I. A. Richards

Ivor Armstrong Richards (26 February 1893 – 7 September 1979), known as I. A. Richards, was an English educator, literary critic, and rhetorician whose work contributed to the foundations of the New Criticism, a formalist movement in literary theory, which emphasized the close reading of a literary text, especially poetry, in an effort to discover how a work of literature functions as a self-contained, self-referential æsthetic object.

Richards' intellectual contributions to the establishment of the literary methodology of the New Criticism are presented in the books The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism (1923), by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards, Principles of Literary Criticism (1926), Practical Criticism (1929), and The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1936).

I. A. Richards
I. A. Richards in the Alps c.1930
I. A. Richards in the Alps c.1930
BornIvor Armstrong Richards
26 February 1893
Sandbach, Cheshire
Died7 September 1979 (aged 86)
Alma materMagdalene College, Cambridge
SpouseDorothy Pilley Richards


Richards was educated at Clifton College and Magdalene College, Cambridge, where his intellectual talents were developed by the scholar Charles Hicksonn 'Cabby' Spence.[1] He began his career without formal training in literature; he studied philosophy (the "moral sciences") at Cambridge University, from which derived his assertions that, in the 20th century, literary study cannot and should not be undertaken as a specialisation, it is in itself, but studied alongside a cognate field, such as philosophy, psychology and rhetoric.

His early teaching appointments were as adjunct faculty: at Cambridge University, Magdalene College would not pay a salary for Richards to teach the new, and untested, academic field of English literature. Instead, like an old-style instructor, he collected weekly tuition directly from the students, as they entered the classroom. In his private life, Richards married Dorothy Pilley Richards in 1926; they had met on a mountain climbing holiday in Wales.

In the 1929–30 biennium, as a visiting professor, Richards taught Basic English and Poetry at Tsinghua University, Beijing.[2][3] In the 1936–38, triennium, Richards was the director of the Orthological Institute of China.[4]


Collaborations with C. K. Ogden

The life and intellectual influence of I. A. Richards approximately corresponds to his intellectual interests; many endeavours were in collaboration with the linguist, philosopher, and writer Charles Kay Ogden (C.K. Ogden), notably in four books:

I. Foundations of Aesthetics (1922) presents the principles of aesthetic reception, the bases of the literary theory of “harmony”; aesthetic understanding derives from the balance of competing psychological impulses. The structure of the Foundations of Aesthetics—a survey of the competing definitions of the term æsthetic—prefigures the multiple-definitions work in the books Basic Rules of Reason (1933), Mencius on the Mind: Experiments in Multiple Definition (1932), and Coleridge on Imagination (1934)

II. The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism (1923) presents the triadic theory of semiotics that depends upon psychological theory, and so anticipates the importance of psychology in the exercise of literary criticism. Semioticians, such as Umberto Eco, acknowledged that the methodology of the triadic theory of semiotics improved upon the methodology of the dyadic theory of semiotics presented by Ferdinand de Saussure (1857–1913).

III. Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930)

IV. the Times of India Guide to Basic English (1938) developed the Basic English program in effort to develop an international language, an interlanguage based upon a vocabulary of 850 English words.

Richards' travels, especially in China, effectively situated him as the advocate for an international program, such as Basic English. Moreover, at Harvard University, to his international pedagogy, the instructor I. A. Richards began to integrate the available new media for mass communications, especially television.

Aesthetics and literary criticism


William Empson
The poet and literary critic William Empson (1906–84), developed the methodology of New Criticism with the practice of closely reading of literary works, prose and poetry; his best-known work is Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930)

I. A. Richards' paternity of the New Criticism is in two books of critical theory, The Principles of Literary Criticism (1924) and Practical Criticism (1929). The first book, The Principles of Literary Criticism, discusses the subjects of form, value, rhythm, coenesthesia (awareness of inhabiting one's body, caused by stimuli from various organs), literary infectiousness, allusiveness, divergent readings, and belief. The second book, Practical Criticism (1929), is an empirical study of inferior response to a literary text.

As an instructor of English literature at Cambridge University, Richards tested the critical-thinking abilities of his pupils; he removed authorial and contextual information from thirteen poems, one by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807– 82), and assigned the literary interpretations to undergraduate students in order to ascertain the likely impediments to an adequate response to a literary text. That experiment in pedagogical approach — critical reading without contexts — demonstrated the variety and the depth of the possible textual misreadings that might be committed, by university student and layman reader alike.

