His favorite critics are Coleridge and T. Must they by necessity speak in metaphors, ambiguities, ironies, and paradoxes? Indeed, so much is known about Wordsworth. In his essay on W. Even the most direct and simple poet is forced into paradoxes far more often than we think, if we are sufficiently alive to what he is doing.
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Most of the chapters of this book have been published as separate essays; but I offer it to the reader, not as a miscellaneous collection, but as a book, a book with a defined objective and a deliberate plan. I have attempted to examine, in terms of a common approach, a number of celebrated English poems, taken in chronological order, from the Elizabethan period to the present.
Whether or not the approach is really a common approach, and whether or not the examination reveals that the poems possess some common structural properties, are matters for the reader to determine. The last chapter attempts some generalizations upon these properties, and upon the characteristic structure of poetry.
There is something to be said, I think, for thus exhibiting the concrete examples on which the generalizations are to be based. If this procedure is frankly part of a strategy for securing conviction, it also constitutes, I may point out, something of a check on the generalizations made in the final chapter -- a means of testing them. I could even hope that, if the worst came to the worst and the account of poetic structure itself had to be rejected, some of the examples might survive the rejection as independent readings of the poems concerned.
At all events, the readings represent an honest attempt to work close to specific texts. An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.
No cover image. Read preview. Excerpt Most of the chapters of this book have been published as separate essays; but I offer it to the reader, not as a miscellaneous collection, but as a book, a book with a defined objective and a deliberate plan. Yet, even when relieved by the concrete instances that precede.
The Well Wrought Urn
The structure meant is a structure of meanings, evaluations, and interpretations; and the principle of unity which informs it seems to be one of balancing and harmonizing connotations, attitudes, and meanings. But even here one needs to make important qualification: the principle is not one which involves the arrangement of the various elements into homogeneous groupings, paring like with like. It unites the like with the unlike. It does not unite them, however, by the simple process of allowing one connotation to cancel out another nor does it reduce the contradictory attitudes to harmony by a process of subtraction. The essential structure of a poem as distinguished from the rational or logical structure of the 'statement' which we abstract from it resembles that of architecture or painting: it is a pattern of resolved stresses. Or, to move closer still to poetry by considering the temporal arts, the structure of a poem resembles that of a ballet or musical composition. It is a pattern of resolutions and balances and harmonizations , developed through a temporal scheme.
The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry
It is considered a seminal text  in the New Critical school of literary criticism. The title contains an allusion to the fourth stanza of John Donne 's poem, " The Canonization ", which is the primary subject of the first chapter of the book. The Well Wrought Urn is divided into eleven chapters, ten of which attempt close readings of celebrated English poems from verses in Shakespeare's Macbeth to Yeats's "Among School Children". The eleventh, famous chapter, entitled "The Heresy of Paraphrase," is a polemic against the use of paraphrase in describing and criticizing a poem. The unique contribution of The Well Wrought Urn is that it combines the close reading analysis of the previous volumes while answering some of the criticism directed at Brooks's theory. Because literary tastes change so much over time, it seems reasonable to the historicist to evaluate each writer according to the standards of his own age.
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