Spring 1951 • Vol. XIII No. 2 My Credo: A Symposium of Critics (Continued)April 1, 1951 |

X. The Teacher as a Critic

Like Newman, who so deeply influenced my youth and who continues to be one of my points de repère, I can most naturally exposit my present convictions by sketching the history of how I came by them. Never, in high school, college, or graduate school, had I a proper teacher of literature,—that is, one capable, against a background of history, literary history, philosophy, and theology, of analysing the specifically aesthetic organization of a literary work and providing, either intuitively or conceptually and systematically, the bases for judgment of a literary work of art. My teachers of literature—the best of them—were either grammarians or moralists. Thrust into an English classroom, I had to make what practical working adjustment I could of two disciplines which, even in my youth, retained some rationale and method,—theology and music. The piano teacher in my New England village was not only an artist but a priestess,—a professional representative of an ancient

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Austin Warren (1899-1986) was a literary critic and professor of English. He is well known for his collaboration with René Wellek on the Theory of Literature (1949) as well as his collection of essays Rage for Order (1948). He was also an influential literary scholar, writing books on Pope, Hawthorne, the elder Henry James, and Crashaw.

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