The critical method derived from that pedagogical approach did not propose a new hermeneutics, a new methodology of interpretation, but questioned the purposes and efficacy of the critical process of literary interpretation, by analysing the self-reported critical interpretations of university students. To that end, effective critical work required a closer aesthetic interpretation of the literary text as an object; which methodology produced the empirical-study work about the teaching of composition, e.g. “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing ” (1981), by Linda Flower and John R. Hayes (see: Writing process).

To substantiate interpretive criticism, Richards provided theories of metaphor, value, and tone, of stock response, incipient action, and pseudo-statement; and of ambiguity. This last subject, the theory of ambiguity, was developed in Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), by William Empson, a former student of Richards'; moreover, additional to The Principles of Literary Criticism and Practical Criticism, Empson's book on ambiguity became the third foundational document for the methodology of the New Criticism.

To Richards, literary criticism was impressionistic, too abstract to be readily grasped and understood, by most readers; and he proposed that literary criticism could be precise in communicating meanings, by way of denotation and connotation. To establish critical precision, Richards examined the psychological processes of writing and of the reading of poetry. That in reading poetry and making sense of it “in the degree in which we can order ourselves, we need nothing more”; the reader need not believe the poetry, because the literary importance of poetry is in provoking emotions in the reader.[5]

New rhetoric

As a rhetorician, I. A. Richards said that the old form of studying rhetoric (the art of discourse) was too concerned with the mechanics of formulating arguments and with conflict; instead, he proposed the New Rhetoric to study of the meaning of the parts of discourse, as “a study of misunderstanding and its remedies” to determine how language works. That ambiguity is expected, and that meanings (denotation and connotation) are not inherent to words, but are inherent to the perception of the reader, the listener, and the viewer. By their usages, compiled from experience, people decide and determine meaning by “how words are used in a sentence”, in spoken and written language.[6]

Ogden semiotic triangle
The semantic triangle

I. A. Richards and C. K. Ogden created the semantic triangle to deliver improved understanding to how words come to mean.[7] The semantic triangle has three parts, the symbol or word, the referent, and the thought or reference.[8] In the bottom, right corner is the Referent, the thing, in reality. Placed at the left corner is the symbol or word. At the top point, the convergence of the literal word and the object in reality; it is our intangible idea about the object. Ultimately, the English meaning of the words is determined by an individual's unique experience.[7]


At the age of 75 years, I. A. Richards was approached by the Saturday Review to write a piece for their "What I Have Learned" series. Richards surprisingly took this opportunity to expound upon his lesser known concept of "feedforward".[8] According to Richards, feedforward is the concept of anticipating the effect of one's words by acting as our own critic. It is thought to work in the opposite direction of feedback, though it works essentially towards the same goal: to clarify unclear concepts. Existing in all forms of communication,[9] feedforward acts as a pretest that any writer can use to anticipate the impact of their words on their audience. According to Richards, feedforward allows the writer to then engage with their text to make necessary changes to create a better effect. He believes that communicators who do not use feedforward will seem dogmatic. Richards wrote more in depth about the idea and importance of feedforward in communication in his book Speculative Instruments and has claimed that feedforward was his most important learned concept.[9]


Richards served as mentor and teacher to other prominent critics, most notably William Empson and F. R. Leavis, though Leavis was contemporary with Richards, Empson much younger. Other critics primarily influenced by his writings also included Cleanth Brooks and Allen Tate. Later critics who refined the formalist approach to New Criticism by actively rejecting his psychological emphasis included, besides Brooks and Tate, John Crowe Ransom, W. K. Wimsatt, R. P. Blackmur, and Murray Krieger. R. S. Crane of the Chicago school was both indebted to Richards's theory and critical of its psychological assumptions. They all admitted the value of his seminal ideas but sought to salvage what they considered his most useful assumptions from the theoretical excesses they felt he brought to bear in his criticism. Like Empson, Richards proved a difficult model for the New Critics, but his model of close reading provided the basis for their interpretive methodology.

The Oxford English Dictionary records that I. A. Richards coined the term feedforward, in 1951, at the 8th annual Macy Conferences on cybernetics. In the event, the term extended the intellectual and critical influence of Richards to cybernetics which makes liberal use of the term feedforward, as in Feedforward. Moreover, among Richards' students was Marshall McLuhan, who also applied the term and the ideas of feedforward.


