Foundations of English Literary Criticism. From Philip Sydney to Henry James

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Book showcases the history of British literary criticism dating back to the Classical and Renaissance Periods, all the way up through to the Victorian Age. It covers figures as diverse as Philip Sydney, John Dryden, William Wordsworth, Matthew Arnold, and even Henry James. Literary criticism is an event in the field of literature as much as literature provides an object upon which criticism can purvey its message. Yet, in recent years literary criticism has moved into the realm of a self-sustaining field detached from literature as its inspirational object. This book looks at literary criticism which was still responding to concrete poetry and literature.


“This book is a most useful and reliable instrument for young scholars and students, a well-documented and ambitious achievement. It is the expression of a long-standing professional interest and the result of attentive reflection and intellectual maturity.”
Prof. Cornelia Macsiniuc,
University of Suceava

“The book is based on an excellent idea and the layout of the proposed study is conceptually and educationally sound; the volume is undoubtedly publishable, and I believe that when published, the work will take its place alongside other historical studies of literary criticism.”
Prof. Hasan Boynukara,
Namik Kemal University

“Students as well as scholars in English literary theory can refer to this book for information on both literary writing and critical theory which are presented diachronically from the Renaissance to the rise of Modernism and Formalism.”
Prof. Sener Bag

Table of Contents

Foreword by Cornelia Macsiniuc
Introduction: The Idea of Literature as a Critical Concern
Preliminaries: Critical Theory in Classical Times and in the Middle Ages
The Renaissance: Philip Sydney and the Defensive Beginnings
The Seventeenth Century: John Dryden and Prescribing Literary Theory and Practice
The Eighteenth Century: Criticism between Neoclassicism (Alexander Pope, Samuel Johnson) and the Rise of the Novel (Henry Fielding)
The Romantic Period: New Theories and Old Traditions (William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley)
The Victorian Age: Towards Independence from Dependent, Subjective, Defensive and Prescriptive Criticism (Matthew Arnold, John Ruskin, Walter Pater, Henry James)
Conclusion: Final Remarks and the Twentieth Century Institutionalisation of Literary Criticism
References and Further Reading

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