M(eyer) H(oward) Abrams Wayne C. Booth - Essay

Wayne C. Booth

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

When M. H. Abrams published a defense, in 1972, of "theorizing about the arts" ["What's the Use of Theorizing about the Arts?"], some of his critics accused him of falling into subjectivism. He had made his case so forcefully against "the confrontation model of aesthetic criticism" and had so effectively argued against "simplified" and "invariable" models of the art work and of "the function of criticism" that some readers thought he had thrown overboard the very possibility of a rational criticism tested by objective criteria.

In his reply to these critics ["A Note on Wittgenstein and Literary Criticism," published in the journal English Literary History], Abrams concentrates almost...

(The entire section is 6173 words.)