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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The paradox, discovered by the poem’s end, is that the girl is more full of worship than the speaker precisely because she is always consumed with sympathy for nature and not — as is the speaker — in tune with nature while immersed in it.

Irony is the key to validating the poem because a test of any statement grows from the context — validating a statement demands examining the statement in the context of the poem and determining whether it is appropriate to that context.

A similar paradox is used in Shakespeare ‘s Romeo and Julietwhen Juliet says, “For saints have hands that pilgrims’ hands do touch and palm to palm is holy palmer’s kiss.

Cleanth Brooks’ Concept of Language of Paradox

The lovers remain the same and the love is not merely lust. It also burns at its own cost, only to live again. The poet points out to his friend the infinite fund of such absurdities which can be applied to lovers: In literaturethe paradox is an anomalous juxtaposition of incongruous ideas for the sake of striking exposition or unexpected insight.

Retrieved from ” https: Their Roots, Range, and Resolution. The likening of the lovers to the phoenix is fully serious.

The poet has to make up his language as he goes. Brooks’ seminal essay, The Language of Paradoxlays out his argument for the centrality of brokks by demonstrating that paradox is “the language appropriate and inevitable to poetry.


In poets like Blake and Coleridge, they merge with variations in emphasis.

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 dominant metaphor of the holy anchorite who by giving up this world achieves a better world is true cleantg. The very houses seem asleep And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Paradox (literature) – Wikipedia

Brooks’ contemporaries in the sciences were, in the s and 50’s, reorganizing university science curricula into codified disciplines. Its death is life. In particular, the New Critical techniques were found to be very effective with such forms as lyric poetry but not with genres like the novel, which are heavily invested in cultural, social, historical and moral readings.

An Anthology2nd Ed. The reasons why it rose to almost hegemonic proportions are yhe and many. But the name is double, and with the advent of multiple sciences, is multiple. In the last stanza, the phoenix metaphor is completely realized; the lovers will win a more intense world by rejecting this one.

Paradox (literature)

In addition to the theme, the New Paradoox also looked for paradox, ambiguity, irony, and tension to help establish the single best and most unified interpretation of the text. The underlying paradox is striking; the innocent girl, with her unconscious sympathy for all of nature, worships more deeply than the self conscious poet whose devotion is momentary and sporadic.

Log In Sign Up. But the poet can call it neither one nor two: The intense world is actively achieved and not received passively: It is clear that this person considers love as a silly affectation. Donne takes neither love nor sainthood seriously, but merely exercises his wit with a cynical and bawdy lyric.

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

In his reading of Wordsworth’s poem, “Composed upon Westminster Bridge”Brooks contends that the poem offers paradox not in its details, but in the situation the speaker creates. The figure of the phoenix is very significant in understanding the final paradox. This revivifies the metaphor and makes clear the sense in which the poet accepts it. Remember me on this computer. Coleridge in his classic description of its nature and power employs a series of paradoxes: Help Center Find new research papers in: Brooks and the New Critics also argued that there was in existence a finite number of good texts a canon.


Second, the high point of influence for the movement was during the Second World War and the Cold War.

In “The Formalist Critics,” Brooks offers “some articles of faith” to which he subscribes. He argues that because their love is not mundane, the lovers can afford to reject the world.

He represents the secular world the lovers have renounced. He contends that these several meanings are impossible to convey at the right depth and emotion in any language but that of paradox. The phoenix comes in a natural stream of association. William Wordsworth is a poet who distrusts sophistry and relies greatly on simplicity. Yet, a typical Wordsworth poem is based upon a paradoxical situation.

Such an approach would necessarily displace literature from its place in history and sever any ties it has with culture, society and religion, and also prevent morally biased readings. Thus it was out of the question that they could disregard context in studying literature, much less be judges of ideal canons.

The unworldly lovers are thus the worldliest of all. Irony functions as a presence in the text — the overriding context of the surrounding words that make up the poem. This makes the continual tilting of the planes an immediate languag. The practical friend will still have wars to fight and lawsuits to argue. The poet is filled with worship, but the girl who walks with him is not.