Wednesday, 18 August 2010

RIP Frank Kermode

It's difficult to get much work done, what with England wickets falling every twelve seconds. I do want to note Frank Kermode's passing though.

He was, until yesterday when he died at 90 years old, one of the most prominent and interesting British literary critics of the twentieth century. Never the most innovative personally, he was one of the very first to take continental literary criticism and theory seriously, introducing English speakers to deconstruction, psychoanalysis and post-structuralism at a time when British criticism seemed to be based on rudely rejecting any new ideas by Johnny Foreigner. His work was always thoughtful and he was a beautiful prose stylist.

He was also one of the last big generalists - while Shakespeare was his primary focus, he wrote on every period and genre of literature.

If a student asked me for a good starting point in literary criticism - which hasn't happened yet - I'd point them in Kermode's direction.

1 comment:

Zoot Horn said...

The Sense of an Ending is, ironically, a great place to start.