Geoffrey H. Hartman

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Geoffrey H. Hartman 1929–

German-born American literary critic.

Hartman, a renowned critical theorist, is noted especially for his early critical analyses of Romantic poetry. His Unmediated Vision (1954) and Wordsworth's Poetry, 1787–1814 (1964) are both judged by many critics to be classics in that field.

In his later work, particularly Beyond Formalism (1970) and The Fate of Reading (1975), Hartman reevaluates traditional methods of literary criticism. In these books, he critiques the "close reading" method of criticism advocated by the New Critics, describing it as limited. Hartman calls for more creative methods of literary criticism and for literary critics to broaden their aims. In Criticism in the Wilderness (1980) Hartman urges the modern critic to "view criticism … as within literature, not outside of it looking in."