From practical criticism to the practice of literary criticism

Chanita Goodblatt, Joseph Glicksohn

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17 Scopus citations


In Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgment (1963 [1929]), I. A. Richards marks his standing as the herald of three trends of literary criticism: the empirical study of literature, New Criticism, and Reader-Response Criticism. What is more, in this book he affiliates himself with the experimental psychology of his time and by extension with the rising prominence of Gestalt theory within this discipline. Our research weaves together not only these three trends but also his Interaction Theory of Metaphor, detailed in The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936). This essav draws out the implications of Richards's approach to cognitive literary studies for our work on poetic metaphor. In the section entitled "A Gestalt Approach to Poetry" we develop and incorporate his Interaction Theory of Metaphor into our Gestalt-Interaction Theory of Metaphor, applying it to a reading of John Donne's poem "The Bait." In the section "An Empirical Study of Poetry" we discuss Richards's empirical study of poetry, followed by our own empirical study, in line with the same Gestalt-Interaction Theory of Metaphor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-236
Number of pages30
JournalPoetics Today
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes


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