Top 3 Quotes & Sayings by Cleanth Brooks

Explore popular quotes and sayings by Cleanth Brooks.
Cleanth Brooks

Cleanth Brooks was an American literary critic and professor. He is best known for his contributions to New Criticism in the mid-20th century and for revolutionizing the teaching of poetry in American higher education. His best-known works, The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and the Tradition (1939), argue for the centrality of ambiguity and paradox as a way of understanding poetry. With his writing, Brooks helped to formulate formalist criticism, emphasizing "the interior life of a poem" and codifying the principles of close reading.

October 16, 1906 - May 10, 1994

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Abstraction Altogether Apparently Describe Direct Directly Essence Experience Garment Good Hide All Leads Metaphors Occasionally Part Person Poet Poetry Rarely Rest Risk Risks Seamless Separated Spoken Spoken Word Statement True Words Wore Less More Hide All See All
The poet wants to β€˜say’ something. Why, then, doesn’t he say it directly and fortrightly? Why is he willing to say it only through his metaphors? Through his metaphors, he risks saying it partially and obscurely, and risks saying nothing at all. But the risk must be taken, for direct statement leads to abstraction and threatens to take us out of poetry altogether.
Man's experience is indeed a seamless garment, no part of which can be separated from the rest. β€” Β© Cleanth Brooks
Man's experience is indeed a seamless garment, no part of which can be separated from the rest.
When we try to describe one person to another …, what do we say? Not usually how or what that person ate, rarely what he wore, only occasionally how he managed his jobβ€”no, what we tell is what he said and, if we are good mimics, how he said it. We apparently consider a person's spoken words the true essence of his being.
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