Wayne C(layson) Booth Jonathan Culler - Essay

Jonathan Culler

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Wayne Booth wants literary critics to be pluralists, not champions of a single method. A pluralist believes that "two or more conflicting positions may be entirely acceptable" but that many other positions are wrong; truth is plural but nevertheless there is truth. Critical Understanding investigates the criticism of three professed pluralists, R. S. Crane, Kenneth Burke, and M. H. Abrams, to see whether pluralism is possible. Are they, in fact, pluralists, or only disguised monists? Can Booth himself be a pluralist and accept all three on their own terms? He is scrupulous in argument here, shrewdly identifying monistic presuppositions, choices, or conclusions, and he repeatedly encounters an awkward problem:...

(The entire section is 790 words.)