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The Teaching ArchiveA New History for Literary Study$
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Rachel Sagner Buurma and Laura Heffernan

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780226735948

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226736273.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 24 September 2021

I. A. Richards, Practical Criticism (1925), and Edith Rickert, Scientific Analysis of Style (1926)

I. A. Richards, Practical Criticism (1925), and Edith Rickert, Scientific Analysis of Style (1926)

(p.66) Chapter 3 I. A. Richards, Practical Criticism (1925), and Edith Rickert, Scientific Analysis of Style (1926)
The Teaching Archive

Rachel Sagner Buurma

Laura Heffernan

University of Chicago Press

Disciplinary historians have seen I. A. Richards’s Practical Criticism: A Study of Literary Judgment (1929) as foundational for modern pedagogy in English. This chapter turns instead to Richards’s teaching notebooks for the Practical Criticism courses he taught at the University of Cambridge to show how, in the classroom, Richards sought to enlist his students as fellow researchers rather than study subjects. Edith Rickert, another 1920s pedagogical experimenter, enlisted the students in her University of Chicago course Scientific Analysis of Style to help her invent the “new methods for the study of literature” that would appear in her 1927 book of that title. Both Rickert and Richards demanded from students not polished readings of literary works, but their cooperation in the process of gathering and organizing bits of data about the formal properties of texts and the interpretive decisions of readers. Like other classroom experimenters and organizers of literary laboratories in the 1920s, Richards and Rickert believed that their new methods would elevate the discernment of individual students, but only in the context of what Richards called “co-operative inquiry.” They believed that collective literary study was both a valuable social activity itself and an important tool for elevating individual judgment.

Keywords:   I. A. Richards, Edith Rickert, close reading, literary judgment, distant reading, experiment, pedagogy, laboratory, Practical Criticism, University of Cambridge

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