Cleanth Brooks, an eminent New Critic, advocates the centrality of paradox as a way of understanding and interpreting poetry, in his. This presentation is based on Cleanth Brooks’s essay “The Language of Paradox ,”, wherein Cleanth Brooks emphasizes how the language of. In the article “The Language of Paradox,” author Cleanth Brooks argues that poetry is made up of a language of paradox, meaning that poetry is made up of a .

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William Wordsworth is a poet who distrusts sophistry and relies greatly on simplicity.

An Anthology2nd Ed. For one, Brooks believes that the very structure of poetry is paradox, and ignores the other subtleties of imagination and power that poets bring to clenath poems.

Paradoxy and Meaning in Bei Dao’s Poetry | positions: asia critique | Duke University Press

It also burns at its own cost, parradox to live again. It changes the tone of the poem from ironic cleabth to that of a defiant and controlled tenderness. His poems would not psradox too many examples of paradoxes. All the generalizations are made out of a close analysis of lyric poetry. This revivifies the metaphor and makes clear the sense in which the poet accepts it.

The poet is filled with worship, but the girl who walks with him is not. The lovers remain the same and the love is not merely lust. Such an approach would necessarily displace literature from its place in history and sever any ties it has with culture, society and religion, and also prevent morally biased readings.


Cleanth Brooks and The Language of Paradox. In short, it would make literature an isolated phenomenon.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

The practical friend will still have wars to fight and lawsuits to argue. Irony for Brooks is “the obvious warping of a statement cleanht the context” [6] whereas paradox is later glossed as a special kind of qualification that “involves the resolution of opposites. The underlying paradox is striking; the innocent girl, with her unconscious sympathy for all of nature, worships more deeply than the self conscious poet whose devotion is momentary and sporadic.

But he is to let the speaker alone. This is merely a matter of prejudice.

The unworldly lovers are thus the worldliest of all. Studies in the Structure of Poetry He argues that because their love is not mundane, the lovers can afford to reject the world.

Cleanth Brooks and The Language of Paradox | sucheta sankar –

This is exactly the way in which neo-classical poets used paradoxes; though it is true, here, to say that paradoxes insist on the irony, rather than the wonder. The paradox runs deeper than this contrast.

In particular, the New Critical techniques were found to be very effective with such forms as lyric poetry but not with genres like the novel, which are heavily invested in cultural, social, historical and moral readings.

These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism: His lovers, bereft of the benefits of parsdox supernatural that Donne confers on them, become less powerful, less unworldly.

Irony is the key to validating the poem because a test of any statement grows from the context — validating a statement demands examining the statement in the context of the poem and determining whether it is appropriate to that context. His reading of “The Canonization” in The Language of Paradoxwhere paradox becomes central to expressing complicated ideas of sacred and secular love, provides an example of this development.


Coleridge in his classic description of its nature and power employs a series of paradoxes: It is this reason that gives the speaker the opportunity to remark upon the beauty of London as he would a natural phenomenon, and, as Brooks points out, can call the houses “sleeping” rather than “dead” because they too are vivified with the natural spark of life, granted to them by the men that built them.

The argument for the centrality of paradox and irony becomes a reductio ad absurdum and is therefore void or at least ineffective for literary analysis. There are of course, brools to consciously employing lwnguage but the dangers are not overpowering. Even the most direct and simple poet has to resort to discrepancies, contradictions and paradoxes. One type of union becomes a metaphor for the other.

Brooks and the New Critics also argued that there was in existence a finite number of good texts a canon.

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