A wee while ago Dan Green, annoyed that "[l]iterary criticism is in a sorry state these days", provided a list of books "that would educate anyone who picked them up about literary forms, style, history, predominant themes." The list is an excellent one and runs:

Richard Poirier A World Elsewhere: The Place of Style in American Literature
Northrop Frye Anatomy of Criticism
Wayne Booth The Rhetoric of Fiction
Ian Watt The Rise of the Novel
Richard Chase The American Novel and Its Tradition
Eric Auerbach Mimesis
Cleanth Brooks The Well-Wrought Urn
William Empson 7 Types of Ambiguity
Leo Marx The Machine in the Garden
Tony Tanner City of Words: American Fiction 1950-1970

Steve, agreeing with Dan that contemporary literary criticism has been "superseded by gossip and what passes for literary 'news'", responded with this following list of inspiring gems:

Maurice Blanchot The Space of Literature
Walter Benjamin Illuminations
Jorge Luis Borges The Total Library
Teodolina Barolini The Undivine Comedy
Paul Celan Collected Prose
Gabriel Josipovici On Trust
Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe Poetry as Experience
Christopher Ricks Beckett's Dying Words
Michael Wood The Magician’s Doubts

I'm a big fan of Simon Critchley's Things Merely Are: Philosophy in the Poetry of Wallace Stevens and his Very Little ... Almost Nothing. What about you guys?

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