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Paper Topic:

Compare and contrast of literary criticisms of James Russell Lowell and Edgar Allen Poe.

Jordan 1 Compare and Contrast Literary Criticisms of James Russell Lowell and Edgar Allen Poe

There is a good reason why the authors of the American Renaissance period are still remembered fondly to this day while some of the more popular authors of only ten years past have long since been forgotten The reason that these American authors of the 19th century are so revered is that their work was unique and visionary and holds up quite well today as the literary achievements these authors successfully produced still have a profound

impact on the English language

Such is the case with James Russell Lowell and Edgar Allen Poe , two of the more famous authors of this time period who were known for their innovative poetry and hard hitting satire . While some may argue that their works are still revered today because there is a traditionalist mindset afoot that enjoys old literature merely because it is old , those who investigate the bodies of work of these two authors will notice that there is quite a bit of tremendous style and flare present that is complimented by a sense of style that betrays an intelligent underpinning to the popularity of the writings

In addition to being talented authors , both Poe and Lowell spent a significant amount of time writing criticism and analysis of other authors . There were marked differences in their style of criticism , as Poe was more down to earth , but Lowell a more intellectual approach

The style of Poe 's literary criticism can be viewed in the following excerpt from The Poetic Principle

Jordan 2

In speaking of the Poetic Principle , I have no design to be either thorough or profound . While discussing , very much at random , the essentiality of what we call Poetry , my principal purpose will be to cite for consideration , some few of those minor English or American poems which best suit my own taste , or which , upon my own fancy , have left the most definite impression (Poe 1

With these words , Poe essentially establishes the tone of how he approaches literary criticism . Poe 's language is very similar to Mark Twain 's in the sense that Poe does not seek to present himself as an intellectual (although his writing style betrays the fact that he is a deep thinker ) Poe basically states that he will approach criticism of works that were works that he found highly influential on him as a writer as well as those works that provided a great deal of enjoyment for him as a reader . He then seeks to describe his feelings as opposed to presenting some deep , quasi-scientific approach to literary criticism that would fall under the category of profound

Contrast these concepts with that of Lowell in his criticism of Wordsworth

TAKE from Wordsworth all which an honest criticism cannot but allow , and what is left will show how truly great he was . He had no humor , no dramatic power , and his temperament was of that dry and juiceless...

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