Yearbook of Comparative Criticism, Vol. 6
The Personality of the Critic
Edited by Joseph P. StreklaThe Personality of the Critic considers aspects of personal qualities exhibited in literary criticism in the sense of René Wellek’s observation that criticism is necessarily “personal” even though it aims to “discover a structure of determination of the object itself.” Two crucial questions are posed here. To what degree and in what way are the implications of a critic’s personality inescapable in his striving for objectivity? And what are the alternatives to the questionable extremes, on one hand, of arbitrary or anarchic subjectivity and, on the other hand, of reduction of literary criticism to factual positivism? The answers to these questions, basic to literary criticism ranging from Kantian idealism to present-day phenomenological explanations, are explored in this volume along with the different viewpoints held on these questions in Western as well as in Eastern traditions. Some of the most important and essential problems of the foundations of literary criticism—problems that are often avoided—are brought forward in this volume.
Joseph P. Strelka, born May 3, 1927 in Wiener Neustadt, Lower Austria, received his PhD from the University of Vienna in 1950. After the untimely death of his academic mentor, Oskar Benda, he became a freelance critic and worked for Austrian Broadcasting and for a publishing house. He became the Austrian representative at the Centre International des Etudes Poétiques in Brussels and is a member of the Austrian PEN-Club. He received awards from the Theodor Koerner Foundation, a prize from the city of Vienna, and a special research fellowship in Paris. In 1964 he came to the United States as an Associate Professor at the University of Southern California. In 1966 he moved to The Pennsylvania State University, and he is now Professor of German and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Albany.
Professor Strelka is a member of the editorial boards of the North Carolina Comparative Literature Series and of the Colloquia Germanica.
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