Literary Criticism of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

The French poet, satirist, and critic Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux (1636–1711) had a pervasive influence not only on French letters (of the old-fashioned kind) but also on English and German poets and critics. His L’Art Poétique (The Art of Poetry), first published in 1674, was translated into English by John Dryden. Boileau’s text represents a formal statement… Read More Literary Criticism of Nicolas Boileau-Despréaux

Literary Criticism of Alexander Pope

An Essay on Criticism, published anonymously by Alexander Pope (1688–1744) in 1711, is perhaps the clearest statement of neoclassical principles in any language. In its broad outlines, it expresses a worldview which synthesizes elements of a Roman Catholic outlook with classical aesthetic principles and with deism. That Pope was born a Roman Catholic affected not… Read More Literary Criticism of Alexander Pope

Literary Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson (1803–1882), the most articulate exponent of American Romanticism, was a poet; but he was distinguished primarily by his contributions to literary and cultural criticism. He was the leading advocate of American “transcendentalism” with its insistence on the value of intuition, individuality of perception, the goodness of human nature, and the unity of the entire… Read More Literary Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson