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PRACTICAL CRITICISM BY I A RICHARDS Part III Chapters 1-8 Ivor Armstrong Richards (26 February 1893 in Sandbach, Cheshire

7 September 1979 in Cambridge) was an influential English literary critic and rhetorician. He was educated at Magdalene College, Cambridge[1] where his love of English was nurtured by the scholar 'Cabby' Spence. His books, especially The Meaning of Meaning, Principles of Literary Criticism, Practical Criticism, and The Philosophy of Rhetoric, proved to be founding influences for the New Criticism. The concept of 'practical criticism' led in time to the practices of close reading, what is often thought of as the beginning of modern literary criticism. Richards is regularly considered one of the founders of the contemporary study of literature in English.

Biographical sketch Beginnings Richards began his career without formal training in literature at all; he studied philosophy ("moral sciences") at Cambridge University. This may have led to one of Richards' assertions for the shape of literary study in the 20th century that literary study cannot and should not be undertaken as a specialization in itself, but instead studied alongside a cognate field (philosophy, psychology, rhetoric, etc.). Richards' earliest teaching appointments were in the equivalent of what might be called "adjunct faculty" positions; Magdalene College at Cambridge would not pay a salary to Richards to teach the new and untested field of English literature. Instead, Richards collected tuition directly from the students as they entered the classroom each week. In 1926 he married Dorothy Pilley Richards, whom he had met on a climbing holiday in Wales. Contributions Richards' life and influence can be divided into periods, which correspond roughly to his intellectual interests. In many of these achievements, Richards found a collaborator in C. K. Ogden. Collaboration with Ogden An assessment of Richards' work and biography requires mention of C. K. Ogden, Richards' collaborator on three of the most important projects of Richards' life and work. In Foundations of Aesthetics (co-authored by Richards, Ogden & James Woods), Richards maps out the principles of aesthetic reception which lay at the root of his literary theory (the principle of "harmony" or balance of competing psychological impulses). Additionally, the structure of the work (surveying multiple, competing definitions of the term "aesthetic") prefigures his work on

multiple definition in Coleridge on Imagination, in Basic Rules of Reason and in Mencius on the Mind. In The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism, Richards and Odgen work out the triadic theory of semiotics which, in its dependence on psychological theories, prefigures the importance of psychology in Richards independently authored literary criticism. Additionally, many current semioticians (including Eco) salute this work as a vast improvement on the dyadic semiotics of Saussure. Finally, in works like The General Basic English Dictionary and Times of India Guide to Basic English, Richards and Ogden developed their most internationally influential projectthe Basic English program for the development of an international language based with an 850-word vocabulary. Richards' own travels, especially to China, made him an effective advocate for this international program. At Harvard, he took the next step, integrating new media (television, especially) into his international pedagogy. Aesthetics and literary criticism Works
 The Foundations of Aesthetics (George Allen and Unwin: London, 1922). Co-authored with C.

K. Ogden and James Wood. 2nd edition with revised preface, (Lear Publishers: New York 1925).
 The Principles of Literary Criticism (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1924; New York,

1925). Subsequent editions: London 1926 (with two new appendices), New York 1926 (Same as London 1926, but with new preface, dated New York, April 1926), 1928 (with rev preface).
 Science and Poetry (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1926). A reset edition was

published in the same year in New York, by W. W. Norton, 1926. Second edition, revised and enlarged: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1935. There is no known US publication of the 2nd Edition, however the text of the 1935 edition was reset, with a 'Preface', 'Commentary', and an additional essay, 'How Does a Poem Know When it is Finished' (1963), as Poetries and Sciences (W. W. Norton: New York and London, 1970).
 Practical Criticism (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1929). Subsequent editions: 1930

 Coleridge on Imagination (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1934; New York, 1935).

Later editions: NY and London 1950 (Revised with new preface), Bloomington 1960 (Reprints 1950, with new foreword by Richards and introduction by K. Raine).
 Speculative Instruments: (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1955).

