• Cleanth Brooks

    Who is Brooks?

    Cleanth Brooks was born in Kentucky, and educated at Vanderbilt, Tulane, and Oxford. He started a teaching career in 1932 at Louisiana State University. Brooks is considered as the best example of a New Critic. His contribution to criticism made him become one of the most influential American literary critical of modern times. He continues to be recognized as a careful reader who scrutinized his texts deligently.

     His Works :

          The Well-Wrought Urn, in 1947.

          Modern Poetry and Tradition, in 1939

          Understanding Poetry: An Anthology for College Student.

          Literary Critisism: A short History.

          A shaping Joy: Studies in the Writer’s Craft.

    Brooks contribution to literary criticism:

    Irony as a principle of Structure in literary criticism

    Brooks and the New Critics methodology:

    Cleanth Brooks said that the main elements in a poem are paradox and irony. Other New critics used the word tension to describe the conflicting aspects within the text.

    Brooks critical methods to understand a text better:

    The methods employed by Brooks are very crucial and typical of the style of all new critics.

    The Good critic and the Bad critic:

    According to New critical principles, a good critic examines a poem’s structure by scrutinizing it text elements, it inner tensions, and the poem’s overall meaning, on the other hand a bad critics are those who insist on imposing extrinsic evidences such as historical or biographical information on a text to discover its meaning.

    The Well of Wrought Urn

    a critic should always start “by a close examination of what the poem portrays as a poem.” Brooks says that a true literary criticism does not discuss about the author or about the historical settings.

    The Formalist Critics

    Brooks once again makes the same point clearby saying that literary study deals not with the author, the reader, or the historical context but instead with the specific text at hand: “the formalistic critic is concerned primarily with the work itself.”

    How did Cleanth Brooks reputation suffer in the 1970’s and 1980s?

    1.    During the 1970 and the 1980s Brooks writings particularly his essay portrayed the constraints and problems in New American Criticism.

    2.    he neglected and isolated literary criticism by simply concentrating on the analysis of the text alone.

    3.    Brooks did not make any attempts to connect literary writings to political, social, and cultural issues and debates in society.


    Reem Al-Ghanim

    Afdhal Al-Fulaij