By Philip Davis (eds.)

Poets, novelists and critics dedicated to artistic considering subscribe to jointly during this choice of essays to claim what severe analyzing fairly capability to them as contributors. the gathering is split into 4 sections: George Steiner and George Craig at the act of analyzing usually; Joseph Brodsky, Les Murray, Douglas Oliver and Hester Jones on interpreting, poetry and imaginative and prescient; John Bayley, Philip Davis and Gabriel Josipovici on examining and educating within the universities; Raymond Tallis, Michael Irwin, Josie Billington and Doris Lessing on interpreting and the novel.

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Much of the canonic is also historical. Therefore, it makes dangerous sense to the reader to intuit, to act on the prejudice, that there will be no texts produced in his lifetime or even thereafter to surpass, perhaps to match, those we attach to the anonymities of Homer or the Book of Job. The modem reader finds himself supposing, almost without examination, that certain 'transcendentals' in the canon, such as Aeschylus, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, represent singularities, compactions of totality of a kind which western culture, at least, will not regenerate.

The teleological motion of criticism, its purposive economies, may differ from the theological tenor of the guarantor or 'third party' implicated in the act of 'reading'. Operative in and through these contrarieties is the intimation of an essential distinction between the judicial authority of the critic, his normative placement of the text or art object at and from an argued distance, and the 'dynamic passivity' or sufferance of the 'reader' who is, where 'reading' achieves its plenitude, the 'one being read'.

Whether such re-entry can ever be wholly achieved, whether facsimile is ever total, is a dilemma which long exercised scribes and ministrants. The evident reason for the irreducibility of the iconic is that that which declares and conceals itself in the text or 'Critic'j'Reader' 25 canvas or musical structure is of the order of being rather than of meaning, or, more accurately, that it has force incarnate in but also in excess of sense. It 'is' before it 'means', and the meaning(s) we derive from it are a function of its disinterested autonomy of existence - an existence which does not address itself to any particular beholder but must be met with by hirn (the Angel was not looking for ]acob).

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