the Art of Criticism, Princeton, 1940, 
pp. 374 ff., 461 ff. 

18. Cf. particularly E. E. Stoll's "Milton a Romantic," From Shakespeare 
to Joyce, New York, 1944, and M. Praz's The Romantic Agony, 
London, 1933. 

19. Eliot, op. cit., p. 96. 

20. The whole subject of the novel (fictionality) in relation to human 
experience is fascinating and difficult. Cf. Jacques Barzun, "Our Non- 
Fiction Novelists," Atlantic Monthly, CLXXVIII (1946), pp. 129- 
32, and J. E. Baker, "The Science of Man," College English, VI 

(i945)> PP- 395-401. 

21. Tate, Reason in Madness, New York, 194 1, pp. 11 4-6. 

22. E. E. Kellett, The Whirligig of Taste, London, 1929, and Fashion in 
Literature, London, 1 93 1 ; F. P. Chambers, Cycles of Taste, Cam- 
bridge, Mass., 1928, and The History of Taste, New York, 1932; 
Henri Peyre, Writers and their Critics: a Study of Misunderstanding, 
Ithaca, 1944. 

23. "Multivalence": cf. George Boas, A Primer for Critics, Baltimore, 


24. F. Pottle, The Idiom of Poetry, Ithaca, 1 941 ; new ed., 1947. 

25. The critics of the eighteenth century "were unable to explain the 
virtues of the poetry of earlier periods, and, for that matter, of their 
own period" (Cleanth Brooks, "The Poem as Organism," English In- 
stitute Annual, ig^o, New York, 1941, p. 24). 

ff. 260-264] Notes 343 

26. "Dr. Johnson tried to describe Donne's poetry by its defects. . . ." 
"The best justice that we can do its shortcomings [those of metaphys- 
ical poetry] is to judge them by the normal standards of good poetry, 
and not to excuse them in the name of quaintness and intellectual frip- 
pery. Let Jonson be such a standard, and . . . the Donne tradition 
will be found to contain a large body of verse that meets the usual 
requirements of English poetry, and at times as well is the finest." 
(George Williamson, The Donne Tradition, Cambridge, Mass., 1 930, 
pp. 21, 211.) 

27. F. R. Leavis, Revaluation: Tradition and Development in English 
Poetry, London, 1936, p. 68 if. 

28. Vivas, "The Esthetic Judgment," Journal of Philosophy, XXXIII 
(1936), pp. 57-69. Cf. Bernard Heyl, New Bearings in Esthetics and 
Art Criticism, New Haven, 1943, p. 91 ff., especially p. 123. Heyl 
rules out the extremes of "objectivism" and (much more easily) of 
"subjectivism" in order to expound "relativism," intended as a sen- 
sible via media. 

29. "Eriger en lois ses impressions personnelles, c'est le grand effort d'un 
homme s'il est sincere." Eliot quotes this, from de Gourmont's Lettres 
a V 'Amazon, as epigraph to his essay, "The Perfect Critic/' opening 
The Sacred Wood, 1920. 

30. As does Mr. Heyl {New Bearings, p. 91). 


Literary History 

1. Thomas Warton, History of English Poetry, I (1774), p. ii. A fuller 
discussion may be found in Rene Wellek's Rise of English Literary 
History, Chapel Hill, 1 941, pp. 1 66-20 1. 

2. Henry Morley, Preface to English Writers, I, London, 1864. 

3. Leslie Stephen, English Literature and Society in the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, London, 1904, pp. 14, 22. 

4. W. J. Courthope, A History of English Poetry, London, 1895, Vol. I, 
p. xv. 

5. Edmund Gosse, A Short History of Modem English Literature (Lon- 
don, 1897), Preface. 

6. Cf. letter to F. C. Roe, March 19, 1924, quoted by Evan Charteris, 
The Life and Letters of Sir Edmund Gosse, London, 1931, p. 477. 

7. Cf. the quotations in Oliver Elton's lecture on Saintsbury, Proceedings 
of the British Academy, XIX (1933), and Dorothy Richardson, 
"Saintsbury and Art for Art's Sake," PMLA, LIX (1944), pp. 243-60. 

344 Notes [fp. 264-273 

8. Oliver Elton, A Survey of English Literature, 1780-1830, London, 
191 2, Vol. I, p. vii. 

9. L. Cazamian, U Evolution fsychologique de la litterature en Angle- 
terre, Paris, 1920, and the second half of E. Legouis and L. Cazamian, 
Histoire de la litterature anglaise, Paris, 1924. 

10. W. P. Ker, "Thomas Warton" (1910), Essays, London, 1922. Vol. I, 
p. 100. 

11. T. S. Eliot, "Tradition and Individual Talent," The Sacred Wood, 
London, 1920, p. 42. 

12. R. S. Crane, "History versus Criticism in the University Study of 
Literature," The English Journal, College Edition, XXIV (1935), 
pp. 645-67. 

13. F. J. Teggart, Theory of History, New Haven, 1925. 

14. Cf. bibliography, Section III. 

15. Cf. bibliography, Section III. 

16. R. D. Havens, Milton's Influence on English Poetry, Cambridge, 
Mass., 1922. 

1 7. Cf. these discussions: R. N. E. Dodge's "A Sermon on Source-hunt- 
ing," Modern Philology, IX (1911-12), pp. 211-23; Hardin Craig, 
"Shakespeare and Wilson's Arte of Rhetorique: An Inquiry into the 
Criteria for Determining Sources," Studies in Philology, XXVIII 
(193 1 ), pp. 86-98; George C. Taylor, "Montaigne — Shakespeare and 
the Deadly Parallel," Philological Quarterly, XXII (1943), pp. 330- 
37 (giving a curious list of the 75 types of evidence actually used in 
such studies) ; David Lee Clark, "What was Shelley's Indebtedness 
to Keats?" PMLA, LVI (1941), pp. 479-97 (an interesting refuta- 
tion of parallels drawn by J. L. Lowes). 

18. Cf. H. O. White, Plagiarism and Imitation during the English Renais- 
sance, Cambridge, Mass., 1935; Elizabeth M. Mann, "The Problem 
of Originality in English Literary Criticism, 1 750-1 800," Philo- 
logical Quarterly, XVIII (1939), pp. 97-118; Harold S. Wilson, 
"Imitation," Dictionary of World Literature (ed. J. T. Shipley), 
New York, 1943, pp. 315-17. 

19. Sidney Lee, Elizabethan Sonnets, 2 vols., London, 1904. 

20. Wolfgang Clemen, Shakesfeares Bilder, ihre Entzvicklung und ihre 
Funktionen im dramatischen Werk, Bonn, 1936. 

21. George Saintsbury, A History of English Prosody, 3 vols., 1 906-1 0; 
A History of English Prose Rhythm, Edinburgh, 1 91 2. 

22. Benedetto Croce, "Storia di temi e storia letteraria," Problemi di 
Estetica, Bari, 1 9 10, pp. 80-93. 

23. E.g., Andre Jolles, Einfache Formen, Halle, 1930; A. N. Veselovsky, 
Istoricheskaya Poetika, ed. V. M. Zhirmunsky, Leningrad, 1940 (a se- 

ft- 2 73~ 2 ^ 1 ] Notes 345 

lection from writings dating back, in part, to the 1870's); J. Jarcho, 
"Organische Struktur des russischen Schnaderhiipfels (castuska)," 
Germano-Slavica, III (1937), pp. 31-64 (an elaborate attempt to state 
the correlation between style and theme by statistical methods, draw- 
ing the evidence from a popular genre). 

24. W. W. Greg, Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama, London, 1906. 

25. C. S. Lewis, The Allegory of Love, Oxford, 1936. 

26. Karl Vietor, Geschichte der deutschen Ode, Munich, 1923; Giinther 
Muller, Geschichte des deutschen Liedes, Munich, 1925. 

27. Karl Vietor, "Probleme der literarischen Gattungsgeschichte," Deutsche 
Viertel jahrschrift fur Literaturzcissenschaft und G ' eistes geschichte, IX 
(193 1 ), pp. 425-47; Giinther Muller, "Bemerkungen zur Gattungs- 
poetik," Philosofhischer Anzeiger, III (1929), pp. 129-47. 

28. Arthur Symons, The Romantic Movement in English Poetry, London, 

29. Cf. J. Isaacs in the London Times Literary Supplement, May 9, 1935, 
' p. 301. 

30. The first to do so was apparently Thomas Shaw in Outlines of English 
Literature, London, 1849. 

31. Cf. A. O. Lovejoy, "On the Discrimination of Romanticisms," PMLA, 
XXXIX (1924), pp. 229-53. 

32. Cf. bibliography, Section I. 

33. Wilhelm Pinder, Das Problem der Generation, Berlin, 1926; Julius 
Petersen, "Die literarischen Generationen," Philosophie der Litera- 
turzcissenschaft (ed. Emil Ermatinger), Berlin, 1930, pp. 1 30-87; 
Eduard Wechssler, Die Generation als Jugendreihe und ihr Kamff 
um die Denkform, Leipzig, 1930; Detlev W. Schumann, "The Prob- 
lem of Cultural Age-Groups in German Thought: a Critical Review," 
PMLA, LI (1936), pp. 1 1 80-1 207, and "The Problem of Age- 
Groups: A Statistical Approach," PMLA, LII (1937), pp. 596-608; 
H. Peyre, Les Generations litteraires (Paris, 1948). 

34. Cf. bibliography, Section II. 

35. Jan Machal, Slovanske literatury, 3 vols., Prague, 1922-29, and 
Leonardo Olschki, Die romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters, 
Wildpark-Potsdam, 1928 (in Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft, ed. 
Oskar Walzel). 

36. August Wilhelm Schlegel, Uber dramatise he Kunst und Literatur, 3 
vols., Heidelberg, 1 809-1 1; Friedrich Schlegel, Geschichte der alten 
und neuen Litteratur, Vienna, 181 5. 

37. H. M. and N. K. Chadwick, The Growth of Literature, 3 vols., 
London, 1932, 1936, 1940. 

346 Notes [fp. 285-297 


The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 

1. Cf. bibliography, Section II, 1. 

2. Cf. bibliography, Section II, 2. 

3. Cf. bibliography, Section II, 3. 

4. Cf. } e.g., Daniel Mornet, "Comment etudier les ecrivains ou les ouv- 
rages de troisieme ou quatrieme ordre," Romanic Review, XXXVIII 

(i937)> PP- 204-16. 

5. Cf. bibliography, Section II, 3. 

6. Cf. bibliography, Section II, 4. 

7. Cf. bibliography, Section III. 

8. Cf. bibliography, Section IV. 

9. S. L. and L. C. Pressey and Elinor J. Barnes, "The Final Ordeal," 
Journal of Higher Education, III (1932), pp. 261-64. 

10. For good comments on this situation, cf. Christian Gauss, "More Hu- 
mane Letters," PMLA, LX (1945), pp. 1306-12; and Leo Spitzer, 
"Deutsche Literaturforschung in Amerika," Monatshefte fiir deutschen 
Unterricht, XXXVIII (1946), pp. 475-80. 

11. Cf. detailed recommendations in Norman Foerster, "The Teacher of 
Great Literature," Journal of General Education, I (1947), pp. 

12. Cf. Leo Spitzer, "A New Program for the Teaching of Literary His- 
tory," American Journal of Philology, LXIII (1942), pp. 308-19. 



Literature and Literary Study 


Baldensperger, Fernand, La Litterature: creation, succes, duree, Paris, 

191 3 j new ed., Paris, 191 9 
Croce, Benedetto, La Critica letteraria: Questions teoriche, Rome, 1894; 

reprinted in Primi Saggi (Second ed., Bari, 1927), pp. 77-199 
Cysarz, Herbert, Literaturgeschichte ah Geisteszvissenschaft, Halle, 1926 
Daiches, David, A Study of Literature, Ithaca, 1948 

Dragomirescou, Michel, La Science de la litterature, 4 vols., Paris, 1928-9 
Eckhoff, Lorentz, Den Nye Litteraturforskning: Syntetisk Metode, Oslo, 

Elster, Ernst, Prinzifien der Literaturzvissenschaft, 2 vols., Halle, 1897 

and 191 1 
Ermatinger, Emil (ed.), Die Philosofhie der Literaturzvissenschaft, Berlin, 

Foerster, Norman; McGalliard, John C. ; Wellek, Rene; Warren, Austin; 

Schramm, Wilbur Lang, Literary Scholarship: its Aims and Methods, 

Chapel Hill, 1 941 
Greenlaw, Edwin, The Province of Literary History, Baltimore, 1 93 1 
Guerard, Albert L., A Preface to World Literature, New York, 1 940 
Hyman, Stanley Edgar, The Armed Vision. A Study in the Methods of 

Modern Literary Criticism, New York, 1948 
Hytier, Jean, Les Arts de litterature, Paris, 1945 

Kridl, Manfred, Wstef do badan nad dzielem literackiem, Wilno, 1936 
Lacombe, Paul, Introduction a Phistoire litteraire, Paris, 1898 
Lanson, Gustave, "Histoire litteraire," De la methode dans les sciences, 

Deuxieme serie (Paris, 191 1), pp. 221-64 

, Methodes de Phistoire litteraire, Paris, 1925 

Morize, Andre, Problems and Methods of Literary History, Boston, 1922 
Moulton, R. G., The Modern Study of Literature, Chicago, 191 5 
Oppel, Horst, Die Literaturzvissenschaft in der Gegenzvart: Methodologie 

tind Wissenschaftslehre, Stuttgart, 1939 


348 Bibltografhy 

Petersen, Julius, Die Wissenschajt von der Dichtung: System und Metho- 

denlehre der Literaturzvissenschaft. I, Werk und Dichter, Berlin, 1939 
Renard, Georges, La Methode scientifique d'histoire litteraire, Paris, 1 900 
Reyes, Alfonso, El Deslinde: Prolegomenos a la teoria literaria, Mexico 

City, 1944 
Rudler, Gustave, Les Techniques de la critique et de Phistoire litteraire 

en litter ature frangaise moderne, Oxford, 1923 
Schiitze, Martin, Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts, 

Chicago, 1933 
Shipley, Joseph T. (ed.), Dictionary of World Literature: Criticism — 

Forms — Technique, New York, 1943 
Tomashevsky, Boris, Teoriya literatury: Poetika, Leningrad, 1925; sixth 

ed., 1931 
Vodicka, Felix, "Literarni historie: Jeji problemy a ukoly," Cteni jazyce 

a foesii (ed. B. Havranek and Jan Mukafovsky), Prague, 1942, pp. 

