"Cogency" is Eliot's word; I spke of "refutation" and/or "confirmation." The history of criticism hardly reveals a single (non-trivial) proposition that others equally "cogent" have not disagreed with. In other words, "cogency" is NOT, in literary criticism, the equivalent of "confirmation." Eliot's Introduction to The Sacred Wood is cogent enough -- but it is unconvincing and probably few literary scholars today would agree with it.
The criticism of Cleanth Brooks was cogent enough; it just now appears silly and uninteresting.
That's what happens in literary interpretation and judgment. And Stanley Fish's _Surprised by Sin_ would be rejected by many just because it is, in some senses, so powerfully "cogent." It resembles "The One Horse Shay" that fell apart.
From: T. S. Eliot Discussion forum. [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Ken Armstrong
Sent: Monday, December 22, 2014 10:00 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Eliot's Note on Rymer and cogency (?)
Thanks, Rickard, the font linked there is much easier on the old eyes than the reprint I found in the library, which latter looks like it is a copy of an original manuscript reproduced on a mimeograph machine without enough ink and with the pages out of order. Or maybe that's the way the original appeared. At any rate, with access now to the Complete Prose and that magical item called the "index," I see now where the note falls.
As no one else has mentioned it, I'm fascinated by Carrol's claim that "cogency" is not a proper principle to bring to a literary critical discussion, in this case of what makes good, or at least acceptable, literary criticism. I'd have thought that asking for a cogent critical argument sets the bar as low as possible before the next step down to random rambling followed by nothing at all. Since it was a literary critical argument against cogency in literary criticism, wouldn't Carrol's argument have to be illogical and unpersuasive (the definition of "not cogent") in order to be true to his claim? What a conundrum. It reminds me of the Bob Dylan line, "There's no success like failure, and failure's no success at all."
Just a thought.
On 12/19/2014 7:00 PM, Rickard A. Parker wrote:
> If you want to read Rymer go to
> Rymer on Othello
> Othello: A Bloody Farce
> by THOMAS RYMER
> >From A Short View of Tragedy, London, 1693. The standard modern
> is in The Critical Works of Thomas Rymer, ed. Curt Zimansky (New Haven:
> Yale University Press, 1956), pp. 132-164. [Bracketed page numbers are
> to this edition.]