Fall 1947 • Vol. IX No. 4 Nonfiction |

Temptations of St. Yvor

The same judgments of taste can be maintained by people of very different beliefs. But just as obviously, the more deeply any such judgment involves us the more powerfully it tends to connect itself with the rest of our being, and particularly with the whole complex of ideas in the presence or absence of which we live. So, if we take literature seriously---if it involves us deeply as human beings---the literary critic ought to be one who seeks to bring to consciousness the whole scheme of ideas under which taste operates. Criticism once enjoyed the happy state when critics could approach the work of art from a more or less generally accepted framework of ideas; and the critic, spared the pains of searching for a philosophy, could concentrate more directly on the work in hand. The modern critic is in a much less fortunate position: if he wants more than impressionism, to ground his judgments in more than the momentary feeling, he has to go in search of a philosophy. This makes li

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