  • The Foundations of Aesthetics (George Allen and Unwin: London, 1922); c o-authored with C. K. Ogden, and James Wood. 2nd ed. with revised preface, (Lear Publishers: New York 1925).
  • The Principles of Literary Criticism (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1924; New York, 1925); subsequent eds.: London 1926 (with two new appendices), New York 1926; London 1926, with new preface, New York, April 1926; and 1928, with a revised preface.
  • Science and Poetry (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1926).; reset edition, New York, W. W. Norton, 1926; 2nd ed., revised and enlarged: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1935. The 1935 edition was reset, with a preface, a commentary, and the essay, “How Does a Poem Know When it is Finished” (1963), as Poetries and Sciences (W. W. Norton: New York and London, 1970).
  • Practical Criticism (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1929); revised edition, 1930.
  • Coleridge on Imagination (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1934; New York, 1935); revised editions with a new preface, New York and London 1950; Bloomington, 1960; reprints 1950, with new foreword by Richards, and an introduction by K. Raine.
  • The Philosophy of Rhetoric (Oxford UP: London, 1936).
  • Speculative Instruments (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1955).
  • So Much Nearer: Essays toward a World English (Harcourt, Brace & World: New York, 1960, 1968), includes the essay, "The Future of Poetry".

Rhetoric, semiotics and prose interpretation


  • The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism. Co-authored with C. K. Ogden. With an introduction by J. P. Postgate, and supplementary essays by Bronisław Malinowski, 'The Problem of Meaning in Primitive Languages', and F. G. Crookshank, 'The Importance of a Theory of Signs and a Critique of Language in the Study of Medicine'. London and New York, 1923.
1st: 1923 (Preface Date: Jan. 1923)
2nd: 1927 (Preface Date: June 1926)
3rd: 1930 (Preface Date: Jan. 1930)
4th: 1936 (Preface Date: May 1936)
5th: 1938 (Preface Date: June 1938)
8th: 1946 (Preface Date: May 1946)
NY: 1989 (with a preface by Umberto Eco)
  • Mencius on the Mind: Experiments in Multiple Definition (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co.: London; Harcourt, Brace: New York, 1932).
  • Basic Rules of Reason (Paul Trench Trubner: London, 1933).
  • The Philosophy of Rhetoric (Oxford University Press: New York and London, 1936).
  • Interpretation in Teaching (Routledge & Kegan Paul: London; Harcourt, Brace: New York, 1938). Subsequent editions: 1973 (with 'Retrospect').
  • Basic in Teaching: East and West (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1935).
  • How To Read a Page: A Course in Effective Reading, With an Introduction to a Hundred Great Words (W. W. Norton: New York, 1942; Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1943). Subsequent editions: 1959 (Beacon Press: Boston. With new 'Introduction').
  • The Wrath of Achilles: The Iliad of Homer, Shortened and in a New Translation (W. W. Norton: New York, 1950; Routledge & Kegan Paul: London, 1951).
  • 'So Much Nearer: Essays toward a World English (Harcourt, Brace & World: New York, 1960, 1968). Includes the important essay, "The Future of Poetry."
  • Complementarities: Uncollected Essays, ed. by John Paul Russo (Harvard University Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1976).
  • Times of India Guide to Basic English (Bombay: The Times of India Press), 1938; Odgen, C. K. & Richards, I. A.

See also


  1. ^ Bizzell, Patricia; Herzberg, Bruce (2001). The Rhetorical Tradition: Reading From Classical Times to the Present (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Bedford/St. Matin's. p. 1270. ISBN 0312148399.
  2. ^ Retrieved 6 April 2016
  3. ^ Tai Huai-Ching, On the Study of Words (1960).my World Publishing Co. p. 149.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ Glicksberg, Charles I. "I. A. Richards and the Science of Criticism." The Sewanee Review 46.4 (1938). JSTOR. Web. <https://www.jstor.org/stable/27535493>.
  6. ^ Hochmuth, Marie. "I. A Richards and the ‘New Rhetoric’ new royal”, Quarterly Journal of Speech 44.1 (1958): 1. Communication & Mass Media Complete.
  7. ^ a b Golden, Berquist, Coleman, Sproule (2010). The Rhetoric of Western Thought. Kendall-Hunt. pp. 265–268.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b "The Meaning of Meaning of I. A. RIchards," (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2013. |chapter= ignored (help)
  9. ^ a b "The Communication Blog,". |section= ignored (help)

Further reading

  • Russo, John Paul (1989). I.A. Richards: His Life and Work. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0801834171.

