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I. A. Richards

English literary critic and rhetorician
I. A. Richards in the Alps, c. 1930

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.

QuotesEdit

Principles of Literary CriticismEdit

  • A book is a machine to think with, but it need not, therefore, usurp the functions either of the bellows or the locomotive.
    • Richards, I. A. (1924). Principles of Literary Criticism. 
  • The chief lesson to be learnt from it is the futility of all argumentation that precedes understanding. We cannot profitably attack any opinion until we have discovered what it expresses as well as what it states.
    • Richards, I. A. (1924). Principles of Literary Criticism. 
  • An experience has to be formed, no doubt, before it is communicated, but it takes the form it does largely because it may have to be communicated.
    • Richards, I. A. (1924). Principles of Literary Criticism. 
  • Very simple experiences – a cold bath in an enamelled tin, or running for a train – may to some extent be compared without elaborate vehicles; and friends exceptionally well acquainted with one another may manage some rough comparisons in ordinary conversation. But subtle or recondite experiences are for most men incommunicable and indescribable, though social conventions or terror of the loneliness of the human situation may make us pretend the contrary.”
    • Richards, I. A. (1924). Principles of Literary Criticism. 

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