Walzel, Oskar, Gehalt und Gestalt im dichterischen Kunstzcerk, Berlin, 

Wellek, Rene, "The Theory of Literary History," Travaux du Cercle 

Linguistique de Prague, IV (1936), pp. 173-91 
Wosnessensky, A. N., "Der Aufbau der Literaturwissenschaft," ldealistische 

Philologie, III (1928), pp. 337-68 


The Nature of Literature 


Brooks, Cleanth, Jr., Modern Poetry and the Tradition, Chapel Hill, 1939 

, The Well Wrought Urn, New York, 1947 

Buhler, Karl, Sfrachtheorie, Jena, 1934 

Christiansen, Broder, Philosofhie der Kunst, Hanau, 1909 

Croce, Benedetto, Estetica come scienza delPexfressione e linguistica, Bari, 
1902 (English translation by Douglas Ainslie, London, 1929) 

■ , Poesia, Bari, 1936 

, "La Teoria dell'arte come pura visibilita," Nuovi Saggi di Es- 
tetica, Bari, 1920, pp. 239-54 

Dessoir, Max, Aesthetik und allgemeine Kunstwissenschaft, Stuttgart, 1906 

Eastman, Max, The Literary Mind, New York, 1931 

Eliot, T. S., The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, Cambridge, 
Mass., 1933 

Greene, Theodore Meyer, The Arts and the Art of Criticism, Princeton, 

Biblio grafhy 349 

Ingarden, Roman, Das literarische Kunstwerk, Halle, 1 93 1 

James, D. G., Scepticism and Poetry, London, 1937 

Lutzeler, Heinrich, Einfiihrung in die P hilosophie der Kunst, Bonn, 1934 

Meyer, Theodor A., Das Stilgesetz der Poesie, Leipzig, 1901 

Mukarovsky, Jan, "La denomination esthetique et la fonction esthetique 
de la langue," Actes du quatrieme congres international des linguistes, 
Copenhagen, 1938, pp. 98-104 

Morris, Charles, "Aesthetics and the Theory of Signs," Journal of Unified 
Science, VIII (1940), pp. 1 31-50 

, "Foundations for the Theory of Signs," International Encyclo- 
pedia of Unified Science, I, no. 2 
-, Signs, Language and Behavior, New York, 1 946 

Ogden, C. K., and Richards, I. A., The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of 
the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Sym- 
bolism, London, 1923; seventh ed., New York, 1945 
Pollock, Thomas C, The Nature of Literature, Princeton, 1942 
Pottle, Frederick A., The Idiom of Poetry, Ithaca, 1941; new enlarged 

ed., 1946 
Ransom, John Crowe, The New Criticism, Norfolk, Conn., 1 94 1 

, The World's Body, New York, 1938 

Richards, Ivor Armstrong, Principles of Literary Criticism, London, 1925 
Smith, Chard Powers, Pattern and Variation in Poetry, New York, 1932 
Staiger, Emil, Grundbegriffe der Poetik, Zurich, 1946 
Stauffer, Donald, The Nature of Poetry, New York, 1946 
Tate, Allen (ed.), The Language of Poetry, Princeton, 1942 (essays by 
Philip Wheelwright, I. A. Richards, Cleanth Brooks and Wallace 

, Reason in Madness: Critical Essays, New York, 1 94 1 

Wolff, E. G., Aesthetik der Dichtkunst: Systematik auf erkenntniskritischer 
Grundlage, Zurich, 1944 


The Function of Literature 


Eastman, Max, The Literary Mind: Its Place in an Age of Science, New 

York, 1935 
Feibleman, James, "The Logical Value of the Objects of Art," Journal of 

Aesthetics, I (1941), pp. 70-85 
Haines, George, "Art Forms and Science Concepts," Journal of Philosophy, 

XL (i943)> PP- 482-91 

350 Bibliography 

Harap, Louis, "What is Poetic Truth?" Journal of Philosophy, XXX 

0933)> PP. 477-88 
Hospers, John, Meaning and Truth in the Arts, Chapel Hill, 1946 
Meyer, Theodor A., "Erkenntnis unci Poesie," Zeitschrift fur Asthetik, 

XIV (1920), pp. 113-29 
Morris, Charles W., "Science, Art, and Technology," Kenyon Review, I 

(l939) 5 PP- 409-23 
Ransom, John Crowe, "The Pragmatics of Art," Kenyon Review, II 

(1940), pp. 76-87 
Roellinger, F. X., Jr., "Two Theories of Poetry as Knowledge," Southern 

Reviezu, VII (1942), pp. 690-705 
Tate, Allen, "Literature as Knowledge," Reason in Madness, New York, 

1 94 1, pp. 20-61 
Walsh, Dorothy, "The Cognitive Content of Art," Philosophical Review, 

LII (1943), pp. 433-51 
Wheelwright, Philip, "On the Semantics of Poetry," Kenyon Review, II 

(1940), pp. 263-83 


Literary Theory, History, and Criticism 


Brooks, Cleanth, "Literary Criticism," English Institute Essays 1946, New 
York, 1947, pp. 127-58 

, "The New Criticism and Scholarship," Twentieth Century Eng- 
lish (ed. William S. Knickerbocker, New York, 1946, pp. 371-83) 

Crane, Ronald S., "History versus Criticism in the University Study of 
Literature," English Journal (College Edition), XXIV (1935), pp. 

Feuillerat, Albert, "Scholarship and Literary Criticism," Yale Review, XIV 
(1924), pp. 309-24 

Foerster, Norman, "Literary Scholarship and Criticism," English Journal 
(College Edition), XXV (1936), pp. 224-32 

Jones, Howard Mumford, "Literary Scholarship and Contemporary Criti- 
cism," English Journal (College Edition), XXIII (1934), pp. 740-66 

Peyre, Henri, Writers and their Critics, Ithaca, 1944 

Teeter, Louis, "Scholarship and the Art of Criticism," ELH, V (1938), 

PP- 173-94 
Warren, Austin, "The Scholar and the Critic: An Essay in Mediation," 
The New Frontier, II (1935), pp. 1 7-22; reprinted in University of 
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chapter v 
National, Comparative, and General Literature 

Baldensperger, Fernand, "Litterature comparee: le mot et la chose," Revue 
de litterature comparee, I (1921), pp. 1-29 

Beil, E., Zur Entwicklung des Begrijfs der Weltliteratur, Leipzig, 191 5 
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Betz, L.-P., "Kritische Betrachtungen iiber Wesen, Aufgabe und Bedeut- 
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Brunetiere, Ferdinand, "La litterature europeenne," Revue des deux 
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Campbell, Oscar J., "What is Comparative Literature?" Essays in Memory 
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Croce, Benedetto, "La Letteratura comparata," Problemi di Estetica, Bari, 
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Farinelli, Arturo, 77 sogno di una letteratura mondiale, Rome, 1923 

Friederich, Werner P., "The Case of Comparative Literature," American 
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Hankiss, Jean, "Litterature Universelle?," Helicon, I (1938), pp. 156-71 

Holmes, T. Urban, Jr., "Comparative Literature: Past and Future," Studies 
in Language and Literature (ed. G. C. Coffman), Chapel Hill, 1945, 
pp. 62-73 

Merian-Genast, E. W., Voltaires Essai sur la poesie epique und die Ent- 
wicklung der Idee der Weltliteratur. Romanise he Forschungen, XL, 
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Partridge, Eric, "The Comparative Study of Literature," A Critical Med- 
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Peyre, Henri, Shelley et la France, La Caire, 1935, Introduction and 
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Posnett, Hutchison Macaulay, Comparatiz>e Literature, London, 1886 

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The Ordering and Establishing of Evidence 


Bedier, Joseph, "La tradition manuscrite du Lai de V Ombre: reflexions 
sur Part d'editer les anciens textes," Romania, LIV (1928), pp. 161- 
96, 321-56 

Birt, Theodor, Kritik und Hermeneutik, in Iwan von Muller's Handbuch 
der Altertumszvissenschaft, I, part 3, Munich, 1 91 3 

Chapman, R. W., "The Textual Criticism of English Classics," Portrait of 
a Scholar, Oxford, 1922, pp. 65-79 

Collomp, Paul, La Critique des textes, Paris, 1 93 I 

Greg, Walter Wilson, The Calculus of Variants, Oxford, 1 927 

, "Principles of Emendation in Shakespeare," Shakespeare Criti- 
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, "Recent Theories of Textual Criticism," Modern Philology, 

XXVIII (193 1 ), pp. 401-04 

Havet, Louis, Manuel de Critique verbale: Applique aux textes latins, 
Paris, 191 1 

Kantorowicz, Hermann, Einfiihrung in die Textkritik: System-atische Dar- 
stellung der texkritischen Grunds'dtze fur Philologen und Juristen, 
Leipzig, 1 92 1 

Maas, Paul, "Textkritik," in Gercke-Norden, Einleitung in die Alter- 
tumszcissenschaft, Vol. I, part 2, Leipzig, 1927 

Pasquali, Giorgio, Storia della tradizione e critica del testo, Florence, 1934 

Quentin, Dom Henri, Essais de Critique textuelle (Ecdotique), Paris, 1926 

Severs, J. Burke, "Quentin's Theory of Textual Criticism," English In- 
stitute Annual, 1941, New York, 1942, pp. 65-93 

Shepard, William, "Recent Theories of Textual Criticism," Modern 
Philology, XXVIII (1930), pp. 129-41 

Witkowski, Georg, Texkritik und Editionstechnik neuerer Schriftzverke, 
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Greg, Walter Wilson, "Bibliography — an Apologia," The Library, XIII 

(1933), PP- H3-43 
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in a Study of the Text of King Lear" Neophilologus, XVIII (1933), 

pp. 241-62 
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pp. 241-62 
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ciety, XII (191 2), pp. 39-53 

McKerrow, Ronald B., An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Stu- 
dents, Oxford, 1927 

Simpson, Percy, "The Bibliographical Study of Shakespeare," Oxford Bib- 
liographical Society Proceedings, I (1927), pp. 19-53 

Wilson, F. P., "Shakespeare and the 'New Bibliography,' " The Biblio- 
graphical Society, 1892-1942; Studies in Retrospect, London, 1945, 

PP- 76-135 
Wilson, John Dover, "Thirteen Volumes of Shakespeare: a Retrospect," 
Modern Language Review, XXV (1930), pp. 397-414 


Greg, W. W., The Editorial Problem in Shakespeare: A Survey of the 
Foundations of the Text, Oxford, 1942 

Leach, MacEdward, "Some Problems in Editing Middle English Manu- 
scripts," English Institute Annual, 1939, New York, 1940, pp. 130-51 

McKerrow, Ronald B., Prolegomena for the Oxford Shakespeare: a Study 
in Editorial Method, Oxford, 1939 

Stahlin, Otto, Edition stechnik, Leipzig-Berlin, 1 9 14 

Strich, Fritz, "Uber die Herausgabe gesammelter Werke," Festschrift 
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Literature and Biography 


Bush, Douglas, "John Milton," English Institute Essays, 1946, New York, 
1947, a part of the symposium "The Critical Significance of Bio- 
graphical Evidence," pp. 5-1 1 

354 Bibliography 

Cherniss, Harold, "The Biographical Fashion in Literary Criticism," Uni- 
versity of California Publications in Classical Philology, XII (1933- 
44), pp. 279-92 

Dilthey, Wilhelm, Das Erlebnis uni die Dichtung, Leipzig, 1907 

Fernandez, Ramon, "L'autobiographie et le Roman: L'exemple de Sten- 
dhal," Messages, Paris, 1926, pp. 78-109 

Gundolf, Friedrich, Goethe, Berlin, 1 91 6, Introduction 

Landa, Lewis, "Jonathan Swift," English Institute Essays, 1946, New 
York, 1947, a part of the symposium "The Critical Significance of 
Biographical Evidence," pp. 20-40 

Lee, Sir Sidney, Princifles of Biography, Cambridge, 191 1 

Lewis, C. S., and Tillyard, E. N. W., The Personal Heresy in Criticism, 
Oxford, 1934 

Maurois, Andre, Aspects ie la biographie, Paris, 1928 (English translation, 
Aspects of Biography, Cambridge, 1929) 

, "The Ethics of Biography," English Institute Annual, 1942, New 

York, 1943, pp. 6-28 

Sisson, C. J., The Mythical Sorrows of Shakespeare, British Academy Lec- 
ture, 1934, London, 1 934 

Stanfield, James Field, An Essay on the Study and Composition of 
Biography, London, 18 13 

White, Newman I., "The Development, Use, and Abuse of Interpretation 
in Biography," English Institute Annual, 1042, New York, 1943, 
pp. 29-58 


Cross, Wilbur L., An Outline of Biography from Plutarch to Strachey, 

New York, 1924 
Dunn, Waldo, English Biography, London, 19 16 
Johnson, Edgar, One Mighty Torrent: The Drama of Biography, New 

York, 1937 
Longaker, Mark, Contemporary Biography, Philadelphia, 1935 

, English Biography in the Eighteenth Century, Philadelphia, 1 93 I 

Misch, Georg, Geschichte der Autobiographic, Leipzig-Berlin, 1907 

(Second ed., 1 93 1 . But one volume published) 
Nicolson, Harold, The Development of English Biography, London, 1927 
O'Neill, Edward H., A History of American Biography, 1800-1935, 

Philadelphia, 1935 
Stauffer, Donald A., The Art of Biography in Eighteenth Century Eng- 
land, 2 vols., Princeton, 1941 

, English Biography before 1700, Cambridge, Mass., 1930 

Stuart, Duan Reed, Epochs of Greek and Roman Biography, Berkeley, 
Calif., 1928 

Biblio grafhy 355 


Literature and Psychology 


Arnheim, Rudolf, et al., Poets at Work, New York, 1948 

Auden, W. H., "Psychology and Art," The Arts Today (ed. Geoffrey 

Grigson), London, 1935, pp. I-21 
Austin, Mary, "Automatism in Writing," XJnf artisan Review, XIV (1920), 

PP- 336-47 
Bartlett, F. C, "Types of Imagination," Journal of Philosophical Studies, 

III (1928), pp. 78-85 
Beguin, Albert, Uame romantique et le reve: essai sur le romantisme 

allemand et la foesie franqaise, 2 vols., Marseilles, 1937; new ed., 1 

vol., Paris, 1 946 
Berkelman, Robert G., "How to Put Words on Paper" (on writers' methods 

of work), Saturday Review of Literature, XXVIII (Dec. 29, 1945), 

pp. 18-19 
Biihler, Charlotte, "Erfindung und Entdeckung: Zwei Grundbegriffe der 

Literaturpsychologie," Zeitschrift fur Asthetik, XV (1921), pp. 43- 

Bullough, Edward, "Mind and Medium in Art," British Journal of Psy- 
chology, XI ( 1 920-1), pp. 26-46 
, "Psychical Distance as a Factor in Art and an Aesthetic Principle," 

British Journal of Psychology, V (1912-13), pp. 87-118. Reprinted, 

with the omission of the last eleven pages, in M. Rader's Modern Book 

of Aesthetics, New York, 1935 
-, "The Relation of Aesthetics to Psychology," British Journal of 

Psychology, X (1919-20), pp. 43-50 

Busemann, A., "Uber lyrische Produktivitat und Lebensablauf," Zeit- 
schrift fur angezvandte Psychologie, XXVI (1926), pp. 177-201 

Chandler, Albert R., Beauty and Human Nature: Elements of Psycho- 
logical Aesthetics, New York, 1934 

Delacroix, Henri, Psychologie de Part, Paris, 1927 

de Vries, Louis Peter: The Nature of Poetic Literature, Seattle, 1930 

Dilthey, W., Das Erlebnis und die Dichtung, Leipzig, 1922 

, "Die Einbildungskraft des Dichters," Gesammelte Schriften, 

Vol. VI, Leipzig, 1924, pp. 103-241 

Downey, June, Creative Imagination, London, I9 2 9 

Frey, Dagobert, "Das Kunstwerk als Willensproblem," Zeitschrift fur 
Asthetik, XXV (Beilage), 193 1, pp. 231-44 

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Hargreaves, H. L., "The 'Faculty' of Imagination," British Journal of 
Psychology, Monograph Supplement, III, 1927 

Hill, J. C, "Poetry and the Unconscious," British Journal of Medical 
Psychology, IV (1924), pp. 125-33 

Koffka, K., "Problems in the Psychology of Art," Art, A Symposium, Bryn 
Mazvr Notes and Monographs, IX (1940), pp. 180-273 

Kreibig, J., "Beitrage zur Psychologie des Kunstschaffens," Zeitschrift filr 
Asthetik, IV (1909), pp. 532-58 

Kretschmer, E., Physique and Character (tr. Sprott), New York, 1925 

Kroh, E., "Eidetiker unter deutschen Dichtern," Zeitschrift filr Psy- 
chologic, LXXXV (1920), pp. 118-62 

Lee, Vernon, "Studies in Literary Psychology," Contemporary Reviezv, 
LXXXIV (1903), pp. 713-23 and 856-64; LXXXV (1904), pp. 

Lowes, J. L., The Road to Xanadu: A Study in the Ways of the Imagina- 
tion, Boston, 1927 

Marrett, R. R., Psychology and Folk-lore, London, Methuen, 1920 

Moog, Willy, "Probleme einer Psychologie der Literatur," Zeitschrift filr 
Psychologie und Physiologie der Sinnesorgane, CXXIV (1932), pp. 