External links

  • Practical Criticism The Open Archive's copy of the first edition, 2nd impression, 1930; downloadable in DjVu, PDF and text formats.
  • I.A. Richards page from the Johns Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory (subscription required)
  • I.A. Richards capsule biography
  • The I.A. Richards Web Resource
  • I.A. Richards page from LiteraryDictionary.com
  • Biography compiled by John Constable
  • Richard Storer, 'Richards, Ivor Armstrong (1893–1979)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 18 May 2007
  • Barbara Leonard Reynolds I.A. Richards' relationship with his American mentor, author and educator Sterling A. Leonard.
  • Jessica Renshaw, 'FAMILY: My Grandfather Sterling,'[2] I.A. Richards' visit to the United States in May 1931 to meet American literary critic and New Rhetoric proponent Sterling A. Leonard, who had arranged for him to speak at the University of Wisconsin, his shock at being present at Dr. Leonard's death the next day when the two men were canoeing together on Lake Mendota and the canoe overturned. 3 July 2013: NEW INFORMATION from Dr. Leonard's grandson Tim Reynolds just added to this link: "Dr. Richards said he saw Dr. Leonard lose his grip and start to sink and he instinctively dived down, reaching for him. His hand brushed Sterling's bald head. Dr. R. told Tim, 'For a long time afterwards I was haunted with bad dreams, dreaming that Sterling was trying to come up and that my hand brushing across his head kept him from being able to.' Dr. R. told Dr. Leonard's grandson that he and Sterling had had a productive afternoon together and he believed if Dr. Leonard had survived, they (together) would have 'revolutionized English teaching.' Tim says Dr. R. seemed more concerned about him (Tim) than the past events and "he reassured me my grandfather was a very important person."
1923 in philosophy

1923 in philosophy

1929 in philosophy

1929 in philosophy

Basic English

Basic English is an English-based controlled language created by linguist and philosopher Charles Kay Ogden as an international auxiliary language, and as an aid for teaching English as a second language. Basic English is, in essence, a simplified subset of regular English. It was presented in Ogden's book Basic English: A General Introduction with Rules and Grammar (1930).

Ogden's Basic, and the concept of a simplified English, gained its greatest publicity just after the Allied victory in World War II as a means for world peace. Although Basic English was not built into a program, similar simplifications have been devised for various international uses. Ogden's associate I. A. Richards promoted its use in schools in China. More recently, it has influenced the creation of Voice of America's Special English for news broadcasting, and Simplified Technical English, another English-based controlled language designed to write technical manuals.

What survives today of Ogden's Basic English is the basic 850-word list used as the beginner's vocabulary of the English language taught worldwide, especially in Asia.


Gostak is a meaningless noun that is used in the phrase "the gostak distims the doshes", which is an example of how it is possible to derive meaning from the syntax of a sentence even if the referents of the terms are entirely unknown.

The phrase was coined in 1903 by Andrew Ingraham but is best known through its quotation in 1923 by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards in their book The Meaning of Meaning, and has been since referred to in a number of cultural contexts.

Hugh Sykes Davies

Hugh Sykes Davies (1909 – 1984) was an English poet, novelist and communist who was one of a small group of 1930s British surrealists.

Davies was born in Yorkshire to a Methodist minister and his wife. He went to Kingswood School, Bath and studied at Cambridge, where he co-edited a student magazine called Experiment with William Empson. He spent some time in Paris during the 1930s. He was to stand as a communist candidate in the 1940 general election, but the vote was cancelled because of World War II. He was one of the organisers of the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936.

He had a talent for friendship, and as well as Empson, he numbered T. S. Eliot, I. A. Richards, Anthony Blunt, Wittgenstein and Salvador Dalí amongst his circle. At one stage he had Malcolm Lowry declared his ward in an attempt to stop Lowry's drinking.

Davies' poems were mostly published in avant garde magazines and were not collected during his lifetime. His novels include Full Fathom Five (1956) and The Papers of Andrew Melmoth (1960). He also wrote Petron (1935).

He appears in the Canadian National Film Board's feature-length documentary "Volcano: An Inquiry into the Life and Death of Malcolm Lowry" talking about Lowry and their friendship.

He was a University Lecturer and Fellow of St. John's College, Cambridge.

