- Professor Ben Knights, Director of the English Subject Study Centre
- Dr Gary Day, De Montfort University
I. A. Richards’ foundational text Practical Criticism, which he described as ‘in part … the record of a piece of field-work in comparative ideology’, was published by Cambridge University Press in 1929. Its methodological and theoretical assumptions constitute the basis of all subsequent teaching and much critical analysis of literary texts. Practical criticism is still the first mode of encounter with literary texts for most students, and major traditions of literary analysis and theory, from New Critical approaches to deconstruction, from psychological and psychoanalytic approaches to linguistic and reader-response theories, owe conceptual and methodological debts to Richards’ project in Practical Criticism. The book provided a series of models for the reading of texts, the comprehension of contexts, and the processes of interpretation, analysis and composition, which has influenced subsequent critical practice in profound ways.
This conference will explore the arguments and assumptions, influences and legacies, reactions against and developments from, and contemporary versions of and responses to the traditions of critical reading established by Richards’ text. A selection of the papers will be included in a planned volume marking in 2009 the 80th anniversary of the publication of Practical Criticism.
The conference website is here: http://www.eri.mmu.ac.uk/events/legacies-of-practical-criticism.