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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Also, by defining poetry as uniquely having a structure of paradox, Brooks ignores the power of paradox in everyday conversation and discourse, including scientific discourse, which Brooks claimed was opposed to poetry. Johns Hopkins University Press, In poets like Blake and Coleridge, they merge with variations in emphasis. There is a different paradix to the issue at hand; chiefly that the poet has to work langage analogies.

In The Well Wrought Urn Brooks shows that paradox was so essential to poetic meaning that paradox was almost identical to poetry. For other uses, see Paradox disambiguation. This is merely a matter of prejudice.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

However the values celebrated by the New Critics were neither universal nor unchanging, but reflective of their own very specific concerns and ambitions.

He contends that these several meanings are impossible to convey at the right depth and emotion in any language but that of paradox. The poem closes with the tone of triumphant achievement, developed by several earlier. But the poet can call it neither one nor two: But the name is double, and with the advent of multiple sciences, is multiple. I mean that the poet does not use a notation at all–as a scientist may paradod be said to do so.

Its death is life. The paradox runs deeper than this contrast. This makes it a permissible feature of an epigram or a satire, sub- varieties of poetry, but not of poetry itself. Click here to sign up. Here the metaphor is powerfully dramatized. The individual poet is given a great deal of power, then, in the process of knowledge making and the reader is isolated from the production of meaning. For one, Brooks believes that the very structure of poetry is paradox, and ignores the other subtleties of imagination and power that poets bring to their poems.


The paradox, lanugage by the poem’s broosk, is that the girl is more full of worship than the broks precisely because she is always consumed with sympathy for nature and not — as is the speaker — in tune with nature while immersed in it. This page was last modified on 15 Decemberat According to literary theorist Leroy Searle, Brooks’ use of paradox emphasized the indeterminate lines between langhage and content.

The comparisons in this poem take off from the well-worn Petrarchan conventionalities and are entirely different. Irony Although paradox and irony as New Critical tools for reading poetry are often conflated, they are independent poetical devices. The opening of the third stanza suggests that this vein of irony is to be maintained. Donne takes neither love nor sainthood seriously, but merely exercises his wit with a cynical and bawdy lyric. It is easy see both as pxradox of the union born out of creative imagination.

Paradox (literature) – Wikipedia

It functions as a method of literary composition – and analysis – which involves examining apparently contradictory statements and drawing conclusions either to reconcile them or to explain their presence. In particular, the New Critical techniques were found to be very effective with such forms as lyric poetry but not with genres like the novel, which are heavily invested in cultural, social, historical and moral readings. In The Language of Paradox The Well Wrought Urn Brooks shows that paradox was so essential to poetic meaning that paradox was almost identical to poetry.

Thus it was out of the question that they could disregard context in studying literature, much less be judges of ideal canons. It is however, not possible that the metaphors will fit on the same plane.


The implication is that the poet himself recognizes the absurdity of these love metaphors. The study of English, however, remained less defined and it became a goal of the New Critical movement to justify literature in an age of science by separating the work from its author and reader, and by examining it as a self-sufficient artifact.

Cleanth brooks paradox – WikiEducator

The poet has to make up his language as he goes. It suggests not a mere holiness but a pharisaical holiness, a foil to the symbol of her continual secret worship. The lovers remain the same and the love is not merely lust. Literary or rhetorical paradoxes abound in the works of Oscar Wilde and G.

The very houses seem asleep And all that mighty heart is lying still! His poems would not provide too many examples of paradoxes. Yet the poet goes on to say: 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.

His lovers, bereft of the benefits of the supernatural that Donne confers on them, become less powerful, less unworldly. But he is to let the speaker alone. Retrieved from ” http: In addition to the theme, paracox New Critics also looked for paradox, ambiguity, irony, and tension to help establish the single best and most unified interpretation of the text.

He neatly and contemptuously epitomizes the two main categories of secular success in the line: By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Brooks and the New Critics also argued that there was in existence a finite number of good texts a canon.