"SlowTime," "a Brooklet, Scarce Espied": Close reading, Cleanth Brooks, John Keats

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter addresses the mid-twentieth-century intervention of close reading in literary studies, through Cleanth Brooks's publications-from the 1930s classroom-projected Understanding Poetry (coedited with Robert Penn Warren, with four editions by the 1960s), to the public-pedagogy of the essays collected in The Well-Wrought Urn (1947), to Brooks's later, and late post-New-Critical reflections. This track is signposted by his evolving regard of Keats's Odes, from disparagement to heroizing, and always with care for "the fate of the humanities." Addressing attacks on close reading and Brooks in particular, this chapter concludes with careful attention to Keats's first draft of Ode to Psyche (1819) to show a historically conscious, historically sharpened, smartly provisional literary aesthetic that amounts to a quiet intervention, of consequence to humanities today.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Work of Reading
Subtitle of host publicationLiterary Criticism in the 21st Century
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030711399
ISBN (Print)9783030711382
StatePublished - May 17 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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