Shelf Life, Literary Essays and Reviews

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In this collection of essays and reviews, William H. Pritchard focuses on the work of English and American writers, most of them from the twentieth century. At a time when English studies in the academy seems increasingly impelled by historical and political concerns, Pritchard’s aim is to reinstate the aesthetic as the major motive for literary study. Indeed “study” may be the wrong word for it, as the poet Philip Larkin made forcefully evident when he once snapped at an interviewer, “Oh, for Christ’s sake one doesn’t study poets. You read them and think, that’s marvelous, how is it done, could I do it?”

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