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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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(p.252) 34 Timing
The Critical Pulse

Mark Mcgurl

Columbia University Press

This chapter presents the author's thoughts on literary criticism, speaking from his position as a member of a lost academic generation. He says that his entire career as a literary scholar has been conducted in the encroaching shadow of professional doom. It is from this fact that he derives his critical credo, which is in essence an existentialist one, though shorn of much of Sartre's confidence in individual freedom. His existentialist commitment is to the value of the study of literature; to preserving space and time for the exhilarating sense of enlightenment he feels when he reads good criticism and that he sees occurring in the classroom all the time; and to extending this benefit to as many people as possible.

Keywords:   academic literary criticism, literary critics, existentialism

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