 'So Much Nearer: Essays toward a World English (Harcourt, Brace & World: New York, 1960,

1968). Includes the important essay, "The Future of Poetry." Theory Richards is often labeled as the father of the New Criticism, largely because of the influence of his first two books of critical theory, The Principles of Literary Criticism and of Practical Criticism.Principles was a major critical breakthrough, offering thirty-five insightful chapters regarding various topics relevant to literary criticism, including: form, value, rhythm, coenesthesia, literary infectiousness, allusiveness, divergent readings, and belief. His next book, Practical Criticism, was just as influential as an empirical study of inferior literary response. Richards removed authorial and contextual information from thirteen poems, including one by Longfellow and four by decidedly marginal poets. Then he assigned their interpretation to undergraduates at Cambridge University in order to ascertain the most likely impediments to an adequate response. This approach had a startling impact at the time in demonstrating the depth and variety of misreadings to be expected of otherwise intelligent college students as well as the population at large. In using this method, Richards did not advance a new hermeneutic. Instead, he was doing something unprecedented in the field of literary studies: he was interrogating the interpretive process itself by analyzing the self-reported interpretive work of students. To that end, his work necessitated a closer interpretation of the literary text in and of itself and provided what seems a historical opening to the work done in English Education and Composition [Flower & Hayes] as they engage empirical studies. Connected with this effort were his seminal theories of metaphor, value, tone, stock response, incipient action, pseudo-statement, and ambiguity, the latter as expounded by William Empson, his former graduate student Influence Richards served as mentor and teacher to other prominent critics, most notably William Empson and F.R. Leavis. Other critics primarily influenced by his writings also included Cleanth Brooks andAllen Tate. Later critics who refined their formalist approach to New Criticism by actively rejecting his psychological emphasis included, besides Brooks and Tate, John Crowe Ransom, W.K. Wimsatt,R.P. Blackmur, and Murray Krieger. R.S. Crane of the Chicago school was also both indebted to Richards' theory and critical of its psychological assumptions. They all admitted the value of his seminal ideas but sought to salvage what they considered his most useful assumptions from the theoretical excesses they felt he brought to bear in his criticism. Like his student Empson, Richards proved a difficult model for the New Critics, but his model of close reading provided the basis for their interpretive methodology. Richard L. W. Clarke LITS2306 Notes 07B I. A. RICHARDS PRACTICAL CRITICISM (1929) Richards, I. A. Practical Criticism: a Study of Literary Judgment. London: Kegan Paul,

1929. In this seminal work, Richards thesis is that the reader-critic should strive to be objective. This is not, however, a straightforward undertaking given the numerous obstacles of a linguistic nature strewn in the way of all aspirations towards such objectivity. Richards methodology is a scientific one. His approach is, specifically, inductive. That is, he does not start from certain a priori principles or assumptions concerning the nature of literary interpretation and how objectivity may accordingly be attained (this would be a deductive approach). Rather, he starts as any good scientist would by seeking to assemble certain empirical facts. In this case, he gathers the actual responses offered by real undergraduate students in a class room setting at the university of Cambridge the accuracy of which he then attempts to assess. The next step is to analyse the results and come up with a theory designed to explain these results. The final step is to provide a remedy by which to circumvent the faulty interpretive strategies responsible for these false readings and to implement, by contrast, correct interpretive strategies designed to lead one to an accurate reading of the meaning of the work in question. Of course, notwithstanding the inductive approach which he applies, it should be pointed out that Richards is not without his presuppositions. To be precise, his main assumption is that works have a single, correct meaning and that it is possible to grasp this meaning. It is on this basis that he proceeds to explore why this meaning is often so difficult to arrive at. PART I: INTRODUCTORY (1-16) Here, Richards recounts how as a lecturer at the university of Cambridge he became fascinated with the fact that responses to the same literary work could be so widely divergent, even on the part of students who were supposed to be very intelligent and

highly educated. Why, he wondered, did students respond in such divergent ways to the very same works? This stimulated him to give out poems to his students without titles or names on it he dis this so that students would not be swayed by any assumptions which they may have already possessed concerning the author or the work in question (see Appendices C and D). He then asked the students to interpret these poems, collected their comments (what he called protocols), and compared them.