Miiller-Freienfels, R., Psychologie der Kunst, 2 vols., 2nd ed., Leipzig, 

, "Die Aufgaben einer Literaturpsychologie," Das literarische Echo, 

XVI (1913-14), pp. 805-11 

Munro, Thomas, "Methods in the Psychology of Art," Journal of Aes- 
thetics, VI (1948), pp. 225-35 

Nixon, H. K., Psychology for the Writer, New York, 1928 

Perky, C. W., "An Experimental Study of Imagination," American Journal 
of Psychology, XXI (1910), pp. 422-52 

Plaut, Paul, Psychologie der produktiven Personlichkeit, Stuttgart, 1929 

Pongs, Hermann, "L'image poetique et l'inconscient," Journal de Psy- 
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Reicke, Use, "Das Dichten in psychologischer Betrachtung," Zeitschrift 
filr Asthetik, X (191 5), pp. 290-345 

Ribot, Th., JJ imagination crcatrice, Paris, 1900 

Rusu, Liviu, Essai sur la creation artistique, Paris, 1935 

Sartre, Jean P., L' Imagination, Paris, 1936 

Sterzinger, Othmar H., Grundlinien der Kunstpsychologie, Vols. I and II, 
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Tsanoff, Radoslav A., "On the Psychology of Poetic Construction," 
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Vaughan, Wayland F., "The Psychology of Compensation," Psychological 

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Baudouin, Charles, Psychoanalysis and Aesthetics (tr. of Le symbole chez 
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Literature and Society 


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Guerard, Albert Leon, Literature and Society, New York, 1935 
Guyau, J., Uart au foint de vue sociologique, Paris, 1889 
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Sciences, IX (1933), pp. 523-43 
Levin, Harry, "Literature as an Institution," Accent, VI (1946), pp. 
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New York, 1948, pp. 546-53 
Niemann, Ludwig, Soziologie des naturalistischen Romans, Berlin, 1934 

(Germanische Studien 148) 
Read, Herbert, Art and Society, London, 1937 

Schiicking, Levin, Die Soziologie der literarischen Geschmacksbildung, 
Munich, 1923. (Second, enlarged ed., Leipzig, 193 1; English trans- 
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Witte, W., "The Sociological Approach to Literature," Modern Language 

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Beljame, Alexandre, Le Public et les Hommes des Lettres en Angleterre 

au XV IIP siecle: Dry den, Addison et Pope, Paris, 1883 
Collins, A. S., Authorship in the Days of Johnson, New York, 1927 

, The Profession of Letters (1780-1832), New York, 1928 

Holzknecht, Karl J., Literary Patronage in the Middle Ages, Philadelphia, 

Levy, Robert, Le Micenat et P organisation du credit intell ectuel , Paris, 

Martin, Alfred von, Soziologie der Renaissance, Stuttgart, 1932 (English 

translation, Sociology of the Renaissance, London, 1944) 
Overmyer, Grace, Government and the Arts, New York, 1 939 
Sheavyn, Phoebe, The Literary Profession in the Elizabethan Age, Man- 
chester, 1909 



Burgum, Edwin Berry, The Novel and the World's Dilemma, New York, 

Burke, Kenneth, Attitudes towards History, 2 vols., New York, 1937 
Caudwell, Christopher, Illusion and Reality, London, 1937 
Cohen, Morris R., "American Literary Criticism and Economic Forces," 

Journal of the History of Ideas, I (1940), pp. 369-74 
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Iskowicz, Marc, La litterature a la lumiere du materialisme historique, 
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Jackson, T. A., Charles Dickens. The Progress of a Radical, New York, 

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Lifshitz, Mikhail, The Philosophy of Art of Karl Marx (tr. from Russian; 

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Literature and Ideas 


Gilson, Etienne, Les idles et les lettres, Paris, 1932 

Glockner, Hermann, "Philosophic und Dichtung: Typen ihrer Wechsel- 

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-, "Reply to Professor Spitzer," Ibid., V (1944), pp. 204- 1 9 

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1936, pp. 275-88. (Reprinted in M. D. Zabel [ed.], Literary Opin- 
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Stace, W. T., The Meaning of Beauty: A Theory of Aesthetics (London, 
1929), especially 164 ff. 

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of Philosophy, XL (1943), pp. 281-99 

Unger, Rudolf, Aufs'dtze %ur Prinzipienlehre der Liter aturgeschichte, 2 
vols., Berlin, 1929. (Vol. I contains "Literaturgeschichte als Problem- 
geschichte," "Literaturgeschichte und Geistesgeschichte," "Philo- 
sophische Probleme der neueren Literaturwissenschaft," "Weltan- 
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schaffen," Marburger Beitrage zur romanischen Philologie, IX 
(1911), 46 pp. 


Literature and the Other Arts 


Binyon, Laurence, "English Poetry in its Relation to Painting and the 
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Combarieu, Jules, Les Raf forts de la musique et de la poesie, Paris, 1894 

Greene, Theodore Meyer, The Arts and the Art of Criticism, Princeton, 

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Paris, 1933 

Medicus, Fritz, "Das Problem einer vergleichenden Geschichte der 
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Berlin, 1930, pp. 188-239 

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Read, Herbert, "Parallels in English Painting and Poetry," In Defence of 
Shelley and other Essays, London, 1936, pp. 233-48 

Sachs, Curt, The Commonwealth of Art: Style in the Arts, Music and the 
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Vossler, Karl, "Uber wechselseitige Erhellung der Kunste," Festschrift 
Heinrich Wolfflin zum yo. Geburtstag, Dresden, 1935, pp. 160-67 

Walzel, Oskar, Gehalt und Gestalt im Kunstwerk des Dichters, Berlin- 
Potsdam, 1923, esp. pp. 265 ff. and 282 ff. 

, Wechselseitige Erhellung der Kunste, Berlin, 191 7 

Wais, Kurt, Symbiose der Kunste, Stuttgart, 1936 

, "Vom Gleichlauf der Kunste," Bulletin of the International 

Committee of the Historical Sciences, IX (1937), pp. 295-304 

Wellek, Rene, "The Parallelism between Literature and the Arts," English 
Institute Annual, 1941, New York, 1942, pp. 29-63 



Baldensperger, F., Sensibilite musicale et romantisme, Paris, 1925 

Bontoux, Germaine, La Chanson en Angleterre au temps de Elizabeth, 
Paris, 1938 

Fairchild, Arthur H. R., Shakespeare and the Arts of Design {Architec- 
ture, Sculpture, and Painting), Columbia, Miss., 1937 

Fehr, Bernhard, "The Antagonism of Forms in the Eighteenth Century," 
English Studies, XVIII (1936), pp. 11 5-21, 193-205; XIX (1937), 
pp. 1-13, 49 _ 57- (Reprinted in Von Englands geistigen Bestanden, 
Frauenfeld, 1944, pp. 59-118) 

Frey, Dagobert, Gotik und Renaissance als Grundlagen der modernen 
Weltanschauung, Augsburg, 1929 

Hassold, Ernest C, "The Baroque as a Basic Concept of Art," College Art 
Journal, VI (1946), pp. 3-28 

Hautecoeur, Louis, Litter ature et feinture en France du XVI I e au XX e 
siecle, Paris, 1942 

Hautmann, Max, "Der Wandel der Bildvorstellungen in der deutschen 
Dichtung und Kunst des romanischen Zeitalters," Festschrift Heinrich 
Wolfflin, Munich, 1924, pp. 63-81 

Larrabee, Stephen A., English Bards and Grecian Marbles: The Relation- 
ship between Sculpture and Poetry, New York, 1943 

Manwaring, Elizabeth W., Italian Landscape in Eighteenth Century Eng- 
land, New York, 1 92 5 

Seznec, Jean, "Flaubert and the Graphic Arts," Journal of the Warburg 
and Courtauld Institutes, VIII (1945), pp. 175-90 

Smith, Warren H., Architecture in English Fiction, New Haven, 1934 

364 Bibliography 

Tinker, Chauncey Brewster, Painter and Poet: Studies in the Literary Re- 
lations of English Painting, Cambridge, Mass., 1938 
Webster, Thomas B. L., Greek Art and Literature 530-400 B.C., Oxford, 

Wellek, Rene, "The Concept of Baroque in Literary Scholarship," The 

Journal of Aesthetics, V (1946), pp. 7 7-1 09 
Wind, Edgar, "Humanitatsidee und heroisches Portrat in der englischen 
Kultur des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts," Vortrage der Bibliothek War- 
burg, 1930-31, Leipzig, 1932, pp. 156-229 


The Analysis of the Literary Work of Art 


Conrad, Waldemar, "Der aesthetische Gegenstand," Zeitschrift filr As- 

thetik, III (1908), pp. 71-118, and IV (1909), pp. 400-55 
Hartmann, Nikolai, Das Problem des geistigen Seins, Berlin, 1 93 3 
Husserl, Edmund, Meditations Cartesiennes, Paris, 1 93 1 
Ingarden, Roman, Das literarische Kunstzverk, Halle, 193 I 
Joad, C. E. M., Guide to Philosophy (New York, 1935), pp. 267-70 
Miiller, Giinther, "Uber die Seinsweise von Dichtung," Deutsche Viertel- 
jahrschrift filr Literaturwissenschaft und Geistesgeschichte, XVII 

(1939), PP- 137-53 
Wellek, Rene, "The Theory of Literary History," Travaux du Cercle Lin- 
guist iqtie de Prague, VI (1936), pp. 1 7 3-9 1 


Biihler, Karl, "Phonetik und Phonologie," Travaux du Cercle Linguistique 
de Prague, IV (1931), pp. 22-52 

Groot, A. W. de, "Phonologie und Phonetik als Funktionswissenschaften," 
Ibid., pp. 1 16-47 

Mathesius, Vilem, "Ziele und Aufgaben der vergleichenden Phonologie," 
Xenia Pragensia, Prague, 1 929, pp. 432-45 

Mukarovsky, Jan, "La phonologie et la poetique," Travaux du Cercle Lin- 
guistique de Prague, IV (193 1 ), pp. 278-88 

Sapir, Edward, "Sound Patterns in Language," Language, I (1925), pp. 

Trubetzkoy, N. S., Grundzuge der Phonologie {Travaux du Cercle Lin- 
guistique de Prague, 7), Prague, 1939 
Twaddell, W. F., On Defining the Phoneme, Baltimore, 1935 

, "Phonemics," Monatshefte filr deutschen Unterricht (Madison, 

Wis.), XXXIV (1942), pp. 262-8 

Bibliography 365 

Vachek, Josef, "Several Thoughts on Several Statements of the Phoneme 

Theory," American Speech, X (1935), pp. 243-55 
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Brunot, F., "Explications frangaises," Revue universitaire, IV (1895), pp. 
113-28, 263-87 

Hatzfeld, Helmut, Einfiihrung in die Interpretation neufranzosicher 
Texte, Munich, 1922 

Lanson, Gustave, "Quelques mots sur l'explication de textes," Methodes 
de Vhistoire litteraire, Paris, 1925, pp. 38-57 

Roustan, M., Precis d' explication francaise, Paris, 191 1 

Rudler, Gustave, L 'explication francaise, Paris, 1902 

Vigneron, Robert, Explication de Textes and Its Adaptation to the Teach- 
ing of Modem Languages, Chicago, 1928 


Blackmur, Richard P., The Double Agent, New York, 1935 

, The Expense of Greatness, New York, 1940 

Brooks, Cleanth, Modem Poetry and the Tradition, Chapel Hill, 1939 
(and Robert Penn Warren), Understanding Poetry, New York, 


-, The Well Wrought Urn, New York, 1947 

Cohen, Gustave, Essai d' explication du "Cimitiere marin" Paris, 1933 

Crane, Ronald S., "Interpretation of Texts and the History of Ideas," 
College English, II (1941), pp. 755-65 

Empson, William, Seven Types of Ambiguity, London, 1930 (new ed., 
New York, 1948) 

, Some Versions of Pastoral, London, 1935 (American title: Eng- 
lish Pastoral Poetry, New York, 1938) 

Etienne, S., Experiences d'analyse textuelle en vue d* explication litteraire, 
Paris, 1935 

Hess, Hans, "Victor Hugos Gedicht vom Spinnrad der Omphale," Archiv 
fur das Studium der neueren Sprachen, LXXXXVIII (1934), pp. 

Leavis, F. R., Nezv Bearings in English Poetry, London, 1932 

, Revaluation: Tradition and Development in English Poetry, 

London, 1936. (Reprinted, New York, 1947) 

Olson, Elder, "Rhetoric and the Appreciation of Pope," Modem Philol- 
ogy, XXXVII (1939), pp. 13-35 

, "Sailing to Byzantium: Prolegomena to a Poetics of the Lyric," 

University Review (Kansas City), VIII (1942), pp. 209-19 

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Ransom, John Crowe, The New Criticism, Norfolk, Conn., 1 94 1 
, The World's Body, New York, 1938 

Richards, I. A., Practical Criticism, London, 1929 

Spitzer, Leo, "Etude ahistorique d'un texte," Modem Language Quarterly, 

I (1940), pp. 7" 22 

, "History of Ideas versus Reading of Poetry," Southern Review, 

VI (1940), pp. 584-609 

, JJ amour lointain de Jaufre Rudel et le sens de la poe-sie des trou- 
badours, Chapel Hill, 1944 (University of North Carolina Studies in 
Romance Languages and Literatures. No. 5) 
-, Stilstudien, 2 vols., Munich, 1928 

Tate, Allen, Reactionary Essays on Poetry and Ideas, New York, 1936 

, Reason in Madness, New York, 1 94 1 

Unger, Leonard, "Notes on Ash Wednesday" Southern Review, IV 

(i939)> PP- 745-70 
Vossler, Karl, Leopardi, Munich, 1923 
Walzel, Oskar, Gehalt und Gestalt im dichterischen Kunstwerk, Berlin, 

1923 (part of series: Handbuch der Literaturwissenschaft, ed. 

O. Walzel) 
, Das Wort kunstwerk: Mittel seiner Erforschung, Leipzig, 1926 


Coomaraswamy, Amanda K., "Intention," American Bookman, I (1944), 
pp. 41-8 

Walcutt, Charles Child, "Critic's Taste and Artist's Intention," The Uni- 
versity of Kansas City Review, XII (1946), pp. 278-83 

Walzel, Oskar, "Kiinstlerische Absicht," Germanisch-romanische Monats- 
schrift, VIII (1920), pp. 329-31 

Wimsatt, W. K., Jr., and Beardsley, Monroe C, "Intention," Dictionary 
of World Literature (ed. J. T. Shipley), New York, 1944, pp. 

, "The Intentional Fallacy," Sewanee Review, LIV (1946), pp. 



Euphony, Rhythm, and Meter 


Bate, Walter Jackson, The Stylistic Development of Keats, New York, 

Brik, Osip, "Zvukovie povtory" (Sound-patterns), Poetika, Petersburg, 

Ehrenfeld, A., Studien %ur Theorie des Reims, 2 vols., Zurich, 1897, 1904 

Bibliografhy 367 

Chapin, Elsa, and Russell, Thomas, A New Approach to Poetry, Chicago, 

Gabrielson, Arnid, Rime as a criterion of the pronunciation of Spenser, 
Pope, Byron, ani Szvinburne, Uppsala, 1909 

Knauer, Karl, "Die klangaesthetische Kritik des Wortkunstwerks am 
Beispiele franzosischer Dichtung," Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift jiir 
Liter aturwissenschajt und Geistesgeschichte, XV (1937), pp. 69-91 

Lanz, Henry, The Physical Basis of Rime, Stanford University Press, 1 93 1 

Masing, W., Sprachliche Musik in Goethes Lyrik, Strassburg, 19 10 

Richardson, Charles F., A Study of English Rhyme, Hanover, N. H., 1909 

Servien, Pius, Lyrisme et structures sonores, Paris, 1930 

Snyder, Edward D., Hypnotic Poetry: A Study of Trance-Inducing Tech- 
nique in Certain Poems and its Literary Significance, Philadelphia, 

Vossler, Karl, "Stil, Rhythmus und Reim in ihrer Wechselwirkung bei 
Petrarca und Leopardi," Miscellanea di studi critici . . . in onore di 
Arturo Graf, Bergamo, 1903, pp. 453-81 

Wilson, Katharine M., Sound and Meaning in English Poetry, London, 

Wimsatt, W. K., Jr., "One Relation of Rhyme to Reason," Modern Lan- 
guage Quarterly, V (1944), pp. 323-38 

Wyld, Henry C, Studies in English Rhymes from Surrey to Pope, London, 

Zhirmunsky, Viktor, Rifma, ee istoria i teoriya (Rhyme, its History and 
Theory), Petrograd, 1 923 

Zschech, Fritz, Die Kritik des Reims in England, Berlin, 1 91 7 ("Berliner 
Beitrage zur germanischen und romanischen Philologie," vol. 50) 


Blass, Fr., Die Rhythmen der antiken Kunstprosa, Leipzig, 190 1 

Cherel, A., La Prose poetique francaise, Paris, 1 940 

Clark, A. C, The Cursus in Medieval and Vulgar Latin, Oxford, 1910 

, Prose Rhythm in English, Oxford, 1913 

Classe, Andre, The Rhythm of English Prose, Oxford, 1939 

Croll, Morris W., "The Cadence of English Oratorical Prose," Studies in 

Philology, XVI (1919), pp. 1-55 
Elton, Oliver, "English Prose Numbers," A Sheaf of Papers, London, 

1922, pp. 130-63 
Fijn van Draat, P., "Rhythm in English Prose," Anglia, XXXVI (191 2), 

pp. 1-58 
, "Voluptas Aurium," Englische Studien, XL VIII (1914-15), pp. 


