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The Critical PulseThirty-Six Credos by Contemporary Critics$
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Jeffrey Williams and Heather Steffen

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780231161152

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231161152.001.0001

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Criticism in a Difficult Time

(p.1) Introduction
The Critical Pulse
Jeffrey J. Williams, Heather Steffen
Columbia University Press

This volume gathers thirty-six “credos,” short chapters in which contemporary critics tell what they think criticism should do and why they do it. The chapter strip away academic edifice to give forthright accounts of critics' views. They propose a number of ways to do criticism now. It is hoped that these credos will help clarify the role and possibilities of criticism in a difficult time, particularly as the humanities have been pared down to a skeleton crew, publishing has retreated to the higher-stakes bet of best-sellers, and the university, the home of criticism since the Great Depression, has become infatuated with the protocols of the market, aiding and abetting capitalism rather than keeping a distance from it. Criticism has a tenuous position in this new landscape. This introductory chapter tells the story behind the origins of the present collection followed by an overview of the subsequent chapters.

Keywords:   literary critics, literary criticism, credos, humanities

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