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The Fields of Light: An Experiment in Critical Readingby Reuben Brower
Synopses & Reviews
From a short lyric to a complex novel, follow Reuben Brower's lead through the attentive reader's fields of light.
In this classic study, Harvard professor Reuben Brower guides the reader from noticing the alluring details of a well-made poem, novel, or play to attending to the encompassing ways in which the writing achieves its greatness.
Part One: THE DISCOVERY OF DESIGN
I. The Speaking Voice (Dramatic Design)
II. The Aura Around a Bright Clear Centre (Design in Imagery)
III. Saying One Thing and Meaning Another (Design in Metaphor and Irony)
IV. The Figure of Sound (Design in Sound)
V. The Sinewie Thread (Key Designs)
Part Two: IN LARGE LETTERS
VI. The Mirror of Analogy 'The Tempest'
VII. Something Central Which Permeated: Virginia Woolf and 'Mrs. Dalloway'
VIII. The Groves of Eden: Design in a Satire by Pope
IX. Light and Bright and Sparkling: Irony and Fiction in 'Pride and Prejudice'
X. The Twilight of the Double Vision: Symbol and Irony in 'A Passage to India'
XI. The Flower of Light: Integrity of Imagination
"Not only does Brower begin his book with a lyric, but he deliberately chooses a very short one indeed, as if to show how much can be said about the smallest of poetic 'figures' looked at closely. The poem is 'The Sick Rose,' one of William Blake's best-known songs of experience Brower's task is to show how the poem is 'imaginatively organized,' by which he means that, to read it, we must sense the 'extraordinary interconnectedness among a relatively large number of different items of experience.'" From the Foreword by William H. Pritchard
Reuben Arthur Brower (1908–1975) was a professor of classics and English at Amherst College before he moved to Harvard University, where he became Cabot Professor of English. He is perhaps best (and most fondly) remembered for a course he created at Harvard, Humanites 6: Interpretation of Literature, known familiarly to students as "Hum 6."
Like an open garden gate, The Fields of Light beckons the reader to savor the enchanting pleasures of attentive reading
The Fields of Light offers an experiment in exploring the imaginative structure of a particular poem, play, or novel, as the surest and most rewarding way to reach a fuller understanding of literature. Close studies of The Tempest, Mrs. Dalloway, and A Passage to India lead the reader to an appreciation of great writing.
About the Author
Reuben Arthur Brower: Reuben Arthur Brower (19081975) was Professor of English at Harvard University and the author of numerous books.
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