368 Bibliography 

Groot, A. W. de, A Handbook of Antique Prose-Rhythm, Groningen, 
1 91 9, Vol. I 

, "Der Rhythmus," Neophilologus, XVII (1931), pp. 81-100, 

177-97, 241-65 
Martin, Eugene-Louis, Les Symmetries du frangais litteraire, Paris, 1924 
Norden, Eduard, Die antike Kunstprosa, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1898 
Patterson, W. M., The Rhythm of Prose, New York, 1916. (Columbia Uni- 
versity Studies in English No. 27) 
Scott, John Hubert, Rhythmic Prose. (University of Iowa Studies. Hu- 
manistic Studies, III, No. 1), Iowa City, 1925 
Sekel, Dietrich, Holderlins Sfrachrhythmus, Leipzig, 1937 
Servien, Pius, Les rhythmes comme introduction physique a Pesthetique, 

Paris, 1930 
Vinogradov, Viktor, "Ritm prozy (po Pikovej dame)" (Prose Rhythm, ac- 
cording to the Queen of Spades), O Stiche, Statyi (On Verse, Essays), 
Leningrad, 1929 


1. Work in English 

Barkas, Pallister, A Critique of Modern English Prosody, 1880-1030 
(Studien zur englischen Philologie, ed. Morsbach and Hecht, 82), 
Halle, 1934 
Baum, P. F., The Principles of English Versification, Cambridge, 1922 
Croll, Morris W., "Music and metrics," Studies in Philology, XX (1923), 

pp. 388-94 
Dabney, I. P., The Musical Basis of Verse, New York, 1901 
Jacob, Cary T., The Foundation and Nature of Verse, New York, 1 9 1 8 
Lanier, Sidney, Science of English Verse, New York, 1880 (New ed. with 
introduction by P. F. Baum in Centennial Edition, ed. Charles An- 
derson, Baltimore, 1945, Vol. II, pp. vii-xlviii) 
Omond, T. S., English Metrists, Oxford, 192 1 
Pope, John C, The Rhythm of Beowulf, New Haven, 1942 
Schramm, Wilbur Lang, Approaches to a Science of Verse, Iowa City, 1935. 
(University of Iowa Studies, Series on Aims and Progress of Re- 
search), No. 46 
Stewart, George R., Jr., Modern Metrical Techniques as Illustrated by 

Ballad Meter, ijoo-ig2o, New York, 1922 
, The Technique of English Verse, New York, 1930 

2. Some Work in French, German, Russian and Czech 
Benoist-Hanappier, Louis, Die freien Rhythmen in der deutschen Lyrik, 
Halle, 1905 

Bibliography 369 

Eikhenbaum, Boris, Melodika lyricheskogo stikha (The Melody of Lyrical 

Verse), St. Petersburg, 1922 
Fraenkel, Eduard, Iktus. und Akzent im lateinischen Sprechvers, Berlin, 

Grammont, Maurice, Le Vers francais. Ses moyens d ) 'expression, son har- 

monie, Paris, 191 3 (fourth ed., 1937) 
Heusler, Andreas, Deutsche Versgeschichte, 3 vols., Berlin, 1925-29 
, Deutscher und antiker Vers, Strassburg, 191 7 (Quellen und 

Forschungen, 123) 
Jakobson, Roman, O cheshkom stikhe (On Czech Verse), Berlin, 1923 
,"Uber den Versbau der serbokroatischen Volksepen," Archives 

neerlandaises de phonetique experimental e, VIII-IX (1933)) pp. 

Lote, G., Ualexandrin frangais d'aprls la phonetique experimental e, Paris, 


Meillet, Antoine, Les origines indo-europeennes des metres grecs, Paris, 

Morier, Henri, Le rhythme du vers libre symboliste etudie chez V erhaeren, 

Henri de Regnier, Viele-Griffin et ses relations avec le sens, 3 vols., 

Geneve, 1943-44 
Mukarovsky, Jan, "Dejiny ceskeho verse" ("The History of Czech 

Verse"), Ceskoslovenska vlastiveda, Prague, 1934, Vol. Ill 
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neerlandaises de phonetique experimentale, VIII-IX (1933), pp. 


Saran, Franz, Deutsche Verslehre, Munich, 1907 

, Der Rhythmus des franzosichen Verses, Halle, 1 904 

Scripture, E. W., Grundziige der englischen Verswissenschajt, Marburg, 

Sievers, Wilhelm, Rhythmisch-melodische Studien, Heidelberg, 191 2 

, Altgermanische Metrik, Leipzig, 1893 

Tomashevsky, Boris, Ruskoe stikhoslozhenye: Metrika {Russian Versifica- 
tion: Metrics), St. Petersburg, 1923 

, O Stikhe: Statyi. (On Verse: Essays.) Leningrad, 1929 

Tynyanov, Yuryi N., Problemy stikhotvornago yazyka [Problems of Poetic 
Language), St. Petersburg, 1924 

Verrier, Paul, Essai sur les principes de la metrique anglaise, 3 vols., Paris, 

Zhirmunsky, Viktor, Kompozitsiya lyricheskikh stikhotvorenii (The Com- 
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Style and Stylistics 


Alonso, Amado, "The Stylistic Interpretation of Literary Texts," Modern 
Language Notes, LVII (1942), pp. 489-96 

Bally, Charles, Le Langage et la vie, Paris, 1926 (also Zurich, 1945) 

, Linguistique generale et linguistique francaise, Second ed., Paris, 


Bateson, F. W., English Poetry and the English Language, Oxford, 1 934 

Bertoni, Giulio, Lingua e Cultura, Florence, 1939 

, Lingua e Pensiero, Florence, 1932 

, Lingua e Poesia, Florence, 1937 

Brunot, Ferdinand, La Pensee et la langue, Third ed., Paris, 1936 

Castle, Eduard, "Zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Wortbegriffs Stil," 
Gerfnanisch-romanische Monatsschrift, VI (1914), pp. 153-60 

Cooper, Lane, Theories of Style, New York, 1907 

Elster, Ernst, Prinzifien der Literaturzvissenschaft, II, Halle, 191 1 (in- 
cludes treatment of stylistics) 

Gerber, Gustav, Sfrache als Kunst, 2 vols., Bromberg, 1871 (Second ed., 

Gourmont, Remy de, Le Problhne du style, Paris, 1902 

Hatzfeld, Helmut A., Nuevas investigaciones estilisticas en las literaturas 
romanicas, Prensas de la Universidad de Chile, 1946 

, "Romanistische Stilforschung: ein Ruckblick auf die letzten 

Jahre," Germanisch-romanische Monatsschrift, XVII (1929), pp. 

Kainz, Friedrich, "Vorarbeiten zu einer Philosophic des Stils," Zeitschrift 
fur Asthetik, XX (1926), pp. 21-63 

Leo, Ulrich, "Historie und Stilmonographie: Grundsatzliches zur Stil- 
forschung," Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift fiir Geistesgeschichte und 
Literaturwissenschaft, IX (1931), pp. 472-503 

Mapes, E. K., "Implications of Some Recent Studies on Style," Revue de 
littcrature comfaree, XVIII (1938), pp. 514-33 

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Archer, William, Playmaking, London, 191 2 

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Literary Genres 

Behrens, Irene, Die Lehre von der Einteilung der Dichtkunst: Beihefte 

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York, 1937), I, pp. 41-119 
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II (i939)> PP- 117-29 

Hartl, Robert, Versuch einer psychologischen Grundlegung der Dichtungs- 

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Kasus, Memorabile, Marchen, Witz, Halle, 1930 
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(1938), pp. 233-44; II (1940), pp. 135-47 
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Miiller, Gunther, "Bemerkungen zur Gattungspoetik," Philosophischer 

Anzeiger, III (1929), pp. 129-47 

, Geschichte des deutschen Liedes . . . , Munich, 1925 

Pearson, N. H., "Literary Forms and Types," . . . , English Institute 

Annual, 1040, New York, 194 1, pp. 61-72 
Petersen, Julius, "Zur Lehre von den Dichtungsgattungen," Festschrift 

fur August Sauer, Stuttgart, 1925, pp. 72-116 

Bibliografhy 379 

Petsch, Robert, Wesen und Formen der Erz'dhlkunst, Halle, 1934 

Staiger, Emil, Grundbegriffe der Poetik, Zurich, 1946 

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ter aturges chic hte y V (1892), pp. 35-51 

Van Tieghem, P., "La Question des genres litteraires," Helicon, I (1938), 
pp. 95-101 

Vie'tor, Karl, Geschichte der deutschen Ode, Munich, 1923 (Vol. I in 
Geschichte der deutschen Literatur nach Gattungen . . .) 

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(1931), pp. 425-47 

Whitmore, Charles E., "The Validity of Literary Definitions," PMLA, 
XXXIX (1924), pp. 722-36 



Alexander, Samuel, Beauty and Other Forms of Value, London, 1933 

Beriger, Leonhard, Die literarische Wertung, Halle, 1938 

Boas, George, A Primer for Critics, Baltimore, 1937 

Garnett, A. C, Reality and Value, New Haven, 1937 

Heyde, Johannes, Wert: eine fhilosofhische Grundlegung, Erfurt, 1926 

Heyl, Bernard C, New Bearings in Esthetics and Art Criticism: A Study 

in Setnantics and Evaluation, New Haven, 1943 
Laird, John, The Idea of Value, Cambridge, 1929 
Pell, Orlie A., Value-Theory and Criticism, New York, 1930 
Pepper, Stephen C, The Basis of Criticism in the Arts, Cambridge, Mass., 


Perry, Ralph B., General Theory of Value, New York, 1926 
Prall, David W., A Study in the Theory of Value, "University of Cali- 
fornia Publications in Philosophy," Vol. Ill, No. 2, 1921 
Reid, John R., A Theory of Value, New York, 1938 
Rice, Philip Blair, "Quality and Value," Journal of Philosophy, XL 

(i943)> PP- 337-48 
, "Towards a Syntax of Valuation," Journal of Philosophy, XLI 

(1944), pp. 331-63 
Stevenson, Charles L., Ethics and Language, New Haven, 1944 
Vivas, Eliseo, "A Note on Value," Journal of Philosophy, XXXIII (1936), 

pp. 568-75 
, "The Esthetic Judgment," Journal of Philosophy, XXXIII 

(1936), pp. 57-69 
Urban, Wilbur, Valuation: Its Nature and Laws, New York, 1 909 

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Literary History 


Cazamian, Louis, "La Notion de retours periodiques dans 1'histoire lit- 
teraire," Essais en deux langues, Paris, 1938, pp. 3-10 

, "Les Periodes dans Phistoire de la litterature anglaise moderne," 

Ibid., pp. 11-22 

Cysarz, Herbert, "Das Periodenprinzip in der Literaturwissenschaft," 
Philosofhie der Literaturwissenschaft (ed. E. Ermatinger), Berlin, 

1930, pp. 9 2 " I2 9 
Foerster, Max, "The Psychological Basis of Literary Periods," Studies for 

William A. Read, Louisiana, 1940, pp. 254-68 
Friedrich, H., "Der Epochebegriff im Lichte der franzosischen Prero- 

mantismeforschung," Neue Jahrbucher fiir Wissenschaft und Jugend- 

bildung, X (1934), pp. 124-40 
Meyer, Richard Moritz, "Prinzipien der wissenschaftlichen Perioden- 

bildung," Eufhorion, VIII (1901), pp. 1-42 
"Le Second Congres International d'histoire litteraire, Amsterdam, 1935: 

Les Periodes dans l'histoire litteraire depuis la Renaissance," Bulletin 

of the International Committee of the Historical Sciences, IX (1937), 

pp. 255-398 
Wellek, Rene, "Periods and Movements in Literary History," English In- 
stitute Annual, 1940, New York, 1941, pp. 73-93 
Wiese, Benno von, "Zur Kritik des geisteswissenschaftlichen Periodenbe- 

griffes," Deutsche Vierteljahrschrift filr Literaturwissenschaft und 

Geistesgeschichte, XI (1933), pp. 1 30-44 


i. Renaissance: 

Borinski, Karl, Die Weltwiedergeburtsidee in den neuere?i Zeiten. I. Der 
Streit um die Re?zaissance und die Entstehungsgeschichte der histor- 
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Burdach, Konrad, "Sinn und Ursprung der Worte Renaissance und Refor- 
mation," Reformation, Renaissance, Humanismus, Berlin, 1926, pp. 

Eppelsheimer, H. W., "Das Renaissanceproblem," Deutsche Vierteljahr- 
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Fife, R. H., "The Renaissance in a Changing World," Germanic Review, 

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Leipzig, 191 2 

2. Classicism: 

Moreau, Pierre, "Qu'est-ce qu'un classique? Qu'est-ce qu'un romantique?," 

Le Glassicisme des Romantiques, Paris, 1932, pp. 1-22 
Peyre, Henri, Le Classicisme francais, New York, 1942 (contains chapter 

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(1931), pp. 238-41 

5. Baroque: 

Wellek, Rene, "The Concept of Baroque in Literary Scholarship," Journal 
of Aesthetics, V (1946), pp. 7 7-1 09 (with full bibliography) 

4. Romanticism: 

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comfaree, V (1925), pp. 64 1 -5 8 
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Borgese, G. A., "Romanticism," Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, XIII 

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(1906), pp. 241-45 (reprinted in Problemi di estetica, Bari, 1910, 

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Kaufman, Paul, "Defining Romanticism: A Survey and a Program," 
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Lempicki, Sigmund von, "Biicherwelt und wirkliche Welt," Deutsche Vier- 
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Petersen, Julius, Die W esensbestimmung der deutschen Romantik, Leipzig, 

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Smith, Logan P., Tour Words: Romantic, Originality, Creative, Genius 
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5. Realism: 

Borgerhoff, E. B. O., "Realisme and Kindred Words: Their Use as a Term 
of Literary Criticism in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century," 
Publications of the Modern Language Association, LIII (1938), pp. 

83 7-43 
Weinberg, Bernard, French Realism: The Critical Reaction, 1830-70, 
Chicago, 1937 

6. Symbolism: 

Barre, Andre, Le Symbolisme, Paris, 191 1 

Martino, Pierre, Parnasse et symbolisme: 1850-1900, Paris, 1925, pp. 