List of works in critical theory

This is a list of important and seminal works in the field of critical theory.

Otto Maria Carpeaux

História da Literatura Ocidental, 8 vol. (Portuguese, 1959–66)

M. H. Abrams

The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition

Theodor Adorno

Aesthetic Theory

Negative Dialectics

Theodor Adorno & Max Horkheimer

Dialectic of Enlightenment

Louis Althusser

For Marx

Lenin and Philosophy

Erich Auerbach

Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature

Mikhail Bakhtin

Discourse in the Novel

Rabelais and his World

Roland Barthes

Image, Music, Text


Jean Baudrillard

The Perfect Crime

Simulation and Simulacra

Walter Benjamin


The Origin of German Tragic Drama

Homi K. Bhabha

The Location of Culture

Pierre Bourdieu

La distinction

Kenneth Burke

A Rhetoric of Motives

A Grammar of Motives

John Brannigan

New Historicism and Cultural Materialism

Cleanth Brooks

The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry

Sean Burke

The Death and Return of the Author

Judith Butler

Bodies That Matter

Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Cathy Caruth

Unclaimed Experience: Trauma, Narrative and History

Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Biographia Literaria

Jonathan Culler

Structuralist Poetics

The Pursuit of Signs

Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction

Gilles Deleuze

Difference and Repetition

Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

Capitalism and Schizophrenia: Anti-Oedipus (pt.1) and A Thousand Plateaus (pt.2)

Jacques Derrida

Of Grammatology

Writing and Difference

Peter Dews

The Limits of Disenchantment

The Logic of Disintigration

Terry Eagleton

Marxism and Literary Criticism

The Idea of Culture

Antony Easthope

The Unconscious

William Empson

Seven Types of Ambiguity

Some Versions of Pastoral

The Structure of Complex Words

Norman Fairclough

Language and Power

Critical Discourse Analysis

Frantz Fanon

Black Skins, White Masks

Stanley Fish

Is There a Text in this Class?

Northrop Frye

Anatomy of Criticism

Gerald Graff

Literature Against Itself

Jürgen Habermas

Legitimation Crisis

The Theory of Communicative Action, volumes 1 & 2

The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity

Wolfgang Iser

The Act of Reading: a Theory of Aesthetic Response

Leonard Jackson

The Poverty of Structuralism

Fredric Jameson

The Political Unconscious

Postmodernism, or, the Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism

The Prison-House of Language

Frank Kermode

Romantic Image

Julia Kristeva

Desire in Language

Powers of Horror

Jacques Lacan


The Seminars

F.R. Leavis

The Great Tradition

Ania Loomba


Herbert Marcuse

Reason and Revolution. Hegel and the Rise of Social Theory

Eros and Civilization

Soviet Marxism. A Critical Analysis

One-Dimensional Man

Toril Moi

Sexual/Textual Politics

I.A. Richards

Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgement

Principles of Literary Criticism

K.K. Ruthven

Critical Assumptions

Edward Said

Culture and Imperialism

Orientalism (1978)

Jean-Paul Sartre

What Is Literature? (1947)

Ferdinand de Saussure

Cours de linguistique générale (posthumously 1916)

Alfred Schmidt

The Concept of Nature in Marx (1962)

Zur Idee der Kritischen Theorie (German, 1974)

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick

Between Men

Epistemology of the Closet

Susan Sontag

Against Interpretation

Styles of Radical Will

Under the Sign of Saturn

Where The Stress Falls

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak

"Can the Subaltern Speak?"

In Other Worlds

Raymond Tallis

Not Saussure

Scott Wilson

Cultural Materialism

W.K. Wimsatt

The Verbal Icon

Virginia Woolf

A Room of One's Own

Slavoj Žižek

The Sublime Object of Ideology

The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology

Meaning (linguistics)

In linguistics, meaning is the information or concepts that a sender intends to convey, or does convey, in communication with a receiver.


A metaphor is a figure of speech that, for rhetorical effect, directly refers to one thing by mentioning another. It may provide clarity or identify hidden similarities between two ideas. Antithesis, hyperbole, metonymy and simile are all types of metaphor. One of the most commonly cited examples of a metaphor in English literature is the "All the world's a stage" monologue from As You Like It:

This quotation expresses a metaphor because the world is not literally a stage. By asserting that the world is a stage, Shakespeare uses points of comparison between the world and a stage to convey an understanding about the mechanics of the world and the behavior of the people within it.

