Print

Print


I've taken a quick look at the article, and haven't read far enough to
know whether identifies Empson as a "new critic," which seems to be
implicit in the opening two or three paragraphs. The New Criticism is
dead as a dodo, but Empson was never a new critic and remains possibly
the greatest 20th-century critic in English.

Re Graves -- he could be pretty weird (mostly in a boring way) in his
criticism, but he did write some wonderful poetry. For example the
following:

Robert Graves
Warning to Children

        Children, if you dare to think
        Of the greatness, rareness, muchness,
        Fewness of this precious only
        Endless world  in which you say
        You live, you think of things like this:
        Blocks of slate enclosing dappled
        Red and green, enclosing tawny
        Yellow nets, enclosing white
        And black acres of dominoes,
        Where a neat brown paper parcel
        Tempts you to untie the string.
        In the parcel a small island,
        On the island a large tree,
        On the tree a husky fruit.
        Strip the husk and pare the rind off:
        In the kernel you will see
        Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
        Red and green, enclosed in tawny
        Yellow nets, enclosed by white
        And black acres of dominoes,
        Where the same brown paper parcel--
        Children, leave the string alone!
        For who dares undo the parcel
        Finds himself at once inside it,
        On the island, in the fruit,
        Blocks of slate enclosed by dappled
        Green and red, enclosed by yellow
        Tawny nets, enclosed by black
        And white acres of dominoes,
        With the same brown paper parcel
        Still untied upon his knee.
        And, if he then should dare to think
        Of the fewness, muchness, rareness,
        Greatness of this endless only
        Precious world in which he says
        He lives -- he then unties the string.