Van Wyck Brooks René Wellek - Essay

René Wellek

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)


When I was in this country for the first time, some time in 1928, I read Van Wyck Brooks' America's Coming-of-Age and admired his penetrating observations on the literary conditions of America and his trenchant criticisms of many of the main authors of nineteenth-century America. I, as a Czech, relished the strongly critical attitude of Mr. Brooks to his own literature, as I myself had grown up in a similar critical atmosphere, which reacted against the idols and ideals of the nineteenth century and had begun a process of severe self-scrutiny which tried to discover the limitations of the existing literary tradition, the secrets of its vitality and the possibilities of its...

(The entire section is 2724 words.)