Fall 1950 • Vol. XII No. 4 Nonfiction |

Communication

George Herbert and Miss Tuve Sirs, Miss Rosamond Tuve's article "On Herbert's Sacrifice" in the Kenyon Review for Winter 1950 makes some good points against the way I wrote about it in Seven Types of Ambiguity, and raises important questions for critical theory. I am sorry not to have been able to see the article till now at the end of June, and hope I may make some belated comments. My first feeling was that her complaints were quite right. It was rather absurd of me to call so traditional a poem "unique," and to use as the climax of the analysis a faint bit of evidence for the presence of much more primitive ideas than the poet was consciously concerned with. I wrote the passage as an undergraduate over twenty years ago, and do not feel bound to defend it; though of course I may have been a better judge then than I am now. At the same time, I cannot feel that the mass of erudition she brings down like a steam hammer really cracks any nuts. Generation after generation of

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William Empson (1906-1984) is best known for his first work, Seven Types of Ambiguity: A Study of Its Effects on English Verse (1930). He was an English poet and supported the school of literary criticism known as New Criticism through his many works and his critical process. Empson encouraged a close and detailed reading of works and was well known for his ability to explain meaning in poetic language.

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Tom Jones

By William Empson

George Herbert and Miss Tuve Sirs, Miss Rosamond Tuve's article "On Herbert's Sacrifice" in the Kenyon Review for Winter 1950 makes some good points against the way I wrote about […]

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