The Philosophy of Rhetoric (1937) by rhetorician I. A. Richards describes a metaphor as having two parts: the tenor and the vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the object whose attributes are borrowed. In the previous example, "the world" is compared to a stage, describing it with the attributes of "the stage"; "the world" is the tenor, and "a stage" is the vehicle; "men and women" is the secondary tenor, and "players" is the secondary vehicle.

Other writers employ the general terms ground and figure to denote the tenor and the vehicle. Cognitive linguistics uses the terms target and source, respectively. Psychologist Julian Jaynes contributed the terms metaphrand, metaphier, paraphrand, and paraphier to the understanding of how metaphors evoke meaning thereby adding two additional terms to the common set of two basic terms. Metaphrand is equivalent to metaphor theory terms tenor, target, and ground. Metaphier is equivalent to metaphor theory terms vehicle, figure, and source. Paraphier is any attribute, characteristics, or aspect of a metaphier, whereas any paraphrand is a selected paraphier which has conceptually become attached to a metaphrand through understanding or comprehending of a metaphor. For example, if a reader encounters this metaphor: "Pat is a tornado," the metaphrand is "Pat," the metaphier is "tornado." The paraphiers, or characteristics, of the metaphier "tornado" would include: storm, power, wind, counterclockwise, danger, threat, destruction, etc. However, the metaphoric use of those attributes or characteristics of a tornado is not typically one-for-one; if Pat is said to be a "tornado" the metaphoric meaning is likely to focus on the paraphrands of power or destruction rather than on, say, the paraphier of counterclockwise movement of wind.

New Criticism

New Criticism was a formalist movement in literary theory that dominated American literary criticism in the middle decades of the 20th century. It emphasized close reading, particularly of poetry, to discover how a work of literature functioned as a self-contained, self-referential aesthetic object. The movement derived its name from John Crowe Ransom's 1941 book The New Criticism.

The work of Cambridge scholar I. A. Richards, especially his Practical Criticism and The Meaning of Meaning, which offered what was claimed to be an empirical scientific approach, were important to the development of New Critical methodology. Also very influential were the critical essays of T. S. Eliot, such as "Tradition and the Individual Talent" and "Hamlet and His Problems", in which Eliot developed his notion of the "objective correlative". Eliot's evaluative judgments, such as his condemnation of Milton and Dryden, his liking for the so-called metaphysical poets and his insistence that poetry must be impersonal, greatly influenced the formation of the New Critical canon.

Orthology (language)

Orthology is the study of the right use of words in language. The word comes from Greek ortho- ("correct") and -logy ("science of"). This science is a place where psychology, philosophy, linguistics, and many other fields of learning come together. The most noted use of Orthology is for the selection of words

for the language of Basic English by the Orthological Institute.

The book, The Meaning of Meaning, by C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards, is an important book dealing with orthology. The term Orthology comes from the book The Grammar of Science by Karl Pearson.

Outline of aesthetics

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to aesthetics:

Aesthetics – branch of philosophy and axiology concerned with the nature of beauty.


Overdetermination occurs when a single-observed effect is determined by multiple causes, any one of which alone would be sufficient to account for ("determine") the effect. That is, there are more causes present than are necessary to cause the effect. In the philosophy of science, this means that more evidence is available than is necessary to justify a conclusion. Overdetermination is in contrast to underdetermination, when the number or strength of causes is insufficient.

The term "overdetermination" (German: Überdeterminierung) was also used by Sigmund Freud as a key concept in his psychoanalysis.

Reader-response criticism

Reader-response criticism is a school of literary theory that focuses on the reader (or "audience") and their experience of a literary work, in contrast to other schools and theories that focus attention primarily on the author or the content and form of the work.

Although literary theory has long paid some attention to the reader's role in creating the meaning and experience of a literary work, modern reader-response criticism began in the 1960s and '70s, particularly in the US and Germany, in work by Norman Holland, Stanley Fish, Wolfgang Iser, Hans-Robert Jauss, Roland Barthes, and others. Important predecessors were I. A. Richards, who in 1929 analyzed a group of Cambridge undergraduates' misreadings; Louise Rosenblatt, who, in Literature as Exploration (1938), argued that it is important for the teacher to avoid imposing any "preconceived notions about the proper way to react to any work"; and C. S. Lewis in An Experiment in Criticism (1961).

