Marked by a rigorously close textual reading, detached from
biographical or other extratextual material, New Criticism was the
dominant literary theory of the mid-twentieth century. Since that
time, schools of literary criticism have arisen in support of or in opposition to
the approach advocated by the New Critics. Nonetheless, the theory remains
one of the most important sources for groundbreaking criticism and continues
to be a controversial approach to reading literature.
Praising It New is the first anthology of New Criticism to be printed in fifty
years. It includes important essays by such influential poets and critics as
T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, John Crowe Ransom, Allen Tate, Yvor Winters,
Cleanth Brooks, R. P. Blackmur, W. K. Wimsatt, and Robert Penn Warren.
Together, these authors ushered in the modernist age of poetry and criticism
and transformed the teaching of literature in the schools. As the American
poet and critic Randall Jarrell once noted: “I do not believe there has been another
age in which so much extraordinarily good criticism of poetry has
This anthology now makes much of the best American poetry criticism available
again, and includes short biographies and selected bibliographies of its
chief figures. Praising It New is the perfect introduction for students to the
best American poetry criticism of the twentieth century.