Abercrombie, Lascelles, Progress in Literature, London, 1929 
Brunetiere, Ferdinand, V Evolution des genres dans Phistoire de la littera- 

ture, Paris, 1890 
Cazamian, Louis, UEvolution fsychologique de la litterature en Angle- 

terre, Paris, 1920 
Croce, Benedetto, "Categorismo e psicologismo nella storia della poesia," 

Ultimi Saggi, Bari, 1935, pp. 373-79 
, "La Riforma della Storia artistica e letteraria," Nuovi Saggi di 

Estetica, second ed., Bari, 1927, pp. 157-80 
Curtius, Ernst Robert, Ferdinand Brunetiere, Strassburg, 1914 
Driesch, Hans, Logische Studien ilber Entzvicklung, Sitzungsberichte der 

Heidelberger Akademie, Philosophisch-historische Klasse, 1 91 8, No. 3 
Kantorowicz, Hermann, "Grundbegriffe der Literaturgeschichte," Logos, 

XVIII (1929), pp. 102-21 

Bibliografhy 383 

Kautzsch, Rudolf, Der Begrijf der Entwicklung in der Kunstgeschichte, 
Frankfurter Universitatsreden, No. 7, Frankfurt, 191 7 

Manly, John Mathews, "Literary Forms and the New Theory of the 
Origin of Species," Modern Philology, IV (1907), pp. 577-95 

Mannheim, Karl, "Historismus," Archiv fur Sozialwissenschaft und Sozial- 
politik, LI I (1925), pp. 1-60 

Meinecke, Friedrich, "Kausalitaten und Werte in der Geschichte," His- 
torische Zeitschrift, CXXXVII (1918), pp. 1-27 

Payne, W. M., "American Literary Criticism and the Doctrine of Evolu- 
tion," International Monthly, II (1900), pp. 26-46, 127-53 

Rickert, Heinrich, Die Grenzen der naturzvissenschajtlichen Begriffs- 
bildung, Tubingen, 1902 (fifth ed., 1929) 

, Kulturzvissenschajt und Naturzvissenschaft, Tubingen, 1921 

Riezler, Kurt, "Uber den Begriff der historischen Entwicklung," Deutsche 
Vierteljahrschrift fur Literaturzvissenschaft und Geistes geschichte, IV 
(1926), pp. 193-225 

Symonds, John Addington, "On the Application of Evolutionary Princi- 
ples to Art and Literature," Essays Speculative and Suggestive, Lon- 
don, 1890, Vol. I, pp. 42-84 

Troeltsch, Ernst, Der Historismus und seine Probleme, Tubingen, 1922 


The Study of Literature in the Graduate School 


Gayley, Charles Mills, "The Development of Literary Studies During the 
Nineteenth Century," Congress of Arts and Science: Universal Ex- 
position: St. Louis, 1904, Vol. Ill, Boston, 1906, pp. 323-53 

Klemperer, Viktor, "Die Entwicklung der Neuphilologie," Romanische 
Sonderart, Munich, 1926, pp. 388-99 

Lempicki, Sigmund von, Geschichte der deutschen Literaturzvissenschaft, 
Gottingen, 1920 

Mann, Maurycy, "Rozwoj syntezy literackiej od jej poczatkow do Ger- 
vinusa." Rozprazvy Akademii Umiej§tno'sci, Serja III, Tom III, Cra- 
cow, 191 1, pp. 230-360 (a history of literary historiography from 
antiquity to Gervinus) 

O'Leary, Gerard, English Literary History and Bibliography, London, 

Rothacker, Erich, Einleitung in die Geistestvissenschaften, Tubingen, 1920 
(second ed., 1930, contains sketch of the history of German literary 
history in the nineteenth century) 

384 Bibliography 

Unger, Rudolf, "Vom Werden und Wesen der neueren deutschen Lit- 
eraturwissenschaft," Aufs'dtze zur Prinzifienlehre der Liter aturge- 
schichte, Berlin, 1929, Vol. I, pp. 33-48 

Wellek, Rene, The Rise of English Literary History, Chapel Hill, 1 941 
(A history of English literary historiography up to Warton [1774]) 


i. General: 

Richter, Werner, "Stromungen und Stimmungen in den Literaturwissen- 
schaften von heute," Germanic Review, XXI (1946), pp. 81-113 

Van Tieghem, Phillipe, Te?idances nouvelles en histoire litter aire, Paris, 
1930 (Etudes franchises, No. 22) 

Wellek, Rene, "The Revolt against Positivism in Recent European Lit- 
erary Scholarship," Twentieth Century English (ed. William S. 
Knickerbocker), New York, 1946, pp. 67-89 

2. Some English Discussions: 

Knights, L. C, "The University Teaching of English and History: a Plea 
for Correlation," Explorations, London, 1946, pp. 186-99 

Leavis, F. R., Education and the University, London, 1944 

, "The Literary Discipline and Liberal Education," Sewanee Re- 
view, LV (1947), pp. 586-609 

Lee, Sir Sidney, "The Place of English Literature in the Modern Uni- 
versity," Elizabethafi and Other Essays, Oxford, 1 929 (this particular 
essay dates from 191 1), pp. 1-19 

McKerrow, Ronald B., A Note on the Teaching of English Language and 
Literature, English Association Pamphlet No. 49, London, 1921 

Potter, Stephen, The Muse in Chains: A Study in Education, London, 

Sutherland, James, English in the Universities, Cambridge, 1945 

3. Some German Discussions: 

Benda, Oskar, Der gegenw'drtige Stand der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft , 

Vienna, 1928 
Mahrholz, Werner, Liter aturgeschichte und Literaturwissenschaft, Berlin, 

1923 (second ed., 1932) 
Merker, Paul, Neue Aufgaben der deutschen Literaturgeschichte, Leipzig, 

Oppel, Horst, Die Literaturwissenschaf t in der Gegenwart, Stuttgart, 1939 
Rossner, H., Georgekreis und Literaturzvissenschaft, Frankfurt, 1938 

Btblio grafthy 385 

Schultz, Franz, Das Schicksal der deutschen Literaturgeschichte, Frank- 
furt a. M., 1929 

Vietor, Karl, "Deutsche Literaturgeschichte als Geistesgeschichte: ein Rflck- 
blick," PMLA, LX (1945), pp. 899-916 

4. Information on Russian Formalism: 

Gourfinkel, Nina, "Les nouvelles methodes d'histoire litteraire en Russie," 

Le Monde- Slave, VI (1929), pp. 234-63 
Kridl, Manfred, "Russian Formalism," The American Bookman, I (1944), 

pp. 19-30 
Tomashevsky, Boris, "La nouvelle ecole d'histoire litteraire en Russie," 

Revue des etudes slaves, VIII (1928), pp. 226-40 
Van Tieghem, Phillipe, and Gourfinkel, Nina, "Quelques produits du 

formalisme russe," Revue de litterature comparee, XII (1932), pp. 

Voznesensky, A., "Die Methodologie der russischen Literaturforschung in 

den Jahren 1910-25," Zeitschrift fur slavische Philologie, IV (1927), 

pp. 145-62, and V (1928), pp. 175-99 
, "Problems of Method in the Study of Literature in Russia," 

Slavonic Review, VI (1927), pp. 168-77 
Zhirmunsky, Viktor, "Formprobleme in der russischen Literaturwissen- 

schaft," Zeitschrift fur slavische Philologie, I (1925), pp. 117-52 


Babbitt, Irving, Literature and the American College, Boston, 1908 
Brown, E. K., "English Studies in the Postwar World," College English, 

VI (1945), pp. 380-91 
Foerster, Norman, The American Scholar: A Study in Litterae lnhu- 

maniores, Chapel Hill, 1929 
, "The Study of Letters," Literary Scholarship: its Aims and 

Methods, Chapel Hill, 1941, pp. 3-32 
Gauss, Christian, "More Humane Letters," PMLA, LX (1945), pp. 

Jones, Howard Mumford, "Literary Scholarship and Contemporary Criti- 
cism," English Journal (College edition), XXIII (1934), pp. 740-66 
Millett, Fred B., The Rebirth of Liberal Education, New York, 1 946 
Peyre, Henri, Writers and Their Critics, Ithaca, 1944 
Schutze, Martin, Academic Illusions in the Field of Letters and the Arts, 

Chicago, 1933 
, "Towards a Modern Humanism," PMLA, LI (1936), pp. 


386 Bibliography 

Sherman, Stuart P., "Professor Kittredge and the Teaching of English," 

Nation, XCVII (191 3), pp. 227-30 (reprinted in Shaping Men and 

Women, Garden City, 1928, pp. 65-86) 
Shore}', Paul, "American Scholarship," Nation, XCII (191 1 ), pp. 466-69 

(reprinted in Fifty Years of American Idealism, Boston, 191 5, pp. 

Spitzer, Leo, "A New Program for the Teaching of Literary History," 

American Journal of Philology, LXIII (1942), pp. 308-19 
, "Deutsche Literaturforschung in Amerika," Monatshefte fur 

deutschen Unterricht, XXXVIII (1946), pp. 475-80 
Tate, Allen, "Miss Emily and the Bibliographer," Reason in Madness, 

New York, 1 941, pp. 100-16 
White, Frederick R., "Historical Studies and the Humanities," College 

English, II (1941), pp. 568-83 


Baker, Harry T., "English and the Ph.D.," Educational Review, LIX 
(1925), pp. 147-49 

Baugh, Albert C, "Graduate Work in English," English Journal (Col- 
lege edition), XVIII (1929), pp. 135-46 

Bernbaum, Ernest, "Graduate Study in English Literature," English Jour- 
nal (College edition), XVII (1928), pp. 33-43 

Blackmur, R. P., "A Featherbed for Critics," The Expense of Greatness, 
New York, 1 940, pp. 277-305 

Brooks, Clean th; Mizener, Arthur; Cox, Sidney; Saunders, Hade; Tril- 
ling, Lionel, "Literature and the Professors: A Symposium," Kenyon 
Review, II (1940), pp. 403-42 

Campbell, Oscar James, The Teaching of College English, New York, 


Crane, Ronad S., "History versus Criticism in the University Study of 
Literature," English Journal (College edition), XXIV (1935), pp. 

Foerster, Norman, "The Teacher of Great Literature," Journal of Gen- 
eral Education, I (1947), pp. 1 07- 1 3 

Heilman, Robert B., "Footnotes on Literary History," Southern Review, 
VI (i94i),pp. 759-70 

Jones, Howard Mumford, "Graduate English Study: Its Rational," Se- 
wanee Review, XXXVIII (1930), pp. 464-76, and XXXIX (1931), 
pp. 68-79, 200-06 

Ransom, John Crowe, "Criticism, Inc.," Virginia Quarterly Review, XIII 
( I 937)> PP- 586-602 (reprinted in The Worlds Body, New York, 
1938, pp. 327-50) 

Biblio grafhy 387 

Ransom, John Crowe; Tate, Allen; Horrell, Joe; Thomas, Wright; Levin, 
Harry, "Literature and the Professors: A Symposium," Southern Re- 
view, VI (1940), pp. 225-69 

Spencer, Theodore, "An Ideal for Graduate Education in English Litera- 
ture," English Journal (College edition), XXVII (1938), pp. 33-43 

Tuve, Rosemond, "More Battle Than Books," Sezvanee Review, LV 
(1947), pp. 571-85 



Aarne, Antti, 336 
Abbott, Charles D., 312 
Abbott, Claude C, 305 
Abercrombie, Lascelles, 342 
Addison, Joseph, 97, 99, 199, 259 
Adler, Alfred, 310 
Adler, Mortimer, 21, 301, 315 
Adoratskij, V., 316 
Aeschylus, 19, 93, 105, 195, 317 
Agrippa, Cornelius, 211, 331 
Aiken, Conrad, 87 
Ainslie, Douglas, 321, 337 
Allen, Charles, 314 
Allen, R. J., 314 
Alonso, Amado, 186 
Alonso, Damaso, 186 
American Literary Scholarship, 287 ff. 
American Literature, 44 
Amiel, Henri Frederic, 229 
Ampere, J.-J., 38 
Annotation, 56 ff. 
Apelles, 128 

Apollinaire, Guillaume, 143 
Appreciation, 3, 8, 139 
Aretino, Pietro, 94 
Ariosto, Ludovico, 125 
Aristotle, 7, 22, 27, 30, 195, 201, 
219, 236, 238, 240, 243, 297, 332, 

Arnheim, Rudolph, 312 
Arnold, Matthew, 22, 38, 57, 71, 

182, 197, 219, 309, 328 
Aron, Raymond, 299 
Art for Art's Sake, 19, 97 
Association, 84, 87 
Auden, W. H., 77, 242, 246, 310, 


Audiat, Pierre, 323 
Audience, Study of, 94 
Auerbach, Erich, 317 
Augustine, St., 27, 302 
Austen, Jane, 55, 79, 99, 223, 229, 

Authenticity, 60 
Authorship, 54, 55, 185 

Babbitt, Irving, 125, 338, 340 

Bacon, Francis, 207, 209 

Baker, Howard, 331 

Baker, J. E., 342 

Baldensperger, Fernand, 40, 303, 315 

Bale, John, 68, 273 

Bally, Charles, 181, 328, 332 

Balzac, Honore de, 15, 16, 23, 80, 

8l > 93) 99) H4> H5) "o, 225, 

227, 229, 257, 319, 336, 337 
Barante, Prosper de, 94, 314 
Barat, Emile, 189 
Barbusse, Henri, 187, 329 
Barkas, Pallister, 168, 326 
Barnes, Dunya, 222 
Barnes, Elinor J., 346 
Barnes, H. E., 316 
Baroque, 118, 131, 132, 143, 149, 

188, 203 ff., 280 
Barrie, James, 339 
Bartas, du; Guillaume de Sallust, 

Sieur, 205 
Barzun, Jacques, 342 
Bassano, Jacopo, 134 
Bate, Walter Jackson, 160, 309, 324 
Bateson, F. W., 31, 177, 178, 302, 

Baudelaire, Charles, 40, 56, 79, 203, 

293, 312 
Baudoin, Charles, 330 
Baynes, H. G., 311 
Beach, Joseph Warren, 323, 337 
Beaumont, Francis, 31, 60, 216, 308 
Becker, F. B., 316 
Becker, Howard, 316 
Becking, Gustav, 325 
Bede, Jean- Albert, 78 
Bedier, Joseph, 52 
Beethoven, Ludwig van, 115 
Belgion, Montgomery, 26, 27 

* The index includes the Notes, but not the Bibliographies. 



Bennett, Arnold, 99 

Bentley, Eric, 300 

Bentley, Gerald E., 308 

Benussi, Vittorio, 326 

Berdayev, Nikolai, in, 318 

Berend, E., 336 

Bergson, Henri, n, 187 

Berkeley, George, 10, no, 197 

Berkelman, R. G., 312 

Berlioz, Hector, 115 

Bernays, Michael, 307 

Bernini, Giovanni, 149 

Bethell, S. L., 300 

Bibliography, 50, 51 

Biography, 67 ff. 

Biography, History of Literary, 68 

Biological Analogies, 4, 246, 267 ff. 

Birkhead, Edith, 339 

Birkhoff, G. D., 130, 160, 321, 324 

Blackmur, R. P., 30 

Blagoy, D., 313 

Blair, Hugh, 239, 240, 338 

Blake, William, 16, 116, 128, 178, 

194, 212, 256, 260, 330, 331 
Bloch, Joseph, 316 
Blok, Alexander, 246 
Blunden, Edmund, 314 
Boas, F. S., 305 
Boas, George, 21, 107, 253, 301, 317, 

Boccaccio, Giovanni, 230 
Bodkin, Maud, 311 
Boehme, Jakob, 116, 331 
Boekh, Philip August, 29, 302 
Bogatyrev, Pyotr, 304 
Boileau, Nicolas (de Despreaux), 

239, 240 
Bonald, Louis G. A., Vicomte de, 

9°; 3i3 
Bontoux, Germaine, 320 
Boothby, Hill, 319 
Boring, E. G., 330 
Bosanquet, Bernard, 254, 255, 342 
Bosanquet, Theodora, 312 
Bossuet, Jacques-Benigne, 16 
Boswell, James, 50, 68, 305 
Boucher, Francois, 124 
Bouterwek, Friedrich, 41, 42, 304 
Bowling, Lawrence, 313, 337 
Bowman, A. A., 295 
Bradby, Anne, 335 

Bradley, A. C, 28, 302 

Bradley, Scully, 306 

Brandes, Georg, 70, 71, 309 

Brecht, Berthold, 246 

Bremond, Abbe Henri, 113 

Breughel, Pieter, the Elder, 129, 321 

Bridges, Robert, 121 

Bright, Timothy, 23 

Brik, Osip, 161, 324 

Bronte, Charlotte, 72, 102 

Bronte, Emily, 72, 193, 309, 310 

Bronte, Patrick, 73 

Brooks, Cleanth, Jr., 260, 331, 333, 

Brooks, Van Wyck, 69 
Brown, John, 281 
Brown, Stephen J., 332 
Browne, Sir Thomas, 118, 165, 167, 

207, 209 
Browning, Robert, 107, no, 160, 

162, 170 
Bruegel, Pierre (see also, Breughel), 

Briiggemann, Fritz, 3 1 7 
Briihl, Count Hans Moritz von, 319 
Brunetiere, Ferdinand, 246, 267, 268, 

273, 2 99> 340 
Bruno, Giordano, no, 112 
Bryusov, Valery, 324 
Bucher, Karl, 105, 317 
Buhler, Karl, 200, 332 
Bunyan, John, 225, 227 
Burckhardt, Jakob, 134, 322 
Burgum, Edwin B., 105, 317 
Burke, Edmund, 10, 167, 197, 207, 

Burke, Kenneth, 21, 30, 301, 310, 

3i7, 335 
Burnet, John, 307 
Burney, Charles, 265 
Burney, Fanny, 223 
Burns, Robert, 91, 206 
Burton, Robert, 270 
Butler, Joseph, 10 
Butler, Samuel, no 
Butler-Bowden, W., 305 
Byely, Andrey, 167 
Byrne, Muriel St. Clare, 306 
Byron, George Gordon, Lord, 70, 

7 1 ; 74; 75; 94; 162, 216, 242, 256, 

259, 272, 277, 315, 339 



Cadence of Prose, 166 
Cailliet, Emile, 78, 311, 334 
Campbell, George, 201, 204, 332 
Campbell, Lewis, 58 
Campbell, Lily, 86, 303, 313, 314 
Campbell, Oscar J., 87, 303, 313 
Campion, Thomas, 320, 327 
Carlyle, Thomas, 40, 69, 91, 184, 

Carpenter, Edward, 69 
Carpenter, F. I., 336 
Carroll, Lewis, 187 
Carter, John, 61, 309 
Cassagne, A., 314 
Cassirer, Ernst, 119, 320, 331 
Catachresis, 204 
Cather, Willa, 221 
Catharsis, 27 

