Category: Literary Criticism

  • G.K. Chesterton on William Blake and Mysticism

    I’m reading G.K. Chesteron’s biography of William Blake, and it’s a real treat, full of Chesterton’s unique insights and witticisms. The following quote provides a fresh angle on three of the poets we’ve discussed so far in the Culture Club: Blake, Shakespeare and Yeats. Chesterton is commenting on the fact that William Blake’s father, James…

  • Nature and Spirituality in William Wordsworth’s Poetry

    Jonathan Wordsworth (a descendant of William Wordsworth), in his introduction to the Penguin edition of the four texts of the Prelude by William Wordsworth, makes interesting notes on the evolution of the poet’s view of nature and spirituality. He traces these thoughts from Tintern Abbey, where Wordsworth talks of a pantheistic divine presence – ‘the…

  • J.B. Priestley on William Wordsworth

    This quote from J.B. Priestley really struck a chord with me: ‘A good deal of [Wordsworth’s poetry], perhaps most of it, is very dull, like a long walk on a grey day. But just as somewhere on that walk there might be a sudden and superb flash of beauty, so in Wordsworth’s poetry there are…

  • Cambridge Forum Radio: Christopher Ricks on Bob Dylan

    Here’s something to check out if you’re interested in serious analysis of Bob Dylan’s work. In fact it’s worth listening to anyway, as an excellent example of literary analysis. And it’s free on the iTunes music store – if you have iTunes on your PC or Mac, click on ‘launch application’ when prompted and it…

  • TS Eliot and Meaning in Poetry

    My background reading on the late Yeats poems drew me to the CK Stead book, The New Poetic: Yeats to Eliot. Here I discovered an interesting perspective on the ‘meaning’ of poetry, derived from Eliot’s literary criticism (and clearly, informing his own poetry). Stead says: ‘For Eliot, as for Yeats, a poem is to be…