There are a number of ways to take this book. One could regard it as a work trying to be definitive or magisterial. After all, it is called “Theory of the Lyric,” not “A Theory of” or “Some Notes toward a Theory of.” And at almost four hundred pages, it is a significant tome. It argues with and attempts to displace various approaches to lyric poetry that it deems inadequate or misleading, and argues for its own approach (or “theory”). But this way of seeing the book may itself be misleading. The book may in fact be more modest and charming than its title suggests. It is perhaps best seen as a lover’s journal. Like Robert von Hallberg (2008) in Lyric Powers, Culler wants to explain—to himself as well as to others—the special powers and pleasures of lyric...
A Lover’s Journal
Richard Strier is Frank L. Sulzberger Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in English at the University of Chicago; his most recent book, The Unrepentant Renaissance from Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton (2011), won the Warren-Brooks Prize for Literary Criticism. He is currently working on Donne and on Shakespeare.
Richard Strier; A Lover’s Journal. Modern Language Quarterly 1 March 2017; 78 (1): 107–120. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-3699796
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