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Cleanth Brooks collection

Identifier: SCU-RBSC-1998-1

This collection documents the life and work of Cleanth Brooks (1906 - 1994) considered to be one of the most influential scholars on William Faulkner, and a preeminent critic on Southern Literature. He changed the way poetry was taught, arguing for ambiguity and paradox as central concepts. Brooks helped to create formalist criticism and the principals of close reading. He founded the journal The Southern Review with Robert Penn Warren. Brooks’ best-known works include The Well-Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (1947) and Modern Poetry and Tradition (1939). Cleanth Brooks’ works are academic. He focused his efforts on teaching others and discussing literature, rather than publishing autobiographical material. This was echoed by his repeated emphasis on structural and textual analysis, close reading, rather than a historical or biographical approach. From his works, New Criticism and its tenets of text analysis were formed. The movement was met with mixed reactions from other critics, however, it had enough impact on the study of literature to still be used or studied by modern-day critics. This collection is a mixed materials collection. It contains biographical information such as newspaper articles and honorary degrees. The manuscript material within this collection is diverse and even includes a rough draft of what was either to be a book or an article. It also contains correspondence, journals, articles, financial and legal information, photographs, awards, and framed materials.


  • 1930-1994


Access Restrictions

Open to research.

Publication Rights

All rights reside with the creator. For permission to reproduce or publish please contact Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections


6 boxes


Gift, 1998

Repository Details

Part of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Repository

Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library
1322 Greene Street
Columbia SC 29208 USA
(803) 777-3847

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