Caudwell, Christopher, 105, 317 
Causal Explanation, 4, 5, 62, 102 
Cazamian, Louis, 6, 264, 280, 293, 

299, 322, 328, 344 
Celtes, Conrad, 61 

Cervantes, Miguel de Saavedra, 225 
Chad wick, H. M., 281, 345 
Chadwick, Norah K., 281, 312, 345 
Chalmers, George, 61, 308 
Chambers, Edmund K., 307, 308 
Chambers, F. P., 342 
Chambers, R. W., 306, 307 
Chandler, Albert R., 312 
Chapman, George, 333 
Chapman, R. W., 307 
Characterization, 16, 226 
Charteris, Leslie, 343 
Chase, Richard, 311 
Chateaubriand, Francois-Rene de, 

Chatterton, Thomas, 61, 62, 308 
Chaucer, Geoffrey, 34, 37, 51, 58, 59, 

68, 99, 175) 185, 230, 259, 290, 

Chekhov, Anton, 91, 99, 224, 243, 

2 47 
Chenier, Andre, 340 
Cherniss, Harold, 303 
Chesterfield, Lord (Philip Dormer 

Stanhope), 94 
Child, Francis, 53 
Chronology, 57 ff. 
Church, Margaret, 323 

Churchill, Charles, 259 

Cicero, 16, 182 

Clark, David Lee, 344 

Clarke, Edwin L., 313 

Classicism, 127, 133, 203, 239, 240 

Claude Lorrain, 124 

Claudel, Paul, 167 

Clemen, Wolfgang, 217, 271, 333, 

334) 335, 344 
Clemons, Harry, 328 
Cohen, Morris R., 313 
Coleridge, Ernest Hartley, 309 
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 67, 79, 

81, 84, 97, no, 133, 190, 193, 

J 95> 237, 2 52> 259, 277, 280, 309, 

Collaboration, 31, 60 
Collingwood, R. G., 35, 300, 301, 

302, 303 
Collins, Wilkie, 224 
Collins, William, 125, 256, 272 
Colvin, Sir Sidney, 320 
Comparison, 5 
Comprehension, 5 
Congreve, William, 315 
Conrad, Joseph, 221, 233 
Content, 17, 140 
Comparative Literature, 38 ff. 
Contemporary Literature, the Study 

of, 3 5 
Cooper, James F., 83 
Coquelin, Constant, 339 
Corneille, Pierre, 133 
Cournot, A. A., 279 
Courthope, William J., 263, 343 
Cowley, Abraham, 258 
Craig, Hardin, 32, 302, 344 
Crane, Ronald S., 308, 344 
Crashaw, Richard, 331 
Creative Criticism, 3 
Creative Process, 80 
Criticism, see Literary Criticism, 

Croce, Benedetto, 6, 80, 122, 130, 

188, 235, 255, 272, 299, 300, 304, 

313, 316, 320, 321, 337, 344 
Croll, Morris W., 325, 326, 328, 329 
cummings, e. e., 143 
Cusanus, Nicolaus, 129 
Cuvier, Georges, Baron, 38 
Cysarz, Herbert, 117, 119, 320 



Dahlke, H. Otto, 316 

Dallas, E. S., 237, 338 

Daniel, Samuel, 208 

Dante, 16, 25, 34, 73, 80, 107, 111, 

112, 182, 192, 207, 255, 256, 301, 

320, 328, 330, 331 
Dauzat, A., 327 
Davenant, Sir William, 237 
Davidson, Angus, 319 
Davidson, Donald, 331 
Davies, Cicely, 321 
Dawson, Giles, 307 
Defoe, Daniel, 60, 220, 229 
De Gre, Gerard L., 316 
Dekker, Thomas, 6 
Delacroix, Henri, 313 
Deloney, Thomas, 99 
Denham, John, 240, 258 
Dennis, John, 197 
Democritus, 115 

De Quincey, Thomas, 81, 165, 167 
Dessoir, Max, 295 
Destutt, Antoine, de Tracy, 87 
Deutschbein, Max, 117, 183, 320 
Development of Literature, 266; see 

also Biological Analogies 
Dewey, John, 130, 321 
Dibelius, Wilhelm, 225, 226, 312, 

336, 337 
Dickens, Charles, 77, 80, 84, 97, 99, 

166, 221, 224, 225, 226, 227, 228, 

230, 232, 245, 257, 312, 315, 335, 
_33_6, 337 
Dickinson, Emily, 212, 334 
Diderot, Denis, 76, 308 
Dilthey, Wilhelm, 5, 80, 115, 187, 

286, 299, 309, 312, 319 
Dion, A., 332 
Dodge, N. E., 344 
Donne, John, 32, 68, no, 207, 208, 

209, 213, 214, 258, 259, 333, 343 
Donohue, James J., 338 
Dostoevsky, Fyodor, 16, 23, 76, 79, 

80, 85, 91, 111, 121, 122, 225, 

245, 246, 310, 318 
Dowden, Edward, 68, 69, 70 
Downey, June, 330 
Drake, Nathan, 68 
Dreiser, Theodore, 83, 159 
Dryden, John, 31, 40, 51, 68, no, 

204, 240, 259, 269, 303, 306, 332, 


Dujardin, Edouard, 233, 337 
Dumas, Alexander, 97 
Duns Scotus, no 
Duval, Alexandre, 304 

Eastman, Max, 24, 301, 314, 329 
Economics of Literature, 90 ff. 
Editing, 51 ff. 
Egan, Rose F., 314 
Ehrenpreis, Irvin, 338 
Eichendorff, Josef von, 119 
Eikhenbaum, Boris, 176, 323, 326, 


Einstein, Albert, 323 

Eliot, George, no, 121, 336 

Eliot, Thomas Stearns, 21, 22, 25, 
26, 27, 71, 78, 79, 80, 82, 107, 
112, 192, 205, 216, 242, 246, 251, 
252, 254, 257, 258, 260, 262, 265, 
289, 292, 301, 302, 309, 311, 317, 
33o, 33i> 335, 34-1, 342, 343, 344 

Elizabeth, Queen, 57, 275 

Elizabethan Plays, 53, 55 

Elledge, Scott, 300 

Ellis, Havelock, 313 

Ellis-Fermor, Una, 321 

Elton, Oliver, 264, 325, 343, 344 

Emendation, 52 ff. 

Emerson, Ralph W., 16, 28, 29, 109, 
167, 195, 223 

Empedocles, 112 

Empson, William, 236, 322 

Engels, Friedrich, 316 

English Literary Scholarship, 284, 

Engstrom, A. G., 311 

Eppelsheimer, H. W., 320 

Erhardt-Siebold, Erika von, 3 1 1 

Ermatinger, Emil, 305, 321 

Erskine, John, 237, 338, 339 

Etiemble, Rene, 324 

Euripides, 34, 93 

Evaluation, 248 ff. 

Everett, Edwin M., 314 

Evolution, see Development 

Ewer, M. A., 333 

Faguet, Emile, 336 
Fairchild, Hoxie N., 113, 319 
Farrell, James T., 99 
Farquhar, George, 315 
Faulkner, William, 87, 98, 226 



Fenollosa, Ernest, 143, 323 

Fergusson, Francis, 337 

Fernandez, Ramon, 72, 233, 309, 337 

Feuerbach, Ludwig, 110 

Feuillerat, Albert, 86, 312 

Fichte, Johann Gottlieb, in, 115, 

\ l 9 

Ficino, Marsilio, 112 

Fictionality, 16, 220 ff. 

Fiedler, Konrad, 16, 132 

Fielding, Henry, 99, 227, 229, 230, 

Firth, Sir Charles, 314 
Fischer, Ottokar, 310 
Flaubert, Gustave, 82, 85, 224, 232, 

312, 337 
Fleay, Frederick Gard, 307 
Fletcher, John, 31, 60, 216, 308 
Foerster, Norman, 289, 303, 341, 346 
Follett, Wilson, 220, 335 
Folklore, 38 
Forest, L. C. T., 313 
Forgeries, 60 
Form and Content, 18, 140, 154, 

198, 252, 256 
Forman, Buxton H., 309, 312 
Forster, Edward Morgan, 33, 301, 

Forster, John, 336 
Fraenkel, Eduard, 327 
Frank, Joseph, 222, 333, 335 
Frank, Waldo, 87, 314 
Franz, Wilhelm, 180, 327 
Fraser, G. M., 308 
Freeman, Joseph, 314 
French Literary Scholarship, 286 
Freud, Sigmund, 76, 77, 104, no, 

198, 310 
Friedman, Arthur, 307 
Frischeisen-Kohler, Max, 319 
Fromm, Erich, 77, 310 
Frost, Robert, 194, 195, 331 
Froude, James Anthony, 69 
Function of Literature, 19 ff., 249 f. 
Furnivall, Frederick J., 307 

Galton, Francis, 191 

Gaskell, Elizabeth Cleghorn, 102 

Galsworthy, John, 99 

Garrick, David, 57 

Gauss, Christian, 346 

Gautier, Theophile, 124, 125 

Gay, John, 339 
Gelder, R. van, 312 
Gellert, Johann Furchtegott, 114, 

Geistesgeschichte, 66, 117 ff. 

General (The, vs. the Particular), 8, 


General Literature, 27 ff., 41 

Generation, 286 

Genesis, 86 

Genetic Method, 4; see Causal Expla- 

Genetics, 245 

Genius, 75 ff. 

Genre, 185, 235 ff., 286 

George, Stefan, 212 

German Literary Scholarship, 285 

Germanic Literatures, 42 

Gershenzon, M. O., 318 

Gesemann, Gerhard, 303 

Gibbon, Edward, 10, 167 

Gibbons, Thomas, 204, 332 

Gide, Andre, 231 

Gilby, Thomas, 22 

Gilson, Etienne, in, 318 

Gissing, George, 223 

Glockner, Hermann, 112, 318 

Godwin, William, 68, no, 112, 224, 
225, 335 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 27, 
41, 55> 60, 70, 71, 73, 76, 79, 80, 
82, 85, 94, 97, in, 112, 115, 116, 
122, 127, 133, 178, 185, 186, 230, 

293> 3° 2 > 304, 3°7> 3°9> 3H| 3*2> 
320, 328, 330, 338 
Gogol, Nikolai, 92, 149, 167, 227, 

23I) 2 49) 336 
Goldsmith, Oliver, 44, 60, 308 
Goncharov, Alexander, 91 
Gongora, Luis de, 186, 329 
Gordon, E. H., 336 
Gordon, George, 285 
Gosse, Edmund, 263, 309, 343 
Gourfinkel, Nina, 322 
Gourmont, Remy de, 261, 343 
Government (Influence of, on Liter- 
ature), 96 
Grabo, Carl, 336 
Graham, Walter, 314 
Grammont, Maurice, 164, 324 
Granville-Barker, Harley, 291 
Graphic Devices (in Literature), 143 

394 Index 

Grattan, J. H., 306 

Gray, Thomas, 110, 199, 241 

Great Books, 10 

Greatness, 255 

Green, F. C, 38, 303 

Greene, Robert, 59, 185 

Greene, Theodore Meyer, 130, 251, 

255. 32 1 ) 34_I) 342 

Greenlaw, Edwin, 9, 29, 300 

Greg-, W. W., 51, 52, 54, 285, 306, 

307, 345 
Gregoire, Henri, 309 
Grib, V., 103 
Grierson, H. J. C, 291 
Griffith, R. H., 51, 306 
Grigson, Geoffrey, 311 
Groot, Albert de, 325 
Griinwald, Ernst, 316 
Gryphius, Andreas, 258 
Guastalla, R. M., 331 
Guer, Guerlin de, 327 
Gumbel, Hermann, 305 
Gundolf, Friedrich, 186, 309, 328 
Gurvitch, Georges, 316 

Hall, Vernon, 340 

Hallam, Henry, 10, 41, 304 

Hals, Frans, 115, 131 

Hammond, James, 241 

Handel, Frederick, 143 

Hankins, Thomas, 238 

Haraszti, Zoltan, 308 

Harbage, Alfred A., 314 

Harding-, M. Esther, 311 

Hardy, Thomas, 110, 221, 224, 230 

Harris, Frank, 70, 309 

Harrison, J. E., 3 17 

Harsdorfer, Georg Philipp, 163, 324 

Hartley, David, no 

Hartmann, Eduard von, 16 

Harvey, Gabriel, 175 

Haselden, R. B., 306 

Haseltine, J., 306 

Hastings, James, 324 

Hatzfeld, Helmut, 312 

Havens, Raymond D., 269, 344 

Hawes, Stephen, 175 

Hawthorne, Nathaniel, 223, 224, 

225, 227, 228, 335, 336 
Hazard, Paul, in, 318 
Hazlitt, William, 70 
Hebbel, Friedrich, 1 1 1 

Hecht, Hans, 326 

Hegel, Georg- Wilhelm Friedrich, 

16, 20, 101, 108, hi, 115, 116, 

Heine, Heinrich, 127, 310 
Hemingway, Ernest, 82, 98, 232, 

238, 312 
Hennequin, Emile, 315 
Henry, O., 243 
Heraclitus, 115 

Herbart, Johann Friedrich, 132 
Herbert, George, 68, 143 
Herder, Johann Gottfried, 319 
Heredia, Jose-Maria de, 125 
Hesiod, 1 9 

Heusler, Andreas, 304 
Heyl, Bernard C, 301, 343 
Heywood, Thomas, 6 
Hildebrand, Adolf von, 16, 132, 300 
Hinneberg, Paul, 319 
Historicism, 22 
History, 5 

History of Civilization, 9, 10 
History of Ideas, 108 ff. 
History of Sensibility, 113 
Hobbes, Thomas, 115, 237, 240, 338 
Hoffman, Frederick J., 310, 313, 314 
Hoffmann, E. T. A., 80, 119, 230 
Holderlin, Friedrich, 1 1 1 
Holz, Arno, 143 
Homer, 16, 20, 34, 94, 144, 163, 

182, 201, 202, 225, 226, 238, 253, 

259) 265, 301, 320, 328, 332 
Hooke, S. H., 331 
Hopf, H., 315 
Hopkins, Gerard Manley, no, 160, 

179, 184, 186, 254, 303, 328, 339 
Horace, 20, 21, 93, 237, 248, 271, 

Hornbostel, E. M., 325 
Horney, Karen, 23, 77, 301, 310 
Hornstein, Lillian H., 215, 334 
Hoskyns, John, 204, 332 
Hottinger, M. D., 321 
Hotson, Leslie, 50, 305 
Housman, A. E., 147 
Howard, W. G., 321 
Howells, William Dean, 99, 220, 233 
Hroswitha of Gandersheim, 61, 308, 

Hughes, John, 321 
Hugo, Victor, 124, 204 



Hulme, T. E., 331, 333 
Humanities, 5 
Hume, David, 10 
Hunt, Leigh, 314 
Hurd, Richard, 321 
Hurdis, James, 58, 307 
Husserl, Edmund, 152, 323 
Hussey, Christopher, 322 
Hustvedt, Sigurd B., 307 
Huxley, Aldous, 231 
Huxley, Thomas Henry, 1 1 
Hyman, Stanley E., 310 

Ibsen, Henrik, 23, 227, 232, 247, 337 
Ideas (and Literature), 107 fL, 257 
Imagery, 16, 21, 1901!. 
Imagination, 16, 17, 79 
Imaginative Literature, 1 2 
Individuality, 5, 7, 8 
Influences, 31, 231 
Influence of Literature on Society, 

97 ff. 
Ingarden, Roman, 152, 157, 323, 341 
Inspiration, 80 ff. 
Institution (Literature as a), 89, 94, 

2 35_ 
Intention, 33, 34, 127, 149 
Ipsen, Giinther, 325 
Ireland Forgeries, 60, 61 
Irvine, H. D., 299 
Irving, Washington, 230 
Isaacs, J., 345 
Ivanov, Vyacheslav, in, 318 

Jackson, T. A., 315 

Jacobi, J., 311 

Jaensch, Erich, 77, 310 

Jakobson, Roman, 175, 237, 304, 

3°9> 3 2 4, 325, 326, 327, 332, 338 
James I, King of Scotland, 94 
James, Henry, 16, 79, 82, 84, 152, 

184, 194, 221, 224, 227, 229, 232, 

2 33, 3 12 , 33 1 , 336, 337 
James, William, 337 
Jarcho, J., 345 
Jenkinson, Hilary, 306 
Jirasek, Alois, 98 
Jodelle, Etienne, 247, 268 
Johnson, F. R., 51, 306 
Johnson, Samuel, 7, 22, 54, 68, 82, 

94, 114, 167, 182, 184, 214, 220, 

240, 254, 271, 305, 312, 319, 325, 

334, 338, 343 
Jolles, Andre, 246, 340, 344 
Jonson, Ben, 23, 85, 92, 180, 227, 

228, 245, 272, 321, 338, 343 
Joyce, James, 44, no, 167, 225, 236, 

289, 315, 342 
Jung, Carl J., 76, 78, no, 311 
Jusserand, Jean Jacques, 264 
Juvenal, 271 

Kafka, Franz, 76, 221, 225, 246, 257 

Kainz, Friedrich, 328 

Kant, Immanuel, 11, 20, no, in, 

^ 115, 155, 251 
Kantorowicz, Hermann, 306 
Karayev, N. P., 42, 304 
Kardiner, Abram, 77 
Karg, Fritz, 325 
Kastendieck, Miles M., 320 
Kayser, Wolfgang, 324 
Keats, John, 16, 56, 71, 75, 85, 86, 

107, 124, 160, 259, 260, 277, 309, 

312, 320, 324, 339, 344 
Keller, Gottfried, 220 
Keller, Wolfgang, 306 
Kellett, E. E., 342 
Kempe, The Book of Margery, 50, 

Kennedy, Arthur G., 306 
Ker, W. P., 235, 265, 291, 332, 337, 

^ 341, 344 

Kern, Alexander C, 316 
Kernodle, George R., 321 
Keynes, John Maynard, 102, 315 
Killen, A., 339 
Kilmer, Joyce, 7 
King, A. H., 180, 327 
Kingsley, Charles, 102 
Kingsmill, Hugh, 71, 309 
Kinsley, Edith E., 309 
Kittredge, George Lyman, 292 
Klaeber, F., 329 

Kleist, Heinrich von, in, 119, 319 
Klopstock, Friedrich Gottlieb, 331 
Kluckhohn, Paul, 113, 319 
Knickerbocker, W. S., 302 
Knight, G. Wilson, 216, 217, 259, 

3 35 
Knights, L. C, 92, 286, 300, 314, 

315, 322 
Knowledge, Literature as, 22, 250 

396 Index 

Kohler, Wolfgang, 164, 324. 

