Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.
'One of the 50 most important writers in the world' -- Lire (France) Is it mad to love in spite of the evidence...or just necessary? 'There is ambiguity in most human relationships. Like a sequence of words, a relationship can be open to different interpretations. And when two people have differing views, not merely of the state of their relationship, but of its very nature, it can affect the entire course of their lives.' Following years of unrequited love, an out-of-work school teacher decides to take matters into his own hands, triggering a chain of events that neither he nor his psychiatrist could have anticipated. At once a psychological thriller and a social critique, Seven Types of Ambiguity is a story of obsessive love in an age of obsessive materialism. It's a story of impulse and paralysis, of empty marriages, lovers and a small boy, gambling and the market, of adult children and their parents, of poetry and prostitution, psychiatry and the law. Brimming with emotional, intellectual and moral dilemmas, the page-turning story - reminiscent of the richest fiction of the nineteenth century in its labyrinthine complexity - unfolds at a rapid-fire pace to reveal the full extent to which these people have been affected by each other and by the insecure and uncertain times in which they live. 'Where, critics have asked, is Australia's equivalent of Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections, or Philip Roth's American Pastoral? Now, with Perlman's achingly humane, richly layered, seamlessly constructed masterpiece, it seems that we have it' -- Canberra Times
Ever since it was first published in 1930, William Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity has been perceived as a milestone in literary criticism—far from being an impediment to communication, ambiguity now seemed an index of poetic richness and expressive power. Little, however, has been written on the broader trajectory of Western thought about ambiguity before Empson; as a result, the nature of his innovation has been poorly understood. A History of Ambiguity remedies this omission. Starting with classical grammar and rhetoric, and moving on to moral theology, law, biblical exegesis, German philosophy, and literary criticism, Anthony Ossa-Richardson explores the many ways in which readers and theorists posited, denied, conceptualised, and argued over the existence of multiple meanings in texts between antiquity and the twentieth century. This process took on a variety of interconnected forms, from the Renaissance delight in the ‘elegance’ of ambiguities in Horace, through the extraordinary Catholic claim that Scripture could contain multiple literal—and not just allegorical—senses, to the theory of dramatic irony developed in the nineteenth century, a theory intertwined with discoveries of the double meanings in Greek tragedy. Such narratives are not merely of antiquarian interest: rather, they provide an insight into the foundations of modern criticism, revealing deep resonances between acts of interpretation in disparate eras and contexts. A History of Ambiguity lays bare the long tradition of efforts to liberate language, and even a poet’s intention, from the strictures of a single meaning.
Literature is uncertain. Literature is good for us. These two ideas are often taken for granted. But what is the relationship between literature's capacity to perplex and its ethical value? Seven Modes of Uncertainty contends that literary uncertainty is crucial to ethics because it pushes us beyond the limits of our experience.
Conflict and Conciliation in the Early Work of William Empson, I.A. Richards, Robert Graves, and Laura Riding
Author: Donald J. Childs
Publisher: McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP
Category: Literary Criticism
Amid competing claims about who first developed the theories and practices that became known as New Criticism - the critical method that rose alongside Modernism - literary historians have generally given the lion's share of credit to William Empson and I.A. Richards. In The Birth of New Criticism Donald Childs challenges this consensus and provides a new and authoritative narrative of the movement's origins. At the centre stand Robert Graves and Laura Riding, two poet-critics who have been written out of the history of New Criticism. Childs brings to light the long-forgotten early criticism of Graves to detail the ways in which his interpretive methods and ideas evolved into the practice of "close reading," demonstrating that Graves played such a fundamental part in forming both Empson's and Richards's critical thinking that the story of twentieth-century literary criticism must be re-evaluated and re-told. Childs also examines the important influence that Riding's work had on Graves, Empson, and Richards, establishing the importance of this long-neglected thinker and critic. A provocative and cogently argued work, The Birth of New Criticism is both an important intellectual history of the movement and a sharply observed account of the cultural politics of its beginnings and legacy.
All readers of literary history and criticism will benefit from this edition of letters by William Empson, one of the foremost writers and critics of the twentieth century. This correspondence shows him working out his ideas for all of his major books as well as complementary studies in writers including Shakespeare, Marlowe, Donne, Marvell, Coleridge, and Joyce. The edition also gives the fullest possible picture of his robust interactions with many other prominent writers,including the likes of F. R. Leavis, Helen Gardner, Frank Kermode, Christopher Norris, and I. A. Richards.