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Essays in Criticism


bateson journal criticism’ critical

a quarterly journal founded by F. W. Bateson in 1951, which continues to be published from Keble College, Oxford. Early issues contained articles by numerous noted critics of varying persuasions, including W. H. Auden, T. S. Eliot, Kingsley Amis, Raymond Williams, Donald Davie, John Middleton Murry, Frank Kermode, and Hugh Kenner. In his ‘The Function of Criticism’ (1953) Bateson reasoned in favour of a critical approach that combined the explicatory precision of the New Criticism with attention to socio-cultural context. The first of Bateson's ‘Editorial Commentaries’, which ran from 1953 to 1956, defended the journal against allegations that it lacked the binding purpose that had characterized Scrutiny in its earlier years; the limitations of F. R. Leavis's critical practice were subsequently discussed by Fr Martin Jarrett-Kerr, prompting a reply from Leavis in ‘The State of Criticism’ in 1954. Robert Graves, George Steiner, Edwin Morgan, William Empson, C. S. Lewis, and Geoffrey Hill were among the contributors who sustained the journal's combination of work by established commentators and stimulating younger authors. From 1954 onward poetry was occasionally featured, work from members of the Movement appearing repeatedly. In 1974, when Bateson retired to the position of advisory editor, joint editorship was undertaken by Stephen Wall and Christopher Ricks.

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