PART II: DOCUMENTATION (19-170) Here, Richard lays out the 13 poems together with the students responses to them, all this with a view to documenting the sheer variety and divergence of their interpretations of the very same works.


Chapter 1 The Four Kinds of Meaning Richards shows an interest in the effect of poems on the reader. He tends to locate poem in reders response. The being of the poem seems to exist only in the readers. Poetry is a form of words that organizes our attitudes. Poetry is composed of pseudo statements, therefore it is effective. He talks about the close analysis of a text. Like a new critics, he values irony. He praises the irony and says that it is characteristics of poetry of higher order. In The Forth Kinds of Meaning, he talks about functions of language. Basically he points out four types of functions or meaning that the language has to perform. Richards is left with much to ponder after collecting and collating the students responses: a hundred verdicts from a hundred readers . . . a result at the very opposite pole from my hope and intention (173). He notes that the original difficulty of all reading, the problem of making out the meaning, is our obvious starting-point. The answers to these apparently simple

questions: What is a meaning? What are we doing when we endeavour to make it out? What is it we are making out? are the master-keys to all problems of criticism. If we can make use of them the locked chambers and corridors of theory of poetry open to us, and a new and impressive order is discovered even in the most erratic twists of the protocols. (174) Richards comes up with the view that there are several kinds of meaning (174). As listeners and readers, he writes, the Total Meaning we are engaged with is, almost always, a blend, a combination of several contributory meanings of different types (174). This is because language as it is used in poetry . . . has not one but several tasks to perform simultaneously (174). For this reason, we shall misconceive most of the difficulties of criticism unless we understand this point and take note of the difference between these functions (174). There are four types of function, four kinds of meaning (175) found in all uses of language:

Sense: What speaker or author speaks is sense. The thing that the writer literally conveys is sense. Here, the speaker speaks to arouse the readers thought. The language is very straightforward which is descriptive. This language is not poetic. Words are used to direct the hearer's attraction up on some state of affairs or to excite them. Sense is whatness of language use. we speak to say something, . . . to direct our hearers attention upon some state of affairs, to present to them some items for consideration, and to excite in them some thoughts about these items . To put this in another way, words must communicate to some degree a claim of some sort about the world (Richards is alluding here to the correspondence theory of language).

Feeling: Feeling is writers emotional attitude towards the subject. It means writers attachment or detachment to the subject is feeling. It is an expression. The speaker or writer uses language to express his views. This very language is emotive, poetic and literary also. Here only, rhyme and meter cannot make poetry to be a good, emotion is equally important. Especially in lyric poem, emotion plays vital role. Richards writes that we also, as a rule, have some feelings about these items, about the state of affairs we are referring to. We have an attitude towards it, some special direction, bias, or accentuation of interest towards it, some personal flavour or colouring of feeling; and we use language to express these feelings, this nuance of interest. Equally when we listen we pick it up, rightly or wrongly; it seems inextricably part of what we receive. Under the term feeling, he clarifies in a footnote, he groups the whole conativeaffective aspect of life emotions, emotional attitudes, the will, desire, pleasureunpleasure, and the rest.Feeling is shorthand for any or all of this

Tone: Tone refers to attitude of speaker towards his listener. There is a kind of relation between speaker and listener. Since speaker is aware of his relationship with language and with the listener, he changes the level of words as the level of audience changes. It means tone varies from listener to listener. moreover, the speaker ordinarily has an attitude to his listener. He chooses or arranges his words differently as his audience varies. . . . The tone of his utterance reflects his awareness of this relation, his sense of how he stands towards those he is addressing.

