Critical topics and methods have changed in countless ways from the heyday of the formalist critics of the 1940s and 50s. Writers such as Wellek, Brooks, Wimsatt, Frye and Matthiessen were continuously challenged by later generations who questioned the ideological, gendered, and ethnocentric assumptions guiding the critical preoccupations and methods of the Formalist school. This panel seeks papers focused on the possibility for questioning, intervention, or reversal implicitly or explicitly expressed in the interpretive models and rhetorical form of one or more standard texts from this era of American literary criticism, such as The Well-Wrought Urn, American Renaissance, The Verbal Icon, Theory of Literature or Anatomy of Criticism. Depending on one’s current methods and materials, is this text now a classic or a dinosaur? How do the poetics, aesthetics and theoretical principles of these works compare to the key texts and methods of the last twenty years? Papers may consider one or more of the major critical texts of the era (1940-1960), or provide an exposition regarding a lesser known, though significant work.


Location: Baltimore, Maryland (Marriot Waterfront)
Organization: Northeast Modern Language Association

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