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The Use of Poetry and Use of Criticism: Studies in the Relation of Criticism to Poetry in England

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The 1932-33 Norton Lectures are among the best and most important of Eliot's critical writings. Tracing the rise of literary self-consciousness from the Elizabethan period to his own day, Eliot does not simply examine the relation of criticism to poetry, but invites us to "start with the supposition that we do not know what poetry is, or what it does or ought to do, or of what use it is; and try to find out, in examining the relation of poetry to criticism, what the use of both of them is."

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