Intention: Intention is the purpose of speaker. Speaker has certain aim to speak either it is consciously or unctuously. Listener has to understand the speaker's purpose to understand his meaning. If the audience can't understand his purpose the speaker becomes unsuccessful. The intention of author can be found in dramatic and semi- dramatic literature. There four types of meaning in totality constitute the total meaning of any text. Therefore all utterances can be looked at from four points of view, revealing four kinds of meaning are not easily separated. But they are in dispensable terms for explaining. Basically, the four meaning are interconnected in poetry. Richards distinguishes the speakers intention from what he says (Sense), his attitudes to what he is talking about (Feeling), and his attitude to his listener (Tone) . Intention is the speakers or writers aim, conscious or unconscious, the effect he is endeavouring to promote. Ordinarily he speaks for a purpose, and his purpose modifies his speech. The understanding of it is part of the whole business of apprehending his meaning. Sometimes the speakers intention is merely to state his thoughts (hence, an emphasis on Sense), or express his feelings about what he is thinking (Feeling), or to express his attitude to his listener . Frequently, in other words, his intention operates through and satisfies itself in a combination of other functions . However, it is not reducible to their effects . For example, it may govern the stress laid upon points in an argument. . . , shape the arrangement , call attention to itself in such phrases as for contrasts sake or lest it be supposed , and so on; it also controls the plot . . . and is at work whenever the author is hiding his hand . The protocols reveal copious examples of the failure on the part of one or other of these functions. Sometimes all four fail together . . . and often a partial collapse of one function entail aberrations in the others . The possibilities of human misunderstanding make up indeed a formidable subject for study .

Richards proceeds to argue that different uses of language emphasise one or more than one of these components more than others as a result of which at times, now one now another of the functions become predominant . Scientific treatises, for example, would emphasise sense but downplay feeling, while the tone would be settled

. . . by academic convention : he will, Richards, asserts, indicate respect for his readers and a moderate anxiety to be understood accurately . The scientists intention would normally be confined to the clearest and most adequate statement of what he has to say or, in some circumstances, to the desire to reorient opinion, to direct attention to new aspects, or to encourage or discourage certain methods of work or ways of approach . By contrast, these four constituent elements of meaning would be arranged differently in work designed to popularise scientific research rather than addressed solely to an academic elite. For example, a precise and adequate statement of the sense may have to be sacrificed, to some degree, in the interests of general intelligibility , a much more lively exhibition of feelings on the part of the author towards his subject-matter is usually appropriate and desirable , and greater tact should inform his tone. Richards then turns his attention to political speeches where, he avers, the furtherance of intentions . . . is unmistakable predominant but relies on the expression of feelings about causes, policies, leaders and opponents as well as the establishment of favourable relations with the audience . In such discourses, sense, the presentation of facts , is often subordinated to the other functions.

The statements which appear in poetry, Richards real concern, are there for the sake of their effects upon feelings, not for their own sake . Many, he argues, if not most, of the statements in poetry are there as a means to the manipulation and expression of feelings and attitudes, not as contributions to any body of doctrine of any type whatever . All in all, what occurs is a subjugation of statement to emotive

purposes . (He argues elsewhere, in another famous book of his called Science and Poetry [1926], the truth-claims made by poetry are really pseudo-statements.) Therefore, to challenge their truth or to question whether they deserve serious attention as statements claiming truth, is to mistake their function . Hence, the confusion which surrounds what exactly the Romantic poet Keats meant when he wrote mysteriously at the end of his famous Ode on a Grecian Urn that Beauty is truth, truth beauty or when another poet describes his soul as a ship in full sail. In short, we must not look primarily for truth-claims in poetry but for the poets feelings which are expressed therein and which in turn have an impact on the readers own feelings. He deals with the effect of literature on the reader in greater detail in yet another famous book of his: Principles of Literary Criticism (1924). Richardss student William Empson carried all this one step further when he wrote his own equally famous Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930) in which he explores the various ambiguities found in language which contribute to misunderstandings.

