Concepts of Criticism


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Rene Wellek; Edited by Stephen G. Nicholas

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Provocative and penetrating, these essays attest to Mr. Wellek’s intense concern during the past two decades with the problems besetting the disciplines of literary theory, criticism, and history. Each essay accordingly sets as its goal the development of a concept that will contribute to better understanding of the literary work. Trenchant investigation of such significant critical concepts as baroque, romanticism, and realism are complemented by illuminating surveys of the current state of literary criticism and related commentaries on contemporary literary theory and scholarship. Concepts of Criticism constitutes a valuable statement of Mr. Wellek’s theoretical position. A number of the essays are published for the first time and a bibliography of Mr. Wellek’s publications is included.  René Wellek, author of A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950, is Sterling Professor of Comparative Literature at Yale.

"Throughout, the documentation is massive, the breadth of intelligence masterful. Indeed, several of these articles have already become central documents, established points of reference and of recourse, for the literary research and interpretation of our time."—St. Louis Post Dispatch

"In this chaotic though exciting [age of criticism] Mr. Wellek assumed early the important role of firm but kindly traffic policeman. He is the critic of the critics, the file-leader of the literary historians and theorists. . . . This is a book, not a miscellany. Its unity drives from two characteristics of the author's strategy: his continuing effort to clarify and extend his leading ideas and to prove the relatedness of these ideas."—The New York Times Book Review

"René Wellek is rightly considered one of the leading authorities in matters of literary theory. His sound linguistic and philosophical training . . . and his knowledge of Western literature, from Russian to American inclusive, well qualify him for 'the clarification of theoretical problems. . . .' Stephen G. Nichols, Jr., Wellek's colleague at Yale, has competently edited and introduced this volume, adding a thorough index and a bibliography of Wellek's writings which is complete except for works published in Czech."—Virginia Quarterly Review

"Only rarely does a book come along which we can sincerely say is indispensable to a large class of readers. Any one who pretends to be concerned with recent developments in literary criticism or comparative literature must not only read, but take serious account of every page of this collection of Mr. Wellek's essays."—Modern Language Journal
ISBN: 9780300094633
Publication Date: March 11, 1963
420 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/2