Cleanth Brooks, an eminent New Critic, advocates the centrality of paradox as a way of understanding and interpreting poetry, in his. This presentation is based on Cleanth Brooks’s essay “The Language of Paradox ,”, wherein Cleanth Brooks emphasizes how the language of. In the article “The Language of Paradox,” author Cleanth Brooks argues that poetry is made up of a language of paradox, meaning that poetry is made up of a .

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Paradox in poetry means that tension at the surface of a verse can lead to apparent contradictions and hypocrisies.

C,eanth Rivkin and Michael Ryan. Te changes the tone of the poem from ironic banter to that of a defiant and controlled tenderness. The importance of the role of the second and third stanzas of the poem is that the poet changes the tone of the poem in them.

All subtler states of emotion demands metaphors for their expression. But he is to let the speaker alone.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox | Literary Theory and Criticism

The tone of irritation that is seen at the opening of the poem becomes something very different. Views Read Edit View history. The poet has to make up his language as he goes.

Even the most direct and simple poet has to resort to discrepancies, contradictions and paradoxes. This article is about the figure of speech. Any other direct method would have enfeebled and distorted what was said. Cleanty is an intense and serious parody of a normally sacred ritual. It really describes the lovers best and justifies their renunciation of the world.


Donne takes neither love nor sainthood seriously, but merely exercises his wit with a cynical and bawdy lyric. He argues that because their love is cldanth mundane, the lovers can afford to reject the world. All the generalizations are made out of a close analysis of lyric poetry. The poem opens dramatically. In addition to the theme, the New Critics also looked for paradox, ambiguity, irony, and tension languge help establish the single best and most unified interpretation of the text.

This makes it a brookz feature of an epigram or a satire, sub- varieties of poetry, but not of ceanth itself. In The Languafe Wrought Urn Brooks shows that paradox was so essential to poetic meaning that paradox was almost identical to poetry.

His lovers, bereft of the benefits of the supernatural that Donne confers on them, become less powerful, less unworldly. This makes the continual tilting of the planes an immediate necessity. Brooks’ contemporaries in the sciences were, in the s and 50’s, reorganizing university science curricula into codified disciplines. Their Roots, Range, and Resolution. Click here to sign up. The practical friend will still have wars to fight and lawsuits to argue. Skip to main content. The comparisons in this poem take off from the well-worn Petrarchan conventionalities and are entirely different.

This is in principle what Wordsworth has stated in the second edition of the Lyrical Ballads: It also burns at its own cost, only to live again.

Further back, Polonius ‘ observation that “though this be madness, yet there is method in’t” is a memorable third. The reasons why it rose to almost hegemonic proportions are complex and many. Brooks and the New Critics also argued that there was in existence a finite number of good texts a canon.


Johns Hopkins University Press, Studies in the Structure of Poetry.

The study of English, however, remained less defined and it became a goal of the New Critical movement to justify literature in an age of science by separating the work from its author and critic see Wimsatt cleantth Beardsley’s Intentional fallacy and Affective fallacy and by examining it as a self-sufficient artifact.

Brooks simply believed that, “‘Imagination’ reveals itself in the balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities.

Paradox (literature)

Here the metaphor is langage dramatized. The fine metaphors of the fourth stanza achieve an effect of deliberate resolution and tenderness.

Its death is life. It functions as a method of literary composition and analysis that involves examining apparently contradictory statements and drawing conclusions either to reconcile them or to explain their presence. The poet is filled with worship, but the girl who walks with him is not.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

Formal elements such as rhyme, meter, setting, characterization, and plot were used to identify the theme of the text.

Most literature deals with paradox of situation; RabelaisCervantesSterneBorgesand Chesterton are recognized as masters of situation as well as verbal paradox.

He represents the secular world the lovers have renounced. It is however, not possible that the metaphors will fit on the same plane. Brooks ends his essay with a reading of John Donne ‘s poem The Canonizationwhich uses a paradox as its underlying metaphor.