Beginning this last chapter, I am uneasy, like the hero of Numpholeptos confronting again the moon-white nymph, feeling himself further from completing his quest than ever. I started with an idea, and I tried to show through a discussion of particular poems that the idea was well-founded. It seemed a sensible procedure. But individual poems never simply confirm a general truth. They stain us with their own particularity, until we look down and find ourselves reeking with crocus, saffron, orange, as far as ever from the white light of the thesis. That repetitive, endless shunting between the general and the particular, between an experience of literature and an understanding of it, seems to me to characterise almost all literary criticism. If I am not struck dumb, it is because I think it true not just of literary criticism, but of most of our dealings with the world.


White Light Literary Criticism Colour Experience Water Snake Sole Tenant 
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Copyright information

© Richard Cronin 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Cronin
    • 1
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK

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