René Wellek Martin Bucco - Essay

Martin Bucco

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[While] René Wellek called for intense critical exploration of the text, he never abandoned the historical method embodied in his Kant in England and The Rise of English Literary History. His synthesis of theory, criticism, and history reflects a passionate dedication to literary studies as a humane discipline, its standards derived not from "personal" taste or "impersonal science," but from the norms of history. For Wellek, the literary work is no simple verbal construct and no mere reflection of society: it is a phenomenological aesthetic object. Thus criticism means concern for values and qualities. Understanding—adequate analysis, interpretation, and evaluation—requires theory. Adequate theory...

(The entire section is 543 words.)