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Best Critical Writing: Selections from Oscar Wilde, Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain, Matthew Arnold, Edgar Allan Poe, and Others

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In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde declares that the critic's artistic capabilities are as important as those of the artist. Wilde's passionate defense of the aesthetics of art criticism is among the wide-ranging and thought-provoking essays of this original collection, in which noted writers discuss the role of criticism in English and American literature. Contents in In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde declares that the critic's artistic capabilities are as important as those of the artist. Wilde's passionate defense of the aesthetics of art criticism is among the wide-ranging and thought-provoking essays of this original collection, in which noted writers discuss the role of criticism in English and American literature. Contents include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition," in which the author draws upon his most famous poem, "The Raven," to illustrate his theories on writing; Matthew Arnold's "The Study of Poetry"; and commentaries on Shakespeare's plays by Samuel Johnson and Wordsworth's poetry by William Hazlitt. Walter Pater, whose work was highly influential on the writers of the Aesthetic Movement, is represented by an essay on style. Other selections include Mark Twain's satirical "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences" and the "Preface to Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. Brief introductory notes accompany each essay.


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In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde declares that the critic's artistic capabilities are as important as those of the artist. Wilde's passionate defense of the aesthetics of art criticism is among the wide-ranging and thought-provoking essays of this original collection, in which noted writers discuss the role of criticism in English and American literature. Contents in In "The Critic as Artist," Oscar Wilde declares that the critic's artistic capabilities are as important as those of the artist. Wilde's passionate defense of the aesthetics of art criticism is among the wide-ranging and thought-provoking essays of this original collection, in which noted writers discuss the role of criticism in English and American literature. Contents include Edgar Allan Poe's "The Philosophy of Composition," in which the author draws upon his most famous poem, "The Raven," to illustrate his theories on writing; Matthew Arnold's "The Study of Poetry"; and commentaries on Shakespeare's plays by Samuel Johnson and Wordsworth's poetry by William Hazlitt. Walter Pater, whose work was highly influential on the writers of the Aesthetic Movement, is represented by an essay on style. Other selections include Mark Twain's satirical "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offences" and the "Preface to Leaves of Grass" by Walt Whitman. Brief introductory notes accompany each essay.

48 review for Best Critical Writing: Selections from Oscar Wilde, Samuel Johnson, Mark Twain, Matthew Arnold, Edgar Allan Poe, and Others

  1. 4 out of 5

    J.D. DeHart

    I was thankful to peruse this fine sampling of classic authors leading the charge into literary criticism. I especially enjoyed Edgar Allan Poe’s entry, which led the book, as well as Mark Twain’s work. Well worth a look and the perfect addition to any library, English teacher’s office, or home bookshelf,

  2. 5 out of 5

    J Earl

    Best Critical Writing, edited by Nora Rawn & John Grafton, is an anthology of early (18th and 19th centuries) writing on the art and skill of criticism/critical writing. These are selected for both their value as an introduction to critical writing as well as because they are often used in college courses. The Dover Thrift Editions are ideal for courses that might require a number of different books. They provide the necessary texts on less expensive but durable paper, so it is less costly for t Best Critical Writing, edited by Nora Rawn & John Grafton, is an anthology of early (18th and 19th centuries) writing on the art and skill of criticism/critical writing. These are selected for both their value as an introduction to critical writing as well as because they are often used in college courses. The Dover Thrift Editions are ideal for courses that might require a number of different books. They provide the necessary texts on less expensive but durable paper, so it is less costly for the students. My introduction to these books was, as you can guess, through academia. But academia is not the only place where these are handy. Many people would like to read more classics but don't want to buy costly editions if they don't really plan to display them. These are great for readers who simply want to read a text. As for this particular collection, it is very well planned. The entries are both engaging and discuss critical writing from different perspectives. A few essays will probably sound odd to the 21st century ear but will reward you if you let yourself get used to the flow and word selection. Several are actually quite entertaining as well as informative. Highly recommended for those who like to keep learning outside the classroom environment as well as for students (or faculty members choosing next term's books). If you're wanting a well-rounded library but aren't overly concerned with visual aesthetics, this is a great edition. Reviewed from a copy made available by the publisher via NetGalley.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ramanqu

    A collection of famous and influential papers discussing literature. The subjects varie. But one thing to keep in mind that literary criticism might not be the best title. It's used in a different sense then common the 20th century onwards. I was thankful for being able to read Walter Pater for the first time, and I'm in awe. Other essays were dull disappointments. Since this is supposed to be a thrift edition, my only criticism would be the neglect to translate some foreign lines and phrases. I A collection of famous and influential papers discussing literature. The subjects varie. But one thing to keep in mind that literary criticism might not be the best title. It's used in a different sense then common the 20th century onwards. I was thankful for being able to read Walter Pater for the first time, and I'm in awe. Other essays were dull disappointments. Since this is supposed to be a thrift edition, my only criticism would be the neglect to translate some foreign lines and phrases. I tried to conjecture the law upon which the editors decide to add a translation in the footnotes, but I could not. Especially quotations from Dante seem to be ignored whenever they occur.

  4. 5 out of 5

    roxi Net

    Despite my love of reading, writing is a bit more difficult for me. I can organize information quite easily -- which comes in handy during my day job -- however I always look for ways to improve my writing. I had hoped that this collection of essays would help me expand my skillset, however Best Critical Writing was not the 'light' reading I hoped it would be but still informative. Despite my love of reading, writing is a bit more difficult for me. I can organize information quite easily -- which comes in handy during my day job -- however I always look for ways to improve my writing. I had hoped that this collection of essays would help me expand my skillset, however Best Critical Writing was not the 'light' reading I hoped it would be but still informative.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!

  6. 4 out of 5

    JUSTINE KINCH

    A fantastic insight into many of my favorite authors on writing. I was amazed and awed by their thought process. This is a must have book if you love to write.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rubicon

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sebastian Casales

  9. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Cheresnick

  10. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  11. 4 out of 5

    Angel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Dayla

  13. 4 out of 5

    Pefllu7

  14. 4 out of 5

    Abdulrahman

  15. 5 out of 5

    Juli Rahel

  16. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alicia J Espinoza

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hanan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Martha Centerio

  20. 5 out of 5

    DZMM

  21. 5 out of 5

    Simon

  22. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mateja Klaric

  24. 5 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dana Scott

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  27. 5 out of 5

    Bill Schlott

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Bullock

  30. 5 out of 5

    Micielle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Kim Ellis

  32. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Speedy

  33. 5 out of 5

    Margo

  34. 5 out of 5

    Kole

  35. 4 out of 5

    Dayna

  36. 5 out of 5

    Gabby

  37. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  38. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Gerhart

  39. 4 out of 5

    Desiree

  40. 5 out of 5

    Maiya

  41. 4 out of 5

    Graham

  42. 5 out of 5

    Melisa Dowling

  43. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  44. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  45. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

  46. 5 out of 5

    Cindy

  47. 4 out of 5

    Snowden Wright

  48. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Rigsby

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