Summer 1944 • Vol. VI No. 3 Book ReviewsJuly 1, 1944 |

The Essays of Horace Gregory

The Shield Of Achilles by Horace Gregory. Harcourt Brace. $2.50. Here is a most knowing critic. But let us ask what a critic is; or, first, what happens when a monument of literature—or to be specific when the collected work of a poet—finds its destined or proper reader. Immediately it engages him in a complete psychical response; and that is a considerable activity, though a sympathetic and fairly determinate one. But, beyond that, it may drive him into a counter activity, that is to say, a composition of his own, in which he will register the work objectively, and judge and rationalize it. Though this is a literary activity it is not a primary one, and we had better call it at once a critical activity. The consequence is to augment the public store by a new literary (or critical) essay; it is about the poem or the poet, unless it is about poetry in general or poets. Now within this type of composition there is the greatest variety of performance, including the dull and usel

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