All in all, Richards is of the view that listeners and readers misunderstand the meaning of a particular statement when they emphasise that function or kind of meaning which is not meant to be predominant in that type of statement. From this perspective, misunderstanding is always a possibility but it can be avoided. Doctrine in Poetry Here Richarads talks about the proper way of analyzing the text and what critic and reader should be like. He tends to locate the poem in readers response to it. It means readers analyze the text and respond any poetry from similar judgmental aspects. It shows every reader produces same meaning from same text as the text is organic whole obstacles and barriers the variation of meaning occurs. His ideas are oriented toward distinguishing the belief of readers from that of the poets. If there occurs contradiction between the belief of readers and the belief of poets, the readers do not get sole meaning from the text. Because of readers temperament and personal experience, they don't get same meaning from the text The obstacle that brings variation in meaning is doctrinal belief of readers. Richards finds two kinds of belief and disbelief i) Intellectual belief ii) Emotional belief In an intellectual belief we weigh an idea based on doctrinal preoccupation, where as an

emotional belief is related to the state of mind. He thinks that the good kind of being comes from the blending of the both. Until and unless we are free from beliefs and disbeliefs there comes variation in meaning. But to free our mind from all impurities is not possible. Therefore the reader should be sincere to get single meaning escaping from such obstacles. This sincerity is the way to success. The sincere reader has perfect and genuine mind. To be genuine mind, one should be free from impurities. In this sense the reader should be free from obstruction these obstacles is not possible. Chapter 2 Figurative Language 1. Causes of misunderstanding 2. The distraction of metre 3. Intuitive versus over literal reading 4. Literalism and metaphor 5. Poetic liberty 6. Mixture in metaphor 7. Personification 8. Reasons for personification 9. Advantages of personification 10. Dangers of personification 11. Critical comparisons 12. The diversity of aims in poetry

Chapter 3 Sense and Feeling 1. Interferences between kinds of meaning---mistake in general intention can twist its tone sense, and feeling e.g. dramatic not epic 2. Tone in poetrythe attitude of the poet towards the reader e g Greys Elegy is not striking and original but succeeds because of its exquisite tone. 3. Tone as an index to sense of proportion

4. Sense and feeling: three types of interrelation a) Type Iwhere the feeling is generated by and governed by sense b) Type IIwhere the word first expresses a feeling, and such sense as it conveys is derived from the feeling. c) Type IIIwhere sense and feeling are less closely knit: their alliance comes about through their context. 5. The pull of the context 6. Exerted in two ways : directly between feelings, indirectly through sense 7. Pre-analytic apprehension 8. Methods of improving apprehension 9. Verbal means of analysis for sense and feeling 10. The dictionary 11. Definition technique for sense 12. Our comparative helplessness with feeling 13. Projectile adjectives 14. Metaphors: sense metaphors and emotive metaphors 15. Possibilities of training Chapter 4 Poetic Form 1. Difficulty of apprehending form due partly to bad assumptions 2. The regularity myth 3. Variations about a norm 4. Rhythm goes deeper than the ear 5. Inherent rhythm and ascribed rhythm 6. Inherent rhythm as a necessary and important skeleton

7. Damage done by the regularity myth and by the independence notion 8. The danger of neglecting sound 9. Reading aloud Chapter 5 Irrelevant Associations and Stock Responses 1. Erratic imagery 2. Visualisers 3. Irrelevance in general 4. Associations with older poems 5. The personal situation of the reader 6. Stock responses: a) their omnipresence b) their utility c) demarcation of their proper field d) as systems of energy e) f) as distorting agents as ground for complaint against variation

7. The stock response as the poem itself 8. Resultant popularity 9. Good and bad stock responses: their origins 10. Withdrawal from experience by deprivation, moral disaster, convention intellectuality 11. Loss in transmission of ideas 12. Home-made notions and genius 13. Silliness

14. The poet and stock ideas

Chapter 6 Sentimentality and Inhibition 1. Sentimental a) As an abusive gesture b) As uttering a vague thought c) As uttering a precise thought d) As equivalent to crude e) As persistence and wasping 2. Definition of sentimental in the third sense 3. Sentimentality a) In readers b) In poetry c) Causes of d) Subject and treatment e) The justification of the response f) In use of conventional metaphors

g) And autogenous emotions 4. Inhibition: a) As the complement of sentimentality b) Necessity of c) Causes of d) Cure of

Chapter 7 Doctrine in Poetry 1. Opposition between poets and readers beliefs 2. Importance of belief 3. Insufficiency of poetic fiction solution 4. Assumptions: intellectual and emotional a) Distinction them b) Justification for each kind c) Logic and choice d) Adjustment of intellectual and emotional claims 5. Sincerity a) Appearance of insincerity b) Sincerity as absence of self deception c) As genuineness d) As spontaneity e) As sophistication f) As self-completion

g) As dependent upon a fundamental need h) And intuition i) j) Improvement in sincerity Poetry as an exercise in sincerity

Chapter 8 Technical Presuppositions and Critical Preconceptions 1. Our expectations from poetry 2. Confusions between means and ends

3. Encouraged by the language of criticism 4. The summations of details blunder 5. No critical theory is directly useful 6. Examples: the subject and message tests 7. The lilt quest 8. Critical dogmas a) as primitive superstitions

b) Their duplicity 9. The disablement of judgment 10. The rule of choice 11. Principles are only protective 12. Critical infallability PART IV: SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS (292-329) I Culture in the Protocols II The Services of Psychology III Suggestions Towards a Remedy I.A. Richards Practical Criticism I. A. Richards' "Practical Criticism" This book, published in 1929, is one of those that started New Criticism and with it, a whole new attitude toward literary criticism. It's surprisingly enjoyable. Richards doesn't use any fancy language (although you can tell he's a Brit), so there's no jargon or pretension to put up with while reading. It's got a fascinating structure: he was a prof at Cambridge University, and he gave out 10 or so poems to his class, without telling them who wrote each or what it they were called, and told everyone to respond in writing in whatever way they wanted to. So at the end of this experiment he has hundreds of these responses, what he calls "protocols" for some reason, and "Practical

Criticism" is his analysis of the responses. He approaches the whole thing very scientifically: he sifts through the protocols and finds the problems that his students have with each poem, then identifies them. He says there are ten (10) obstacles that get in the way of the real meaning of a poem, from plain misunderstanding to the reader's own random associations (which he calls "irrelevant"), to more philosophical hurdles like the question of whether a poem is good if it preaches a political or moral viewpoint that you disagree with. Each of the poems he gives out happily brings up one of the 10 dilemmas, so everything is covered. I'm not super far into it, but he plans to tell us about what he thinks the best way to read a poem is, or to be more specific, what the best method of criticizing a literary work is. He's got chapter sections called "The four kinds of meaning", and "Inhibition as the complement of sentimentality", and "Sincerity and intuition" that I'm looking forward to. He's very much tying together psychology and criticism, although he admits that it is elementary psychology he is using, and avoids any attempt to discover the underlying motives of the students in writing their protocols. A couple of good quotes: "That the one and only goal of all critical endeavors, of all interpretation, appreciation, exhortation, praise or abuse, is improvement in communication may seem an exaggeration. But in practice it is so." "Ambiguity in fact is systematic; the separate senses that a word may have are related to one another, if not as strictly as the various aspects of a building, at least to a remarkable extent." "When we have solved, completely, the communication problem, when we have got, perfectly, the experience, the mental condition relevant to the poem, we have still to judge it, still to decide upon its worth. But the later question nearly always settles itself; or rather, our own inmost nature and the nature of the world in which we live decide it for us. Our prime endeavor must be to get the relevant mental condition and then see what happens." This last quote is of particular interest to me because it places Richards exactly on the time line of literary criticism. The idea that a poem is a "problem" to be "solved" is no longer a firm idea to have: it has been killed by the "Death of the Author" crowd and buried by the deconstructionists. But even so, by saying "our inmost nature and the nature of the world", he allows for a lot of the change in the meaning of Meaning that would come twenty and thirty years down the road. Richards' main ideas are ones promoting close reading and being aware of one's own reactions and emotions to a text and how they might influence your opinions while reading it.