Joseph Wood Krutch Critical Essays


(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Joseph Wood Krutch 1893–1970

American critic.

Krutch's literary criticism is characterized by his humanistic and philosophical concerns. In The Modern Temper he argued that because scientific thought had denied human nobility, tragedy had become obsolete. Upon its publication in 1929, The Modern Temper fascinated and outraged many of Krutch's contemporaries, who viewed the current technological advances with optimism.

Krutch's greatest critical successes were The American Drama since 1918, which analyzes the works of the most important dramatists of the 1920s and 1930s, and "Modernism" in Modern Drama, wherein he discusses the need for the return of traditional values to the twentieth-century stage. A conservative and idealistic thinker, Krutch was a consistent proponent of human dignity and the preeminence of literary art.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 1-4, rev. ed. and Vols. 25-28, rev. ed. [obituary].)