Forms of Attention

Frank Kermode


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The University of Chicago Press
1 September 2011
ISBN: 9780226431758
112 pages

From the publisher

Sir Frank Kermode, the British scholar, teacher, and author, was an inspired critic. "Forms of Attention" is based on a series of three lectures he gave on canon formation, or how we choose what art to value. The opening essay, on Botticelli, traces the artist's sudden popularity in the nineteenth century for reasons that have more to do with poetry than painting. In the second essay, Kermode reads Hamlet from a very modern angle, offering a useful (and playful) perspective for a contemporary audience. The final essay is a defense of literary criticism as a process and conversation that, while often conflating knowledge with opinion, keeps us reading great art and working with - and for - literature.