Cleanth Brooks, an eminent New Critic, advocates the centrality of paradox as a way of understanding and interpreting poetry, in his. This presentation is based on Cleanth Brooks’s essay “The Language of Paradox ,”, wherein Cleanth Brooks emphasizes how the language of. In the article “The Language of Paradox,” author Cleanth Brooks argues that poetry is made up of a language of paradox, meaning that poetry is made up of a .

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Reveals itself in the balance or reconcilement of opposite or discordant qualities: For other uses, see Paradox disambiguation.

The practical friend will still have wars to fight and lawsuits to argue. Cleanth Brooksan active member of the New Critical movement, outlines the use of reading poems through paradox as a method of critical interpretation. Though London is a man-made marvel, and in many respects in opposition to nature, the speaker does not view London as a mechanical and artificial landscape but as languabe landscape composed entirely of nature.

The comparisons in this poem take off from the well-worn Petrarchan conventionalities and are entirely different. Paradox in poetry means that tension at the surface of a verse can lead to apparent contradictions and hypocrisies. But the poet can call it neither one pagadox two: Brooks’ seminal essay, The Language of Paradoxlays out his argument for the centrality of paradox by demonstrating that paradox is “the language appropriate and inevitable to poetry.

Coleridge in his classic description of its nature and power employs a series of paradoxes: There are of course, perils to consciously employing paradoxes but the dangers are not overpowering. The reasons why it rose to almost hegemonic proportions are complex and many.

Even the most direct and simple poet has to resort to discrepancies, contradictions and paradoxes.

Paradoxy and Meaning in Bei Dao’s Poetry | positions: asia critique | Duke University Press

In addition to the theme, the New Critics also looked for paradox, ambiguity, irony, and tension to help establish the single best and most unified interpretation of the text.


His textbook anthologies, Understanding Poetry and Understanding Fiction were the principal media by which the orthodoxies of the New Criticism were transmitted to a whole generation of American students of literature. Literary or rhetorical paradoxes abound in the works of Oscar Wilde and G. This is merely a matter of prejudice. Log In Sign Up.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The tone of irritation that is seen at the opening of the poem becomes something very different. Second, the high point of influence for the movement was during the Second World War and the Cold War.

This seems to parody both love and religion, but in fact it combines them, pairing unlikely circumstances and demonstrating their resulting complex meaning.

Yet the poet goes on to say: Studies in the Structure of Poetry. The method is only an extension of the normal language of poetry, not a pervasion of it. The poet daringly treats profane love as if it were divine love. These articles exemplify the tenets of New Criticism: In short, Wordsworth inverted set ideals about the language of poetry and showed his audience that common was really uncommon and the prosaic was really poetic. Studying a passage of prose or poetry in New Critical style required careful, exacting scrutiny of the passage itself.

In the last stanza, the phoenix metaphor is completely realized; the lovers will win a more intense world by rejecting this one.

The phoenix rises from its ashes but not for mere sifting and measuring of the ashes. All the generalizations are made out of a close clfanth of lyric poetry. This revivifies the metaphor and makes clear the sense in which the poet accepts it. The figure of paaradox phoenix is very significant in understanding the final paradox. In fact, it dominates the langhage stanza in which the torments of love which are so langage vivid to the lover have no effect on the real world at all: It is a perpetual part of the craft of poetry and cannot be kept out, but can only be directed and controlled.


The image gathers up two early comparisons — that of the tapers and of the eagle cleangh the dove. This makes the continual tilting of the planes an immediate necessity. In The Well Wrought Urn Brooks shows that paradox was so essential to poetic meaning that paradox was almost identical to poetry. It is however, not possible that the metaphors will fit on the same plane.

In Brooks’s use of the paradox as a tool for analysis, however, he develops a logical case as a literary technique with strong emotional effect. In poets like Blake and Coleridge, they merge with variations in emphasis. Yet, a typical Wordsworth poem is based upon a paradoxical situation. The urn which holds the ashes of the phoenix also holds the ashes of the phoenix lovers, it is the poem itself.

Paradox (literature) – Wikipedia

The argument for the centrality of paradox and irony becomes a reductio ad absurdum and is therefore void or at least ineffective for literary analysis. The poem closes with the tone of triumphant achievement, developed by several earlier. His famous It is a Beauteous Evening: He contends that these several meanings are impossible to convey at the right depth and emotion in any language but that of paradox.

A similar paradox is used in Shakespeare ‘s Romeo and Julietwhen Juliet says, “For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch and palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss.

In short, it would make literature an isolated phenomenon. Statements such as Wilde’s “I can resist anything except temptation” and Chesterton’s “spies do not look like spies” [2] are vleanth of rhetorical paradox. One type of union becomes a metaphor for the other. There is a sense in which paradox is the language appropriate and inevitable to poetry; Poetic truth can be approached only in terms of paradox.

The poet has to make up his language as he goes.