From Southern Agrarianism to Criticism Inc.
This establishment of critical analysis and interpretation as a major activity in American intellectual life has been described by John Crowe Ransom as the advent of ‘Criticism, Inc., or Criticism, Ltd.’ This development was in part due to the needs of the massive extension of higher education in the USA after the Second World War.
T. S. Eliot probably is the only poet in history to face an audience of 13,723 in a cavernous sports arena.
The event: the third in the series of Gideon Seymour Memorial Lectures, presented by the University of Minnesota and sponsored by the Minneapolis Star and Tribune. The subject: a brilliant discourse on ‘The Frontier of Criticism’, which earned for the 67-year-old Nobel Prize winner an ovation remindful of those that rattle the same Williams Arena rafters during a Big Ten basketball game.1
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