Konig, Goswin, 307 

Korner, Josef, 187, 328 

Kohn-Bramstedt, Ernst, 100, 315 

Konnerth, Hermann, 300 

Konrad, Hedwig, 201 

Korff, Hermann August, 117, 118, 

Krappe, Alexander H., 335, 340 
Kretschmer, Ernst, 79, 311 
Kridl, Manfred, 322, 340 
Krikorian, Yervant H., 316 
Kris, Ernst, 334 
Krutch, Joseph Wood, 69 
Kyd, Thomas, 59, 185, 206 

La Driere, Craig J., 330, 341 

Lamb, Charles, 100, 315 

Landor, Walter Savage, 125 

Langer, Susanne K., 26, 301, 312 

Langland, William, 99, 258 

Language (and Literature), 177 ff. 

Lanier, Sidney, 169 

Lanz, Henry, 161, 324, 326 

Larbaud, Valery, 287 

Larrabee, Stephen A., 124, 320 

Lavine, Thelma Z., 316 

Lawrence, W. J., 308 

Laws in Literature, 6, 8 

Leavis, Frank Raymond, 286, 318, 

322, 323, 343 
Leavis, Q. D., 95, 314, 315 
Le Bossu, Rene, 20 
Lee, Rensselaer W., 321 
Lee, Sir Sidney, 139, 271, 322, 344 
Legouis, Emile, 134, 293, 299, 320, 

p2> 344 
Leibniz, Gottfried W., 12, 115 
Leland, John, 68 
Lemercier, Nepomucene, 304 
Lenin, 288 
Lerner, Max, 340 

Lessing, Gotthold Ephraim, 125, 318 
Levin, Harry, 314, 338 
Levy, Hanna, 321 
Lewis, C. S., 80, 113, 150, 273, 312, 

3i9> 3*3, 33 2 > 345 
Lewis, Sinclair, 99, 230 
Licklider, Albert H., 327 
Liliencron, Detlev von, 116 
Lindsay, Vachel, 197 
Linguistics, 152, 153, 1791!. 

Link, K. C, 315 

Literary Criticism, 30, 35, 90, 248 ff., 

Literary History, 29, 30, 31, 62, 

263 ff. 
Literary Language, 12, 13, 1791!. 
Locke, John, 87, no, 234 
Longinus, 182, 261 
Lorenzo Magnifico, 134 
Lovejoy, Arthur O., 108, 109, 117, 

280, 305, 317, 318, 345 
Lowell, James R., 219 
Lowes, John Livingston, 84, 312, 344 
Lubbock, Percy, 152, 232, 323, 337 
Lucka, Emil, 341 
Lucretius, 27, 115 
Ludwig, Otto, 232, 310, 312, 337 
Lunacharsky, Anatoli V., 315 
Luther, Martin, 178 
Lutoslawski, Wincenty, 58, 307 
Lydgate, John, 175 
Lyly, John, 184, 328 
Lynch, K. M., 315 

Macaulay, Thomas Babington, 100, 

142, 3i5 
McCarthy, Desmond, 221, 335 
MacCormick, W. S., 306 
MacDonagh, Thomas, 327 
Macdonald, Hugh, 51, 306 
McElderry, B. R., Jr., 328 
Machal, Jan, 281, 305, 345 
Machaut, Guillaume, 214 
Machen, Arthur, 197, 331 
Maclnnes, W. D., 299 
Mackenzie, Compton, 242 
McKenzie, Gordon, 300, 304, 335 
McKerrow, Ronald B., 54, 306 
MacLeish, Archibald, 25 
MacNeice, Louis, 192, 213, 310, 330, 

Macpherson, James, 308 
Mair, J., 308 

Mallarme, Stephane, 124, 197, 320 
Malone, Edmond, 59, 61, 68, 307, 

Mandelbaum, Maurice, 299 
Manly, John Matthew, 299, 306 
Mann, Elizabeth M., 344 
Mann, Thomas, 17, 122 
Mannheim, Karl, 104, 316 
Manwaring, Elizabeth W., 320 



Marchand, Leslie A., 314 

Marett, Robert R., 317 

Marks, Jeanette, 312 

Marlowe, Christopher, 50, 59, 109, 

185, 206, 305 
Marston, John, 60, 333 
Marvell, Andrew, 181, 328 
Marx, Karl, 77, 102, 288, 316 
Marxist Criticism, 89, 101, 102, 103 
Masaryk, Thomas Garrigue, 61, 309 
Masson, David, 68 
Matisse, Henri, 253 
Matthiessen, Francis O., 336 
Maturin, Charles, 230 
Maupassant, Guy de, 232, 337 
Mauthner, Fritz, 187 
Mayakovsky, Vladimir, 246 
Mazon, Andre, 309 
Medicus, Fritz, 321 
Medwall, Henry, 50, 305 
Meech, Sanford B., 305 
Mehring, Franz, 3 1 6 
Meillet, Antoine, 175, 327 
Meissner, Paul, 117, 118, 320 
Melville, Herman, 121, 167, 220, 

225, 227 
Meredith, George, 57, 170, 184, 221, 

Merezhkovsky, Dmitri, in, 318 
Merton, Robert K., 316 
Metaphor, 17, 18, 121, 190 ff. 
Meter and Metrics, 164, 166 if., 178 
Meyer, Conrad Ferdinand, 56, 116 
Meyer, G. W., 72, 309 
Meyer, Theodor A., 301 
Meyrinck, Gustav, 328 
Michelangelo Buonarroti, 115, 128, 

Middleton, Thomas, 60, 315 
Miles, Josephine, 186, 300, 314, 328, 

3 35 
Milton, John, 36, 68, 70, 79, 80, 81, 
82, no, 114, 118, 150, 179, 182, 
184, 192, 199, 205, 207, 216, 223, 
235, 236, 240, 255, 256, 257, 259, 
269, 290, 312, 323, 328, 330, 332, 

_342> 344 
Mineka, Francis E., 314 
Mims, Edwin, 340 
Mirsky, Dmitri S., 200, 332 
Mitchell, Margaret, 97 
Mizener, Arthur, 339 

Mode of Existence (of a Literary 

Work), 141 ff. 
Morike, Eduard, 116 
Moliere, 23, 100, 220, 228, 245 
Monglond, Andre, 114, 315, 319 
Montaigne, Michel de, 16, 109, 113, 

Montesquieu, 318 
Moore, Marianne, 220 
Moore, Thomas, 74 
Moore, Virginia, 72, 309 
Moore, Wilbert E., 316 
More, Paul Elmer, 74 
Morgann, Maurice, 15 
Morgenstern, Christian, 187, 328, 

Morize, Andre, 62, 308 
Morley, Henry, 263, 343 
Morley, Lord John, 68 
Mornet, Daniel, 287, 346 
Morris, Bertram, 341 
Morris, Charles, 330 
Morsbach, Lorenz, 326 
Motherwell, William, 53 
Motif and Motive, 187, 225, 272, 


Mott, Frank L., 314 
Movements in Literature, 274 
Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus, 127 
Miiller, Curt Richard, 330 
Miiller, Giinther, 273, 340, 345 
Miiller, Wilhelm, 127 
Muir, Edwin, 300 
Mukarovsky, Jan, 253, 315, 323, 

3 2 7> 34i 
Muller, Herbert J., 310 
Multivalence, 253 
Muncker, Franz, 329 
Murdock, Kenneth B., 336 
Murry, John Middleton, 192, 216, 

Music (and Literature), 115, 124, 

162, 169 
Musicality in verse, 126, 130, 160, 

Myth, 195 ff. 

Nabokov, Vladimir, 336 
Nadler, Josef, 44, 305 
Naming (of Characters), 226 
Nashe, Thomas, 180 
National Literature, 43 

398 Index 

National Spirit, 29 

Natural Science, 5, 6 

Nature of Literature, 9 ff. 

Naumann, Hans, 39, 303 

Needham, G. B., 315, 336 

Neruda, Pablo, 186 

Nesbitt, George L., 314 

Ness, Frederick, 324 

Nethercot, A. H., 312 

Neumann, Carl, 321 

Neumann, Ernst, 321 

Newton, Sir Isaac, 11, no 

Nicolson, Marjorie H., 317 

Niebuhr, Reinhold, 196, 331 

Nietzsche, Friedrich, 79, 104, 109, 

no, 167, 195, 196, 311, 318, 320, 

Nohl, Hermann, 115, 116, 186, 315, 

t 3i9. 328, 334 
Norden, Eduard, 325 
Norms, 151, 155, 253 
Novalis (Friedrich von Hardenberg), 

119, 120, 319 
Novel, The, 2191!. 

Objectivity, 5 

Odin, S., 313 

Oliphant, E. H. C, 308 

Oliphant, Margaret, 242, 277 

Olschki, Leonardo, 42, 281, 304, 345 

Omond, T. S., 168, 326 

Oral Literature, 12, 38, 50, 54, 142 

Organism, 18, 61 

Originality, 270 

Ortega y Gasset, Jose, 324 

Osborn, James Marshall, 305, 306 

Osborn, L. B., 332 

Ossian, 41, 60, 61, 167, 308 

Overmeyer, Grace, 314 

Ovid, 93 

Owl and the 'Nightingale, 180 

Painting (and Literature), 115, 124 
Palmer, J., 315 

Panofsky, Erwin, 124, 305, 320, 321 
Paracelsus von Hohenheim, 129, 211, 

33 1 
Parallelism of Literature and Arts, 

118, 119, 120, 1 24 ff. 
Parallels, 270 
Pareto, Wilfredo, 104 
Parrott, Thomas Marc, 307 

Parry, Albert, 314 

Parry, Milman, 332 

Particular (The, vs. The General), 

8, 22 
Partington, Wilfred, 309 
Pascal, Blaise, 55, 109, in, 308 
Passarge, W., 322 
Pasternak, Boris, 332, 338 
Pater, Walter, 3, 184, 253, 264 
Patronage (Literary), 94 
Patterson, Warner F., 340 
Patterson, W. M., 165, 325 
Pattison, Bruce, 320 
Pearson, N. H., 337, 338 
Peele, George, 59, 185 
Peguy, Charles, 187, 329 
Penido, M. T.-L., 333 
Pepper, S. C, 340, 341, 342 
Percival, M. O., 331 
Percy, Thomas, 53 
Periods, Periodization, 274 
Perry, Bliss, 168, 325 
Personality (in Literature), 73, 85 
Perspectivism, 35, 159, 261 
Petersen, Julius, 279, 345 
Petrarch (Petrarca, Francesco), 94 
Petsch, Robert, 304, 336 
Peyre, Henri, 305, 342, 345 
Phillipe, Charles Louis, 187, 329 
Philology, 29 
Philosophy (and Literature), 1071!., 

122, 152 
Phonemics, 153 
Pindar, 93 

Pinder, Wilhelm, 345 
Pinto, V. de Sola, 320 
Plato, 16, 19, 25, 27, 28, 58, 108, 

no, 115, 237, 302, 307, 331, 33S 
Plautus, 228 

Plekhanov, Georgi, 97, 314 
Plot, The, 224 
Plotinus, 111, 141 
Poe, Edgar Allen, 19, 40, 69, 79, 

80, 83, 126, 130, 159, 193, 221, 

224, 228, 229, 230, 231, 243, 312, 

Poetic Diction, 185, 186, 201 
Poppelmann, Daniel Adam, 149 
Poggioli, Renato, 340 
Polarities, 79, iisff., 1 3 1 f ., 210 ff. 
Polti, G., 336 
Point of View, 152, 231 f. 

Polfvka, Jiff, 303 
Pollard, A. W., 54, 307 
Pollard, Graham, 61, 309 
Pollock, Thomas Clark, 11, 300 
Pongs, Hermann, 210, 212, 213, 332, 

333, 334 

Poole, Thomas, 309 

Pope, Alexander, 3, 31, 33, 35, 51, 
53, 7°, 75, 94, no, 112, 162, 163, 
169, 186, 204, 216, 217, 258, 259, 
260, 271, 307, 322, 324, 332 

Pope, John C, 326 

Posnett, Hutcheson Macaulay, 42, 

Potter, Stephen, 299 

Pottle, Frederick A., 32, 303, 305, 

Pound, Ezra, 191, 330 

Praz, Mario, 113, 215, 228, 291, 

3i9, 334, 337, 342 
Prescott, Frederick H., 312 
Pressey, L. C, 346 
Price, Hereward T., 307 
Prior, Matthew, 261 
Propaganda, 26 
Prose-rhythm, 164, 165 
Proust, Marcel, 75, 81, 86, 87, 99, 

125, 187, 246, 257, 289, 312 
Psychoanalysis, 76, 87 
Psychology and Literature, 75 ft., 

146, 147, 187, 188 
Pushkin, Alexander, 92, 111, 166, 

178, 185, 246, 313, 318 
Puttenham, George, 332 

Quarles, Francis, 200 
Quentin, Dom Henri, 52 
Quevedo y Villegas, Francisco, 
Quiller-Couch, Sir Arthur, 307 
Quintilian, 210, 331, 333 

Rabelais, Francois, hi, 180, 187, 

287, 329 
Racine, Jean, 79, 133, 187, 227, 245, 

247, 268, 293, 329 
Radcliffe, Anne, 223, 229 
Rageot, Gaston, 315 
Raglan, Fitzroy Richard Somerset, 

Lord, 331 
Rahv, Philip, 336 
Railo, Eino, 339 
Rank, Otto, 76 

Index 399 

Ranke, Leopold, 266 

Ransom, John Crowe, 22, 163, 324, 

Ratchford, Fannie, 309 
Read, Herbert, 311 
Reading, Art of, 9 
Reading Public, 94 
Realism, 88, 220 
Reed, A. W., 305 
Reeve, Clara, 223, 335 
Rehm, Walter, 113, 319 
Reid, L. A., 255, 256, 342 
Relativism, 32, 104, 121, 157, 259, 

Religion (and poetry), 197 
Rembrandt van Rijn, 115, 134 
Research, 29, 49 
Restoration Comedy, 100 f. 
Revisions (of authors), 86 
Reynolds, George G., 321 
Rhyme, 161, 162 
Rhythm, 130, 164 
Rhythm of Prose, 165 f. 
Ribot, Theodule Armand, 79, 80, 

