Enlarging the Change (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Enlarging the Change: The Princeton Seminars in Literary Criticism, 1949-1951 is an unusual book for a variety of reasons. First, while the book is subtitled The Princeton Seminars in Literary Criticism, 1949-1951, it is not a collection of lectures or essays by various critics but is, in part, a report, or “meditation,” by the author-editor, Robert Fitzgerald, on those lectures and discussions. Second, as the title indicates, the seminars began years ago and have been resurrected out of the oblivion of a filing cabinet to be presented at a time when the critical scene is dominated by such esoteric systems as poststructuralism, and texts are to be deconstructed, not constructed as in 1949. Fitzgerald was aware of this problem, as the conclusion of his preface makes clear: “I do not think that any of these changes, or all of them, render obsolete the course of the discussions recorded in this book.” Indeed, many readers may welcome the airing of such unfashionable views from some very distinguished critics of that time. Fitzgerald himself was not a literary critic but a distinguished poet and translator; as he put it, speaking of himself in the third person, “The writer was not a New Critic nor indeed a critic of any title at all, though he had for some years put his mind on books and written about them for a living.” Fitzgerald’s mediating voice is a welcome guide for those who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of literary...
(The entire section is 2703 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
American Literature. LVII, May, 1985, p. 363.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVII, January 2, 1985, p. 21
The New Republic. CXCII, March 18, 1985, p. 35.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, January 13, 1985, p. 39.
The New Yorker. LXI, June 10, 1985, p. 140.
Times Literary Supplement. May 17, 1985, p. 560.
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