Subscribe: Essays in Criticism - current issue
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Essays in Criticism Current Issue

Published: Tue, 11 Jul 2017 00:00:00 GMT

Last Build Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2017 02:44:12 GMT


MULTITUDES The Cambridge History of American Poetry. Edited by A lfred B endixen and S tephen B urt


The Cambridge History of American Poetry. Edited by BendixenAlfred and BurtStephen. Cambridge University Press, 2014; $170.

THE ‘TIGER CAT’S’ LETTERS Selected Letters of Vernon Lee, 1856-1935 , volume i. Edited by A manda G agel and S ophie G eoffroy


Selected Letters of Vernon Lee, 1856-1935, volume i. Edited by GagelAmanda and GeoffroySophie. Routledge, 2017; £110.

GOLDEN BOY Let Us Watch Richard Wilbur: A Biographical Study . By R obert B agg and M ary B agg


Let Us Watch Richard Wilbur: A Biographical Study. By BaggRobert and BaggMary. University of Massachusetts Press, 2017; cloth $90, paperback $32.95.

A SERIES OF FITS The Poems of Basil Bunting. Edited by D on S hare


The Poems of Basil Bunting. Edited by ShareDon. Faber & Faber, 2016; £30.

Stanley Cavell’s Coleridgean Literary Life


‘IT IS AN ACCEPTED FACT of philosophical and literary scholarship that Cavell’s writing is difficult’, says Áine Mahon: ‘Challenging, complex, intricate, intractable, obstinate, testing and tough. There is a profound sense of struggle’, ‘of intellectual labors enacted directly and unflinchingly in the reader’s presence’. Mahon sees the cause as lying in Cavell’s Coleridge-like autobiographical tendencies, following ‘a methodological principle that all knowledge must first authorize itself as knowledge-of-the-self. Before we can claim agreement from others, in other words, we must first ensure the stability and integrity of our own experience’. The source here is Emerson, whom Cavell follows in affirming that, in Mahon’s paraphrase, ‘our apprehensions of the world carry with them a communicative and pedagogical responsibility’.11 Emerson’s word for this, Mahon continues, is ‘tuition’, which is what, in Cavell’s words, ‘I understand criticism to be’, and which Mahon notes comes from the ‘Romance root’ of ‘guardianship’ – ‘to look after’ or ‘to watch over’.22

Hardy’s Apprehensions


CALEB SALEEBY wrote to Hardy in 1914 to ask whether he was correct in observing the similarity of his philosophical position in The Dynasts (1904) to that of Bergson in Creative Evolution (1907; published in English 1911). A few letters later, Saleeby’s question about the philosophical position of the verse-drama had been reformulated by Hardy as an enquiry into the phenomenology of belief:Half my time (particularly when I write verse) I believe – in the modern use of the word – not only in the things Bergson does, but in spectres, mysterious voices, intuitions, omens, dreams, haunted places, etc., etc. But then I do not believe in these things in the old sense of belief any more for that.11