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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In literature, the paradox is a literary device consisting of the anomalous juxtaposition of incongruous ideas for the sake of striking exposition or unexpected insight. It functions as a method of literary composition – and analysis bgooks which involves examining apparently contradictory statements and drawing conclusions either to reconcile them or to explain their presence.

Paradox (literature) – Wikipedia

Cleanth Brooks, an active member of the New Critical movement, outlines the use of reading poems through paradox as a method of critical interpretation. Paradox in poetry means that tension at fo surface of a verse can lead to apparent contradictions and hypocrisies.

In this essay “The Language of Paradox,”Cleanth Brooks pafadox how the languge of poetry is different from that of the sciences, claiming that he is interested in our seeing that the paradoxes spring from the very nature of the poet’s language: And I do not mean that the connotations are important as supplying some sort of frill or trimming, something external to the real matter in hand.

I mean that the poet does not use a notation at all–as a scientist may properly be said to do so.

Cleanth brooks paradox – WikiEducator

The poet, within limits, has to make up his language as he goes. In this passage, Brooks stresses that poetic language is inherently different from scientific language because the poet constructs his language as he goes and defines his own rules.


cleannth The poet, then, has control over language, and must take an active role in the shaping of what literature means.

The poet, then, is not limited to the denotations of words, but, instead, revel in the possible connotations of words. The individual poet is given a great deal of power, then, in the process of knowledge making and the reader is isolated from the production of meaning. In the writing of poems, paradox is used as a method by which unlikely comparisons can be ot and meaning can be extracted from poems both straightforward and enigmatic.

Though London is a man-made marvel, and in many respects in opposition to nature, the speaker does broooks view London as a mechanical and artificial landscape but as a landscape comprised entirely of nature. Since London was created by man, and man is a part of nature, London is thus too a part of nature. This seems to parody both love and religion, but in fact it laguage them, pairing unlikely circumstances and demonstrating their resulting complex meaning.

Paradox (literature)

Brooks c,eanth also to secondary paradoxes in the poem: He contends that these several languagf are impossible to convey at the right depth and emotion in any language but that of paradox. 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 reader, and by examining it as a self-sufficient artifact.

Although paradox and irony as New Critical tools for reading poetry are often conflated, they are independent poetical devices.


The bartender gives it to her. 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.

Paradox, however, is essential to the structure and being of the poem. In The Language of Paradox The Well Wrought Urn Lanugage shows that paradox was paradoz essential to poetic meaning that paradox was almost identical to poetry. This existence of opposites or contraries and the reconciliation thereof is poetry and the meaning of the poem.

For one, Brooks believes that the very structure of poetry is paradox, and ignores the other subtleties of imagination and power that poets bring to their poems. Also, by defining poetry as uniquely having a structure of paradox, Brooks ignores the power of paradox in everyday conversation and discourse, including scientific discourse, which Brooks claimed was opposed to poetry.

The argument for the centrality of paradox and irony becomes a reductio ad absurdum and is therefore void or at least ineffective for literary analysis. Irony Although paradox and irony as New Critical tools for reading poetry are often conflated, they are independent poetical devices. Retrieved from ” http: Navigation menu Personal tools Log in Request account.

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