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Some Versions of Pastoral: Literary Criticism

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  29 Ratings  ·  4 Reviews
Mr. Empson sees the pastoral convention as including not only poems of shepherd life but any work "about the people but not by or for" them. Finding examples in the writing of every country and century, from Mencius to William Faulkner or Céline, he concentrates on an analysis of certain works and forms in English literature, several of them, like Alice in Wonderland, Troi ...more
Paperback, 298 pages
Published January 17th 1974 by New Directions (first published December 12th 1960)
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E.B.
Aug 31, 2014 E.B. rated it really liked it
This book makes absolutely no sense and I absolutely love it. Every now and again, a kernel of Empsonian brilliance jumps off the page and into my brain. It's magical.
Mark
Jul 09, 2011 Mark rated it it was ok
Very disappointing. This book was referenced in Faye Hammill's "Sophistication" and also in Harold Bloom's new book "The Anatomy of Influence." I am very interested in the themes and development of pastoral, and was hoping to learn something new in Empson's book. Didn't happen: Empson is an interesting writer, but extremely diffuse. I prefer a book with good solid arguments and clear use of evidence, and Empson provides neither here. I am sure I will return to this book at some point, but I may ...more
Lesliemae
Jun 17, 2014 Lesliemae rated it liked it
Shelves: special-fields
I need to read this book again after I've done some Renaissance reading. To go from Environmental ethics and Phenomenology straight to Empson is just too damn weird, leaving me with questions like whether Empson's pastoralism, as quirky as it is, belies a deeply dualistic metaphysic or whether you might align Heidegger's and Empson's proclivities for Eastern thought -Buddhism in particular?
Sean
Oct 29, 2012 Sean rated it really liked it
The best from one of the century's best critics. Let him teach you how to read lit.
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16092
Sir William Empson was an English literary critic and poet.

He was widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, fundamental to the New Critics. Jonathan Bate has said that the three greatest English Literary critics of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are Johnson, Hazlitt and Empson, "not least because they are the funniest".

Empson has been styled a "critic of genius" by
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More about William Empson...

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