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248Philosophy and Literature offers the most promise in pursuing the very questions which interest him. The most revealing and embarrassing portions of the book are those sections in which Lindauer discusses his conception of literature and psychology. "Literature and psychology have much in common," he says, "both show a perplexity about man . . ." (p. 47). Such a statement promises a hopelessly unsophisticated address to literary scholars. Lindauer's naïveté is reflected throughout the book by references to authors and critics in which he makes no qualitative distinctions between a Conrad Aiken and a William Faulkner, or a Norman Cousins and an M. H. Abrams. There is no indication in the entire book that Lindauer is at all aware of the status of a variety of aesthetic concerns or the nature of numerous ongoing critical debates about what constitutes a text or even what constitutes the act of reading. He creates arguments, in fact, where none exist, as in his defense of an empirical study of texts. He does not realize that for those who assume the text is stable and external to the reader, empirical studies have been going on for quite a while in formalist criticism, stylistics, bibliography, linguistic criticism, and certain kinds of reader response criticism. I cannot speak about the quality of his appeal to psychologists, but I suspect not many will be impressed by his argument that literature provides illustrations for psychologists: "Even Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh with its logic, language, and fantasy anticipated a host of concepts from the noted developmental psychologist Piaget . . ." (p. 72). What is wrong with this statement is symptomatic of the general weaknesses of this book. There is no critical examination of the underlying assumptions governing the methodologies of his own discipline, let alone those of literary criticism and aesthetics. Hence there is no clear formulation of the problems these methodologies address. We do need more and better interdisciplinary work. We have the example of Rudolf Arnheim, Leonard Meyer, Ernst Gombrich, Norman Holland, George Devereux, and Anton Ehrenzweig among many others who have not only demonstrated the viability of such projects but also made invaluable contributions to the disciplines they interrelate. Indeed, unlike The Psychological Study of Literature, the pages of this journal promise precisely the kind of articles which should add substantially to the informed discourse among several disciplines. Wayne State UniversityLeonard Tennenhouse On Value Judgements in the Arts and Other Essays, by Elder Olson; pp. ix & 365. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1976. $20.00. This volume is a collection of Elder Olson's essays representing "nearly four decades of concern with the theory and practice of criticism" (p. vii). Their subjects are various, and Olson has divided them into five groups. In the Shorter Reviews249 first ("Practical Criticism") are six essays on poets and poetry. The second ("Interpretation") contains two essays on the interpretation of Hamlet. The four essays in the third section ("Critics") are all devoted to an examination of the positions of critics and theorists. In the fourth section ("Critical Theory") are six essays which theorize about, for example, Symbolism, the Lyric, and Poetic Theory. The last section ("Metacriticism") contains three essays devoted to "theorizing about theories in general." The direction is obviously from a direct contact with literary texts towards progressively more abstract theorizing. Of these twenty-one essays, fourteen are from the fifties and earlier, while seven are from the period 1964 to the present. Elder Olson is one of the three most prominent members of the Chicago school of criticism (the "Chicago Critics" as W. K. Wimsatt called them in his critique in The Verbal Icon). A collection of his essays, critical and theoretical, has an obvious value as part of the documentation of that school. In the space available for this review it would be impossible for me to attempt to give an analysis of the positions held by the Chicago School. (I am still sympathetic to W. K. Wimsatt's critique.) Nor can I hope in that space to discuss Olson's own stance in criticism and critical theory, or his place among the Chicago Critics. I can, however, make a few observations which are relevant to readers of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 248-250
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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