International Journal of Humanities and Applied Social Science

ISSN: 2471-7576 (Online)

DOI: 10.33642/ijhass

A Reading in “Tradition and the Individual Talent”

Author(s): Najah Mahmi

The first seeds of New Criticism as an objectivist approach to literature emerged in the 1920s at Vanderbilt University as a result of literary debates about methods and methodologies of reading, led by theorists and critics such as Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, Cleanth Brooks, Robert Penn Warren, and others. Their discussions resulted in the publication of The Fugitive (1922); one of the main founding writings of New Criticism. They were widely influenced by each other as well as other theorists, among which was T.S. Eliot who noticeably shaped the movement’s literary theory, namely through his theory of “depersonalization” of art which stresses the idea of “métier of poetry” and thus the study of art as art, independently from historical background, external social conditions, biographical details, temperament of the author, as well as its psychological and moral effects on readership. This article scrutinizes T.S. Eliot’s “Tradition and the Individual Talent’s contribution to the New Criticism debate on close reading; a theory that emphasizes generating meaning through explaining the text’s implications and establishing connections between its internal verbal and figurative components.