I don't think that holds up in reading Eliot's criticism. He himself
consistently used interpretation to determine value. For example, his
own interpretation of what the metaphysicals and French symbolists were
doing was for him a reason to value them. VARIETIES OF METAPHYSICAL
POETRY (the Clark and Turnbull lectures) traces a decline from Dante to
the present based on the idea that Dante had a coherent religious vision
of reality that, being lost, left one with fragmentation, and that lack
reduces the possibility of a unified sensibility essential to great art.
That seems to me to determine value on the basis of interpretation.
>>> [log in to unmask] 02/15/04 11:54 AM >>>
Concerning my last. The following is an example of what I think Eliot
would say is not a function of a critic.
Yvor Winters vigorously criticized Robinson Jeffers' poems which were
written around WWII for their lack of humanism. Winters' was very
that the poems were of little to no value because of their content and
Winters' interpretation of that content. I think Eliot was saying that
Winters was off the main track of literary criticism is doing this. As
critic Winters should have valued the poems based upon their artistic
alone and left the interpretation to the reader. Winters was free to
his interpretation but should not have used that interpretation as the
determiner for value.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2004 9:22 AM
Subject: Re: Qua work of art....
> I think "we and "reader" are both aspects of *everyman* and that the
> assuming that the reader does not know certain historical facts is the
> I also have trouble with the significance of what he is writing.
> Eliot would appear to be denying the critic any role beyond stating
> evaluative remarks and perhaps providing a historical setting. He is
> denying that it is a critic's role to establish an authoritative
> interpretation. He is not denying the reader such an interpretation.
> reader when he/she reads a work interprets that work within the
> context. The critic is free to provide his/her own reading but it
> understood that this is but one reader's interpretation.
> A literary theorist is free to construct general theories of how
> should be read but should not, in the role of "critic", provide
> interpretation of a specific work. A reader can utilize a theorist's
> general statements about literature to better understand a specific
> can recite that understanding to others but is not performing a
> role when he/she does so. That reader is only providing *that*
> The idea approaches Pound's concept of "Imagism". Because the
> an Imagist/Vorticist's work is the result of the triggering of a
> reader's "complex" by an artist's supplied Image, every realization of
> is specific, within cultural limits, to a reader. There is nothing
> generally "interpret" within a work of art. All that can be done is
> in a reader's blanks of specific understanding and issue a value of
> work's worth. Any reader is still free to write about the results of
> work of art as it was processed by that reader's "complex" and provide
> his/her understanding but it is not a critic's role to do so.
> In "Carta Da Vista" (A Visiting Card), on page 318 of "Selected Prose:
> 1909-1965", Pound has a little to say about critics, writers and
> which may be of interest to you. Since you can enjoy the original it
> of more value than John Drummond's translation of the Italian which is
> "Selected Prose" :>)
> Rick Seddon
> McIntosh, NM