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.

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