The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #21: Literary Criticism

That’s the end of Season 2, folks. We’ve had a great time doing the show, and we’re glad you listen. We explain our summer plans in the show itself. Keep listening, and keep reading!

General Introduction
– So long, Season 2
– Listener feedback
– What’s on the blog?
– Our summer plans and our love for decimal places

Beginning Apophatically
– Literary criticism vs. critical theory
– The Academy and the newspaper
– The professor and the amateur
– The unconscious and the conscious
– Literary criticism vs. book reviews
– Why age is more than a number
– The bleeding edge of criticism

Auden Makes the Rules
– Historical context
– Overcome evil with good
– Subjectivity
– How to tell if a critic is any good
– Development of taste
– The pleasures of the text

Old Stuff
– The extreme POETIX! of  Chuck “Ham-Bone” Aristotle
– Dorothy Sayers’s internalization of Aristotle
– The gaping hole of the Anglo-Saxon period
– Boethius and his epic, tragic harlots
– Philip Sidney to the rescue!
– Milton’s dismissal of fiction
– The Calvinist aesthetic defense of Scripture

The Aesthetes and Decadents
– The critic as artist and the artist as critic
– Creation vs. criticism
– Rules for independent critics
– Why Wilde would like Lester Bangs
– Complicating, not explaining
– What does “art for art’s sake” actually mean?

A New Kind of Criticism
– Connection to the Southern Agrarians
– Reaction to the Old Historicism
– Text as self-contained and unified
– Why the New Critics overreacted
– New Criticism as all-consuming blob

Mythological Criticism
– Deeper into Tolkien
– The Mythography Project
– Finding patterns in mythology
– Frye’s embrace of archetype
– The Gospel’s role in myth criticism

Heroic Criticism and American Studies
– The Heroic Critic as true believer
– Defining the newly emergent America
– Lionel Trilling’s The Liberal Imagination
– The difference in seriousness
– Intellectual decline
– [] you, you bourgeoisie pig!
– Defining Americanism(s)

Jiving Criticism and Art
– Why poets can’t write well about poetry
– Historical moments
– The need for critical distance
– A fist-fight breaks out!!
– Artists who do great criticism
– Is this a difference in eras?
– The problem with self-accounts
– Michial prepares for hate mail from creative-writing students
– Does scholarship create better writing?

Getting Personal
– To what extent is our academic output literary criticism?
– Auden makes David self-aware
– Nathan’s Hegelian synthesis
– Michial tries to complicate, not simplify

Post-Theory Criticism
– The Emmanuel Laboratory
– Nathan as the singular Voice of Criticism
– David fights to stay in the middle
– The non-academic return to Auden’s world

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Aristotle. Poetics. Trans. Malcolm Heath. New York: Penguin, 1997.

Auden, W.H. The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays. New York: Vintage, 1990.

Bangs, Lester. Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung. Ed. Greil Marcus. New York: Vintage, 1988.

Barthes, Roland. The Pleasure of the Text. Trans. Richard Miller. San Francisco: Hill and Wang, 1975.

Boethius. The Consolation of Philosophy. Trans. Victor Watts. New York: Penguin, 1999.

Brooks, Cleanth. The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry. New York: Mariner, 1956.

Calvin, John. The Institutes of the Christian Religion. Trans. Ford Lewis Battles. Ed. John T. McNeill. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1960. Two volumes.

Campbell, Joseph. The Hero with a Thousand Faces. San Francisco: New World Library, 2008.

Chesterton, G.K. Charles Dickens: A Critical Study. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2009.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. Biographia Literaria. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985.

Eliot, T.S. “Tradition and the Individual Talent.” The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism. London: Methuen, 1976. 47-59.

Fiedler, Leslie. Love and Death in the American Novel. New York: Anchor, 1992.

Frazier, James. The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion. New York: Oxford UP, 2009.

Frye, Northrop. Biblical and Classical Myths: The Mythological Framework of Western Culture. Toronto: U of Toronto P, 2004.

Jung, Carl. Jung on Mythology. Ed. Robert A. Segal. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1998.

Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

Mather, Cotton. Magnalia Christi Americana. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2006. Two volumes.

Milton, John. Paradise Regained. The Major Works. Ed. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg. New York: Oxford UP, 2003. 619-669.

Parrington, Vernon Louis. Main Currents in American Thought. Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 1987. Three volumes.

Patterson, Lee. Negotiating the Past: The Historical Understanding of Medieval Literature. Madison: U of Wisconsin P, 1987.

Ransom, John Crowe. The New Criticism. New York: Greenwood, 1979.

Sayers, Dorothy L. The Mind of the Maker. New York: Continuum, 2004.

Sidney, Sir Philip. “The Defence of Poesy.” The Major Works. Ed. Katherine Duncan-Jones. New York: Oxford UP, 2009. 212-251.

Smith, Henry Nash. Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 2007.

Tolkien, J.R.R. “Beowulf: The Monsters and the Critics.” The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. Ed. Christopher Tolkien. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1983. 5-48.

Trilling, Lionel. The Liberal Imagination. New York: New York Review of Books, 2008.

Updike, John. Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism. New York: Vintage, 1984.

Weston, Jessie. From Ritual to Romance. New York: Waking Lion, 2008.

Wilde, Oscar. “The Critic as Artist.” The Major Works. Ed. Isobel Murray. New York: Oxford UP, 2000. 241-297.

Wordsworth, William. The Prelude. New York: Penguin, 1996.

4 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist Podcast, Episode #21: Literary Criticism

  1. Listening to the new show now. I’m excited about the topic. I haven’t touched any real “lit crit” since graduation. Although I’ve dipped my toes into it slightly with regards to Biblical exegesis. I’m also digging seeing Joseph Campbell in the bibliography for this episode.

    Also, thanks to David for the shout-out. I feel almost famous. =)

  2. I would like to hear a show all about the Biblical criticism. No so much about modern methods, but the methods of the 16th century reformers and humanists.

  3. Did we disappoint you, Sean?

    Phil: Oof. Gilmour will have to lead that one. And by “lead” I mean “answer the questions for Michial, who knows nothing.”

  4. Phil, I think that might be another blog post (or series thereof) to write. Sorry I’ve been AWOL this last week–I’m director of Emmanuel College’s writing-across-the-curriculum program, and I just wrapped up the most intense couple weeks of work I can remember as an academic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *