Books February 1986
René Wellek: the theorist as historian
A review of A History of Modern Criticism, Vol. 5 & Vol. 6.
With the publication of English Criticism, 1900-1950 and American Criticism, 1900-1950—volumes five and six of his projected seven-volume A History of Modern Criticism, 1750-1950—René Wellek is nearing the end of one of the most impressive projects in the annals of American literary scholarship. (The seventh volume, Continental Criticism, 1900-1950, is tentatively scheduled to appear in 1988.) Something like the full dimension of his achievement in this history of modern criticism is becoming apparent to anyone who will study these new works in the context of the previous four volumes. Taken together, they constitute a comprehensive selection, organization, description, analysis, and evaluation of literary criticism in Europe and America in the indicated two centuries. Encyclopedic in its range of...
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