Literary Criticism

The new professors and professional criticism

The careers of many of the early professors of English blur the boundaries between the terms ‘amateur’ and ‘professional’. The literary historian W. J. Courthope was a civil servant and assistant editor of the National Review before becoming Professor of Poetry at Oxford (although this was an honorary post rather than one that carried ‘professional’… Continue reading The new professors and professional criticism

Literary Criticism

Matthew Arnold and Walter Pater

The distinction between the differing philosophies of literary study that was becoming apparent in both general critical discourse and the early English degrees has been described by Wallace Martin in terms of the opposition between ‘scholarship’, a concern with the accumulation and analysis of knowledge along scientific lines; and ‘criticism’, a more evalu- ative approach… Continue reading Matthew Arnold and Walter Pater

Literary Criticism

The importance of Classics: The literary tradition

These suspicions about the academic validity of the study of English literature were also apparent at Cambridge, where once again they crystal- lised around the inauguration of a professorship, the King Edward VII Professorship of English Literature. This Professorship was established in 1910 as the result of a donation from the newspaper magnate Sir Harold… Continue reading The importance of Classics: The literary tradition

English Literature


As the growing quantity of records in the Records of Early English Drama series attests, medieval moralities and cycle plays were not only the occasion for many different kinds of play but were also economically significant enterprises. Morality plays often required large place and scaffold structures, costuming, and sometimes large casts while, most notably, town… Continue reading Pageants