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Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


An apparently self-contradictory statement which, on examination, reveals an important truth, as when Donne writes of love that “to enter in these bonds is to be free” and Wordsworth that “The Child is father of the Man.” Paradox has been a strong element in Western literature from its beginnings, but was an especially common device in early seventeenth-century “metaphysical” P oetry , and thus, like I rony and A mbiguity , it became a central term for N ew Criticism , whose theories were based on an attempt to use the metaphysicals as a model for all good poetry. Cleanth B rooks went so far as to argue that “paradox is the language appropriate and inevitable to poetry.” See also A mbiguity ; B rooks , C leanth ; I rony ; N ew C riticism . 1947 (1968) : The Well-Wrought Urn . ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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