Spring 1942 • Vol. IV No. 2 Book Reviews |

Form and Content

The Double Man by W. H. Auden. Random House. $2.00 Selected Poems by John Peale Bishop. Scribners. $2.00   The collocation of these two books tempts one to propose classifications: thus, Bishop's book represents the poetry of an American attempting to master Europe; Auden's, the poetry of a European attempting to master America. Or: Bishop's poetry represents an especial concern for technique, a preoccupation with form to the detriment of content; Auden's latest volume, an overriding concern for matter, the victory of content over form. But such easy bracketings may well be left to the weekend reviewer. For the neatness of the antithesis is achieved at the expense of both poets and at the expense of any valid account of the relation of content and form. Form, we need constantly to remind ourselves, is not a coating applied to the mass of content, though the very nature of our language constantly tricks us into speaking of it as if it were. The reminder is particular

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Cleanth Brooks (October 16, 1906—May 10, 1994) was an American literary critic and professor, best known for his publications, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939). Brooks is said to have revolutionized the teaching of poetry in American higher education and was also a prominent critic of Southern literature as well as the co-founder of The Southern Review.

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Recovering Milton

By Cleanth Brooks

The Double Man by W. H. Auden. Random House. $2.00 Selected Poems by John Peale Bishop. Scribners. $2.00   The collocation of these two books tempts one to propose classifications: […]

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