The Personal Heresy: A Controversy

In his brilliant essay on The Personal Heresy in Criticism C.S Lewis attacked the widely held belief that poetry is, or should be, the expression of the poet s personality His attempt to supplant this assumption with an objective or impersonal theory of poetry was challenged by Dr E M W Tillyard whose interpretation of Paradise Lost he had called in question SoIn his brilliant essay on The Personal Heresy in Criticism C.S Lewis attacked the widely held belief that poetry is, or should be, the expression of the poet s personality His attempt to supplant this assumption with an objective or impersonal theory of poetry was challenged by Dr E M W Tillyard whose interpretation of Paradise Lost he had called in question So began a courteous but searching series of exchanges between two of the most learned and original scholar critics of the day This controversy sheds invaluable light on a problem as complex as it is central to the understanding and appreciation of poetry.
The Personal Heresy A Controversy In his brilliant essay on The Personal Heresy in Criticism C S Lewis attacked the widely held belief that poetry is or should be the expression of the poet s personality His attempt to supplant this

  • Title: The Personal Heresy: A Controversy
  • Author: C.S. Lewis Eustace Mandeville Wetenhall Tillyard
  • ISBN: 9781881848103
  • Page: 487
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 1 thought on “The Personal Heresy: A Controversy”

    1. I really enjoyed this debate between C.S. Lewis and E.M.W. Tillyard, even when both of them were way over my head. I don't mind tagging obscure writers who are obscure because they are blowing smoke, but here you have the feeling that two brilliant scholars are talking about something three stories up. There were times when I felt like a frog starting at the Mona Lisa, and making heavy weather of it. But I enjoyed all of it.

    2. The Personal Heresy is a debate between C.S. Lewis and E.M.W. Tillyard over (to put it very simply) to what extent criticism should attempt to discern the personality of a writer, and to what extent a writer’s works reveal that personality. I felt like both authors were in substantial agreement on most points, and that the main difference in their argument is that Lewis was trying to (presciently) prevent abuses that result from “the personal heresy” while Tillyard was trying to defend a m [...]

    3. I really enjoyed reading the first few essays, but I felt that the clear lines of argument got blurred in the latter essays so that I was left with a hazy idea of the significance of the controversy.

    4. After starting it on 3 different occasions, I finally finished it. this is not long or hard but heady and best read in one or two sittings to get the most out of it. I'm fairly certain I agree with Lewis, but that Tillyard's views have conquered our society as a whole. As a musician, I couldn't help but apply this to song lyrics and realized the personal heresy has captured pop musicians and listeners so that a song is not fully appreciate unless we know the authors intent and that we can know a [...]

    5. A probe into what is poetry, and thus art. Went over my head sometimes, not only because of cultural references I lack. Hope to read it again when I am better read.

    6. Lewis, people. As always, brilliant. I love his point that not only is the artist's work an extension of himself, it is also an impartial view of the world.

    7. This book is a debate between two great 20th century scholars of English Literature, C. S. Lewis and E. M. W. Tillyard, conducted in the form of a series of essays on the subject of what Lewis dubbed "The Personal Heresy." Simply put, this is the assertion that literary criticism (and by extension the criticism of other arts, although they are not deeply addressed) should aim at a contact with the personality of the writer (or artist), and that the corpus of a writer's works, taken as a whole, m [...]

    8. I found this to be an informative and profound exposition about the nature of poetry by two brilliant scholars. I think that Lewis demonstrated the more powerful dialectic and Tilyard the greater sensitivity. One could see this as the old debate between Classicism (Lewis) and Romanticism (Tilyard). I don't think that either scholar cold be considered a "winner"; they present their approaches with equal conviction and skill. There are certain Features which make this book quite remarkable. Perhap [...]

    9. A bit dense for a topic that seems so much simpler, but Lewis and Tillyard should be read by anybody who engages in controversy, both for the intellectual sharpness coupled with willingness to retract what is mistaken, as well as for the charity the two show on what could easily turn into a debate of roused passions. Also, Lewis' fundamental outward focus comes through again.

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