The word critical is defined as “involving skillful judgment as to truth, merit, etc… a critical analysis/ of or pertaining to critics or criticism: critical essays.” (Dictionary, 2013).
These are the questions that will be looked at through this essay as well as defining what critical practice or being critical in academic works really is as well as how it relates to essay writing.
He was concerned with the process that he saw (some decades ago) in courses where the critical faculties of students are systematically destroyed. He first asks us to picture a civilisation where respect for truth is a powerful belief and systematic thinking is prized in intellectual and practical pursuits. Each feature of this civilisation would have characteristics derived from that prevailing habit of mind.
Yvor Winters (1900-1968) was one of those critics who fall between the cracks of all the theoretical compartments. In addition to his poetry he wrote a lot of criticism including numerous essays devoted to the principles of criticism although he is not a protagonist in the contemporary debate and is not mentioned in it. Even in his lifetime he was a marginal figure, sometimes lumped with the New Critics, sometimes dismissed as a simple-minded moralist. However, his ideas have lasting interest and at the height of his powers he wrote prose of marvellous clarity and vigour. Some of his best essays stand as works of literature in their own right, something that cannot be said of very many modern works of criticism or scholarship.
The Open Society and its Enemies is a monumental defence of democratic principles and a demolition of many pervasive ideas that render our traditions of rationality and tolerance dangerously fragile under the pressure of social and political crises. Chief among these is the utopian impulse to recreate society in the image of someone’s dreams. There is some debate as to whether Popper’s dramatic view of science as a succession of revolutions is consistent with the relative conservatism of his political philosophy. In fact there is no conflict because both garments are cut from the same cloth of critical rationalism, the spirit of criticism, respect for arguments, for the truth and for the rights of individual people.
Book Reviews 277 makes An American Odyssey a worthwhile introduction to a fascinating artist fraught with controversy and paradox. ARTHUR TODRAS, UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND R.B. PARKER, ed. The Glass Menagerie: A Collection of Critical Essays. (Twentieth Century Interpretations) Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall 1983. Pp. ix, 166. $5.95 (PB). On March 31, 1945, a new period in the history of the American drama, and indeed in that of World theatre, had its formal beginning at the Playhouse Theatre in New York. For on the evening of that day, Tennessee Williams's innovative drama, Tlze Glass Menagerie, opened to critical acclaim. Both critics and members of the widening audience which was eventually to see this drama recognized it as an essentially new form, a kind expressive of the realities of life in the world already taking shape in the final period of World War II. Jn Menagerie, Williams succeeded in creating a popular form of poetic quality. In the years between 1945 and his death in 1983, he continued the pattern of experimentation established in this innovative work, seeking to expand its range of images, characters, themes, settings, and modes of action in ways consistent with his changing vision. R.B. Parker's thoughtful selection of essays on Menagerie in the Twentieth Century Interpretations series is a collective study of the idea of form in this early work. The essays assembled by Professor Parker treat both the distinguishing characteristics of this definitive work and the complex process through which its form evolved. The essays all of which have been previously published- have been organized in four sections. The first of these includes reviews of Broadway productions of the play by Stark Young, Brooks Atkinson, and Howard Taubman, and an analysis of the film version of the play by Maurice Yacowar. Part Two, "Influences and Variants," focuses on textual studies. Illuminating essays by Gilbert Debusscher and Thomas L. King treat Williams's transposition of literary conventions to the stage. Essays by James L. Rowland, Lester A. Beaurline, and R.B. Parker take somewhat different approaches to the analysis of the text. All three are concerned with the significance of the various versions of the play, including the variant interpretations recorded in the manuscripts housed in collections at the Universities of Virginia and Texas. Beaurline follows the progression of Menagerie from "story to play," while Rowland compares "acting" and "reading" versions of the work. Parker traces the evolution of the form of the play through various stages of development documented in materials deposited at the University of Texas. Essays in Part Three are addressed to Williams's attempts to develop expositional strategies appropriate for the interpretation of the unique characters who people the world of the play. Benjamin Nelson follows Williams in interpreting characters in this early work as functions of memory. Tom Scanlan's essay comments on the playwright's adaptive use of social psychology in rendering his characters. John Strother Clayton Book Reviews interprets Williams's use of imagery, particularly the "sister figure," as a kind of expositional "short-hand." Part Four, "Dramaturgy," offers tentative conclusions about the achievement of this early work. Frank Durham describesMenagerie as a poem written in the language of the modem stage. Roger B. Stein concludes that Williams's success in this work is derived from his ability to achieve a "delicate balance" between the play's poetic form and its social, psychological, and religious contents. The section concludes with Paul T. Nolan's comparison of Menagerie and Arthur Miller's After the Fall as examples of a new dramatic genre - the memory play. The collection of essays assembled by Parker is particularly valuable at this time. It not only offers a highly useful review of criticalinterpretations of The Glass Menagerie, but also provides an opportunity to reexamine Williams's career and to reassess his contribution to the idea of dramatic form, as well as to the literature of the modem theatre. The editor takes this reassessment to be a necessary function, commenting in the concluding lines of his excellent introductory essay that, "Despite the goodwork already done, scholarship on Williams is still only just beginning." An important line of such scholarly and critical...
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“Universities now have a high prestige and offer high rates of pay and good chances for advancement. English, from a new and not very utilitarian subject has become a high-pressure industry.” That means the doctorate is absolutely required for appointment and Hope had some difficulty in explaining how in Australia he could be a professor and head of department without being Dr Hope. Hence the pressure to publish or perish among graduate students and teachers as well. In the space of a generation research and scholarship shifted from a focus on the books to provide more knowledge, to provide good texts, to establish the canon of a writer’s works, and to clear up misunderstandings by historical criticism. “Now the purpose of nine-tenths of the research and criticism that goes on is to help the researcher to qualify in the great rat-race”.
“This book offers a careful re-reading of Popper’s classic falsificationist demarcation of science, stressing its institutional aspects. Ian Jarvie tracks Popper’s social thinking about science, individuals, institutions, and rationality through The Poverty of Historicism and The Open Society and Its Enemies as he criticised and improved his earlier work. New links are established between the works of the 1935-1945 period, revealing them as a source for criticism of the institutions and governance of science.”