René Wellek Emerson R. Marks - Essay

Emerson R. Marks

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Wellek's book [Discriminations] is admirably named. Here again, as so often before, his astonishing erudition is put to the service of discrimination, of elucidating terms and ideas and making needed distinctions, not as a lexicographical exercise but to the end of sounder literary history and theory than we have generally had. Given such an aim, much of Wellek's reasoning is necessarily in refutation of other theorists, whose views he is at pains to expose as partial or extreme, views usually involving one or another misconception of the literary work. Among such are the attempts of some comparatists to divorce history and criticism, or to set barriers between the study of past and contemporary literature. (p....

(The entire section is 608 words.)