311, 312 
Richards, Ivor Armstrong, 4, 140, 

146, 147, 163, 191, 197, 201, 260, 

299, 3 2 3, 324, 33o, 332 
Richardson, Charles F., 324 
Richardson, Dorothy, 343 
Richardson, Samuel, 115, 246 
Richter, Jean Paul, 119, 231 
Rickert, Heinrich, 5, 299 
Rickword, C. H., 323 
Riehl, Alois, 16, 300 
Rig-Veda, 40 
Rilke, Rainer Maria, 293 
Rimbaud, Arthur, 164, 203 
Roback, A. A., 3 1 1 
Robert, Carl, 320 
Robertson, James McKinnon, 59, 

184, 307, 308, 315, 328 
Robinson, F. N., 51 
Roe, F. C, 343 
Romains, Jules, 187, 329 
Romance (The), 223 
Romance Literatures, 42 
Romanticism, 105, 118, 133, 134, 

276, 280 
Romanticism, German, iigf., 133 
Root, Robert Kilburn, 306 
Rosa, Salvatore, 124 




Rosenberg', Harold, 334 
Rosenblatt, Louise, 314 
Rossetti, Dante Gabriel, 128 
Rozanov, Vasili, 111, 318 
Rubens, Peter Paul, 115, 134 
Rudler, Gustave, 62 
Rugoff, Milton, 213 
Ruskin, John, 114, 165, 167, 210, 

Russian Formalists, 173, 225, 252, 

253, 280, 288 
Russian Literary Scholarship, 287 
Rusu, Liviu, 80, 311 
Rutz, Ottmar, 165, 325 

Sainean, Lazare, 180, 327 
Saint-Beuve, Auguste, 30, 264 
Saintsbury, George, 165, 166, 167, 
168, 182, 264, 271, 272, 325, 328, 

343, 344 
Sakulin, P. N., 92, 313 
Sand, George, 121 
Saran, Franz, 170, 172, 326 
Sarcey, Francisque, 339 
Sartre, Jean-Paul, 330 
Saurat, Denis, 257 
Saussure, Ferdinand de, 323 
Savage, Richard, 214 
Saxl, Fritz, 124, 320 
Scaliger, Julius Caesar, 238 
Sceve, Maurice, 258 
Scientific Language, 18 
Scheler, Max, 164, 316 
Schelling, F. W., 108, no, in, 115, 

116, 119, 133 
Schick, Josef, 303 
Schiller, Friedrich, 40, 81, 82, in, 

H5> *33, 320 
Schlauch, Margaret, 303 
Schlegel, August Wilhelm, 41, 59, 

70, 133, 237, 281, 304, 308, 324, 

Schlegel, Friedrich, 41, 119, 120, 

J 33, 237> 281, 304, 345 
Schneider, Elizabeth, 81, 312 
Schneider, Wilhelm, 182, 328 
Schnitzler, Arthur, 187, 328 
Schoeffler, Herbert, 3 1 3 
Scholarship, Literary, 29 
Schopenhauer, Arthur, 266 
Schorer, Mark, 300, 314, 331, 335 
Schramm^ Wilbur L., 170, 326 

Schubert, Franz, 115, 127 

Schiicking, Levin L., 97, 300, 315, 

Schiitze, Martin, 311, 312, 322 

Schumann, Detlev W., 345 

Schumann, Robert, 127 

Scott, Geoffrey, 305 

Scott, Sir Walter, 53, 68, 82, 83, 94, 
98, 223, 225, 227, 336 

Scripture, E. W., 170 

Sechan, Louis, 320 

Seckel, Dietrich, 324 

Selincourt, Ernest de, 56 

Selver, Paul, 309 

Semantics, of Literature, 12 ff. 

Seneca, 301 

Setting, 225 

Sewell, Arthur, 337 

Shaftesbury, Anthony Ashley Cooper, 
Lord, 1 10, 141 

Shakespeare, 6, 15, 16, 23, 25, 35, 
40, 54> 55, 56, 58, 59> 61, 68, 69, 
70, 71, 73, 79> 8 °, 85, 9 2 , 95, 99, 
102, 103, 107, 109, 111, 112, 127, 
132, 148, 180, 182, 193, 198, 207, 
208, 209, 215, 216, 217, 225, 229, 
230, 234, 236, 240, 245, 247, 253, 
255, 259, 271, 273, 290, 291, 301, 
302, 303, 305, 307, 308, 309, 313, 
3i5) 316, 3i7 5 322, 324, 328, 333, 
334, 335, 337, 339, 342, 344 

Shapiro, Karl, 312 

Shaw, George Bernard, no, 339 

Shaw, Thomas, 345 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 25, 56, 69, 79, 
91, no, 112, 116, 194, 242, 256, 

259, 277, 330, 339, 344 
Shenstone, William, 241 
Shepard, William P., 241 
Sheridan, Richard B., 44 
Shestov, Leo, 111, 318 
Shils, Z., 316 
Shipley, J. T., 340, 344 
Shirley, James, 199 
Shklovsky, Viktor, 246, 252, 323, 

Sholokhov, Mikhail, 99 
Sidney, Sir Philip, 114, 175, 204, 

206, 220, 335 
Sienkiewicz, Henryk, 98 
Sievers, Eduard, 165, 170, 325 
Sign, 12 



Silz, Walter, 310, 311 

Sincerity, 215 

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, 

Sir Thomas More, 55, 307 
Sismondi, Jean-Charles-Leonard Si- 

monde de, 41, 304 
Sisson, C. J., 309, 335 
Skard, Sigmund, 3 1 9 
Skeat, W. W., 61, 308 
Skelton, John, 175, 180, 259 
Slavic Literatures, 42 
Slovo o folku Igor eve, 61, 308 
Smart, Christopher, 50, 178, 206, 

Smart, J. S., 308 
Smirnov, A. A., 103, 316 
Smith, Adam, 10 
Smith, Horatio, 313 
Smith, James H., 313 
Smith, Logan Pearsall, 255 
Smollett, Tobias, 99, 229 
Social Ideology, 91 f. 
Social Provenience (of writers) , 9 1 
Social Types, 100 
Society, Literature and, 88 ff., 129 
Sociology of Knowledge, 103 
Sociology of the Writer, 93 f. 
Socrates, 195, 196 
Sophocles, 20, 255, 301 
Sorel, Georges, 196, 331 
Sorokin, Pitirim, 105, 300, 317, 322 
Sound-Imitation, 163 [!59 

Sound stratum (in poetry), 146, 152, 
Sources, 231 
Southey, Robert, 163 
Space in Literature, 16 
Spargo, John Webster, 306 
Speare, M. E., 242 
Spencer, Herbert, 42 
Spencer, Theodore, 113, 319 
Spengler, Oswald, 33, 117, 121, 131, 

267, 268, 321, 333, 334 
Spenser, Edmund, 109, 124, 131, 

i34> 175, 184, 199, 205, 207, 227, 

236, 259, 269, 306, 320, 328 
Sperber, Hans, 328 
Spingarn, J. E., 302, 323, 338 
Spinoza, Baruch, 110, in, 115, 129, 

Spitzer, Leo, 109, 187, 300, 318, 328, 

329, 346 

Spranger, Eduard, 311 

Spurgeon, Caroline, 70, 215, 216, 

334, 335 
Stace, W. T, 22, 301, 302 
Standards, see Norms, Evaluation 
Stanislavsky, Konstantin S., 339 
Stapfer, P., 315 
Starkenburg, 316 

Statistics, 4, 5, 8, 60, 166, 173, 186 
Stauffer, Donald, 326 
Stead, W. F., 305 
Steele, Joshua, 165, 325 
Steevens, George, 307 
Stefansky, Georg, 117, 320 
Stein, Gertrude, 35, 167 
Steinbeck, John, 99, 225 
Stendhal, 72, 87, 115, 309, 313 
Stephen, Leslie, 263, 343 
Sterne, Laurence, 44, no, 143, 231, 

234, 236, 246, 270 
Stevenson, R. L., 57 
Stewart, George Ripley, Jr., 172, 326 
Stewart, J. A., 331 
Stoll, Edgar Elmer, 32, 101, 216, 

290, 300, 303, 309, 313, 315, 322, 

Stone, N. I., 316 
Stowe, Harriet Beecher, 97, 99 
Strachey, Lytton, 69 
Strauss, David Friedrich, no 
Stream of Consciousness, 87, 233 
Strich, Fritz, 133, 322, 329, 331 
Structure, 141, 153, 156 
Stumpf, Carl, 164, 324 
Style and Stylistics, 177 ff. 
Sugden, Herbert W., 328 
Summers, Montague, 339 
Surrey, Henry Howard, Earl, 175, 

Sutherland, James, 307 
Swedenborg, Emanuel, 331 
Swift, Jonathan, 92, 197, 220, 229, 

in, 339 
Swinburne, Algernon, 110, 170 
Sylvester, Joshua, 205 
Synaesthesia, 78, 191 
Syncopation, 170 
Symbol, 84, 193 ff. 
Symonds, John Addington, 3, 267, 

273, 299 
Symons, Arthur, 3, 274, 345 



Taine, Hippolyte, 101, 264, 293 

Tannenbaum, Samuel A., 306, 307 

Tate, Allen, 258, 303, 342 

Taupin, Rene, 330 

Tawney, R. H., 316 

Taylor, George C, 344 

Taylor, Jeremy, 167 

Teeter, Louis, 181, 323, 328 

Teggart, F. J., 267, 344 

Tennyson, Alfred, Lord, 110, 163, 

180, 259, 327 
Terence, 228 
Terry, Ellen, 73 
Textual Criticism, 51, 55 
Texture, 7 
Thackeray, William Makepeace, 17, 

99, 128, 231 
Theobald, Lewis, 54 
Theory and Practice, 93 
Theory, Literary, passim, 9, 28, 29 
Thibaudet, Albert, 124, 233, 290, 

312, 320, 337, 338, 339 
Thomas, William Beach, 314 
Thomas Aquinas, no 
Thomas a Kempis, 61 
Thompson, Sir E. M., 307 
Thompson, E. N. S., 308, 334 
Thompson, Francis, 333 
Thompson, Stith, 336 
Thomson, George, 105, 317 [240 
Thomson, James, 110, 114, 186, 214, 
Thomson, William, 326, 334 
Thon, Luise, 189 
Thoreau, Henry, 208 
Thorburn, John M., 311 
Thorndike, Ashley, 94, 95, 314 
Thrall, Miriam, M. H., 314 
Tieck, Ludwig, 80, 124, 125, 231 
Tillotson, Geoffrey, 186, 286, 322, 

327, 32-8 
Tillyard, Aelfrida, 312 
Tillyard, E. M., 150, 323 
Time in Literature, 16, 226 
Tinker, Chauncey Brewster, 310, 

Titian (Tiziano Vecelli), 131, 134 
Tolnay, Karoly, 129, 321 
Tolstoy, Leo, 17, 73, 80, 91, 92, 99, 

in, 144, 185, 227, 257, 318 
Tomars, Adolph Siegfried, 89 
Tomashevsky, Boris, 166, 325, 326, 


Toscanini, Arturo, 145 
Tourneur, Cyril, 60, 333 
Toynbee, Arnold, 267, 268 
Trahard, Pierre, 114, 319 
Traherne, Thomas, 72, 214, 334 
Trilling, Lionel, 310 
Troeltsch, Ernst, 32, 302, 324 
Trollope, Anthony, 55, 79, 99, 221, 

Trowbridge, Hoyt, 303 
Truth in Literature, 24 
Turgenev, Ivan, 92, 99, 167 
Tuve, Rosemond, 32 
Twain, Mark, 69, 81, 224, 225 
Tynyanov, Yuryi, 326 
Typologies: of artists, 78, 79; of 

W eltanschaiiungy 115; of styles, 

133, 134 
Tyrwhitt, Thomas, 59, 61, 308 

Ullman, S. de, 3 1 1 

Ulrich, C. F., 314 

Ulrici, Hermann, 107, 317 

Unconscious, The, 78, 82 f. 

Unger, Rudolf, 112, 113, 114, H5> 

1 16, 286, 318, 319 
Uniqueness, 8 
Universal, The, 8 
Utter, R. P., 315, 336 

Valentin, Veit, 339 

Valery, Paul, S2, 203, 312 

Value, 248 

Vanbrugh, Sir John, 315 

Van Doren, Mark, 300 

Van Dyck, Antoine, 131 

Van Tieghem, Paul, 41, 242, 244, 

246, 304, 336, 339, 340 
Vaughan, Henry, 203 
Vaughan, Wayland F., 310 
Veblen, Thorstein, 95 
Velasquez, Diego, 115 
Veltman, A., 231 
Verdi, Giuseppe, 127 
Verlaine, Paul, 126 
Veronese, Paolo, 135 
Verrier, Paul, 170, 172, 326, 327 
Veselovsky, Alexander N., 303, 344 
Vico, Giambattista, no, 195 
Victor, Karl, 237, 241, 273, 33S, 

340, 345 
Villemain, Abel Francois, 38 



Vinogradov, Viktor V., 178, 185, 

323, 327 
Virgil, 93, 163, 199, 235, 236, 259, 

Vischer, Friedrich Theodor, 1 6 
Visualizing of Metaphors, 17, igoff. 
Vitruvius, 149 
Vivas, Eliseo, 261, 343 
Voltaire, 94, 247, 268, 329 
Volynsky, A. L., in, 318 
Vossler, Karl, 177, 183, 327, 333, 


Wach, Joachim, 317 

Wade, Gladys I., 72, 214, 334 

Wagner, Richard, 126, 331 

Walker, Alice, 332 

Waller, Edmund, 258 

Walpole, Horace, 230, 243 

Walsh, Dorothy, 301, 341 

Walton, Isaac, 68, 214 

Walzel, Oskar, 116, 131, 132, 133, 

140, 300, 304, 313, 319, 322, 323, 

325, 328, 329, 337, 345 
Ward, Mrs. Humphry, 243 
Waring, James, 319 
Warren, Austin, 302, 328 
Warren, Robert Penn, 260 
Warton, Thomas, 61, 98, 263, 308, 

3i5> 343) 344 
Watteau, Antoine, 127 
Watts, Isaac, 200 
Weber, Max, 100, 104, 316 
Webster, John, 60, 333 
Wechssler, Eduard, 183, 279, 345 
Wellek, Albert, 311, 324 
Wellek, Rene, 318, 320, 321, 339, 

Wells, H. G., 99 
Wells, Henry W., 205, 206, 207, 209, 

2i7> 245, 333 
Wenceslaus II, King of Bohemia, 94 
Werner, Heinz, 202, 325, 332 
Wheelwright, Philip, 197, 330 
Whistler, James Abbot McNeill, 24, 

Whitcomb, S. L., 336 
White, H. O., 344 
Whitman, Walt, 53, 200, 306, 332 
Whitmore, C. E., 338 
Wicksteed, J. H., 194, 330 
Wilde, Oscar, 24, 41, 275, 312 

Willcock, Gladys Doidge, 332 
Williamson, George, 254, 259, 329, 

Wilson, Dover, 54, 55, 285, 307 
Wilson, Edmund, 310 
Wilson, Harold S., 344 
Wilson, Katherine M., 325 
Wilson, Romer, 310 
Wilson, Thomas, 344 
Wimsatt, William Kurtz, Jr., 162, 

182, 299, 324, 325, 328 
Winckelmann, J. J., 265 
Wind, Edgar, 320 
Windelband, Wilhelm, 5, 108, 299 
Wirth, L., 316 
Wise, T. J., 61, 62, 309 
Wolfflin, Heinrich, 116, 131, 132, 

133) 134, 259) 32i 

Wolfe, Thomas, 75 

Woodberry, George, 304 

Woodbridge, E., 301 

Woodhouse, Richard, 309 

Woolf, Virginia, 222 

Wordsworth, William, 33, 35, 56, 
70, 71, 72, no, 116, 185, 192, 
208, 216, 242, 252, 259, 272, 280, 

29 1 ) 309, 339 
"World," The, of a Novelist, 152, 

World Literature, 41 
Worringer, Wilhelm, 211, 333, 334 
Wrenn, J. H., 309 
Wundt, Wilhelm, 201 
Wycherley, William, 315 
Wyld, Henry Cecil, 162, 324, 327, 


Xenopol, A. D., 6, 299 

Yeats, William Butler, 16, 44, no, 
i94> 197) 211, 212, 213, 303, 330, 
33i) 333) 334) 342 

Yule, Udny, 60, 308 

Zabel, Morton D., 302 
Zeydel, Edwin H., 308 
Zeitgeist, 66, 121, 135 
Zhirmunsky, Viktor, 162, 322, 324, 

326, 327, 344 
Zielinski, T., 300 
Zimmermann, Robert, 132 
Zola, Emile, 149, 229 

Date Due 





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