Faculties and centres
The subject Crítica Anglonorteamericana emerges from the fact that the history of Anglo-American literature swarms with great writers who have also been great critics. Not only have they reflected on literature as a social, cultural and aesthetic phenomenon, but they have also expressed critical opinions on their own literary practice as well as on their contemporaries’ and earlier writers’, thus frequently contributing to the modification of the canon or the literary taste of a period. One can think, for instance, of Sir Philip Sidney, Ben Jonson, John Dryden, Alexander Pope, doctor Johnson, William Wordsworth, Samuel T. Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, William B. Yeats, Virginia Woolf, Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, etc. As it is impossible to cover all these names in a six-credit subject, I have chosen to focus on some great writer-critics of the transition between the 19th and the 20th centuries. Therefore, we will study the critical ideas of Matthew Arnold, Ezra Pound, and T. S. Eliot, though close attention will also be paid to New Criticism, a powerful critical movement developed in the wake of Eliot’s early views and whose remote ancestor is Matthew Arnold and his clairvoyant aspirations to critical objectivity.
By the end of the first semester students of Crítica Anglonorteamericana should have achieved the following aims:
(a) They should be familiar with the ideas and methods of a set of choice English writer-critics and critical movements of the transition between the 19th and the 20th centuries, as well as with their cultural and intellectual background and later influence. An effort will be made to relate literary achievements and critical positions and beliefs whenever this relation seems relevant.
(b) They should be able to recognize the ideological, philosophical, aesthetic, and methodological features of a critical text, showing themselves capable of ascribing it to a particular critic or movement within the temporal and cultural limits established in the previous section. It is expected that this skill will also improve the student’s capacity to extract meaning from complex texts in other intellectual areas.