René Wellek J. D. O'Hara - Essay

J. D. O'Hara

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

"There is no exercise of the intellect which is not, in the final analysis, useless." The stoic, melancholy tone is that of Jorge Luis Borges, of course….

We live in a terminal ward; the air our minds breathe is sighed out by dying ideas. Ecology demands that they be sanitarily interred; piety prays that we revere them. In the history of ideas, especially literary ideas, no embalmer is more industrious than René Wellek. Discriminations is the latest in his collection of amber-tinted antiques: It includes essays on the terms comparative literature, classicism, and symbolism, and surveys of Kant's aesthetics, of English literary historiography, of genre theory, and of Dostoevsky...

(The entire section is 452 words.)