Humpty Dumpty and the Metaphysical Poetry in the Twentieth-century Criticism
AbstractThe paper compares two different ways to analyse poetical texts which became dominant in Anglo-American academic scholarship in the second half of the twentieth century: the new criticism, actually imposing itself since the 30s, and the new historicism, whose impact started in the 80s and is still influential today. Through the analyses both offered of a poem by John Donne, The Canonization, ideological issues as well as conflicting views on the relationship between a formal engagement and a content commitment, and more generally between an intrinsic and an extrinsic approach to the study of literature (Wellek- Warren), are retraced and contextualized. The main aim is to show how political issues always affect didactic practices, critical proposals and movements, and how ideological biases did affect methodological proposals and interpretative discourses in the XXth-century early modern criticism.
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