Reader-response theory recognizes the reader as an active agent who imparts "real existence" to the work and completes its meaning through interpretation. Reader-response criticism argues that literature should be viewed as a performing art in which each reader creates their own, possibly unique, text-related performance. It stands in total opposition to the theories of formalism and the New Criticism, in which the reader's role in re-creating literary works is ignored. New Criticism had emphasized that only that which is within a text is part of the meaning of a text. No appeal to the authority or intention of the author, nor to the psychology of the reader, was allowed in the discussions of orthodox New Critics.


Reference is a relation between objects in which one object designates, or acts as a means by which to connect to or link to, another object. The first object in this relation is said to refer to the second object. It is called a name for the second object. The second object, the one to which the first object refers, is called the referent of the first object. A name is usually a phrase or expression, or some other symbolic representation. Its referent may be anything – a material object, a person, an event, an activity, or an abstract concept.

References can take on many forms, including: a thought, a sensory perception that is audible (onomatopoeia), visual (text), olfactory, or tactile, emotional state, relationship with other, spacetime coordinate, symbolic or alpha-numeric, a physical object or an energy projection. In some cases, methods are used that intentionally hide the reference from some observers, as in cryptography.

References feature in many spheres of human activity and knowledge, and the term adopts shades of meaning particular to the contexts in which it is used. Some of them are described in the sections below.


A referent () is a person or thing to which a name – a linguistic expression or other symbol – refers. For example, in the sentence Mary saw me, the referent of the word Mary is the particular person called Mary who is being spoken of, while the referent of the word me is the person uttering the sentence.

Two expressions which have the same referent are said to be co-referential. In the sentence John had his dog with him, for instance, the noun John and the pronoun him are co-referential, since they both refer to the same person (John).

Tenor (linguistics)

In systemic functional linguistics, the term tenor refers to the participants in a discourse, their relationships to each other, and their purposes.In examining how context affects language use, linguists refer to the context-specific variety of language as a register. The three aspects of the context are known as field, tenor and mode. Field refers to the subject matter or content being discussed. Mode refers to the channel (such as writing, or video-conference) of the communication. By understanding these three variables, the kind of language likely to be used in a particular setting can be predicted — and, Michael Halliday suggests, this is exactly what we do, unconsciously, as language users.In analysing the parts of a metaphor, "tenor" has another meaning, unrelated to the meaning above. According to I. A. Richards, the two parts of a metaphor are the tenor and vehicle. The tenor is the subject to which attributes are ascribed. The vehicle is the subject from which the attributes are derived. Thus, they are broadly equivalent to the notions of target and source domains in conceptual metaphor theory.

The Barrier Miner

The Barrier Miner was a daily English language broadsheet newspaper published in Broken Hill in far western New South Wales from 1888 to 1974.

The Last Temptation of Christ

The Last Temptation of Christ or The Last Temptation (Greek: Ο Τελευταίος Πειρασμός, O Teleftéos Pirasmós) is a historical novel written by Nikos Kazantzakis, first published in 1955. It was first published in English in 1960. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church in Athens wanted this book banned in Greece stating:

This novel, which is derived from the inspiration of the theories of Freud and historical materialism, perverts and hurts the Gospel discernment and the God-man figure of our Lord Jesus Christ in a way coarse, vulgar, and blasphemous.

I. A. Richards claims that Kazantzakis, in his The Last Temptation novel, tried to reclaim the values of early Christianity, such as love, brotherhood, humility, and self-renunciation. According to P. Bien, the psychology in The Last Temptation is based on the idea that every person, Jesus included, is evil by nature as well as good: violent and hateful as well as loving. A psychologically sound individual does not ignore or bury the evil within him. Instead, he channels it into the service of good.The central thesis of the book is that Jesus, while free from sin, was still subject to fear, doubt, depression, reluctance, and lust. Kazantzakis argues in the novel's preface that by facing and conquering all of man's weaknesses, Jesus struggled to do God's will without ever giving in to the temptations of the flesh. The novel advances the argument that, had Jesus succumbed to any such temptation, especially the opportunity to save himself from the cross, his life would have held no more significance than that of any other philosopher.

The Meaning of Meaning

The Meaning of Meaning: A Study of the Influence of Language upon Thought and of the Science of Symbolism (1923) is a book by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards. It is accompanied by two supplementary essays by Bronisław Malinowski and F. G. Crookshank.

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