Bringing together essays that span the career of I.A. Richards-as both literary critic and pedagogue-this collection provides a much-needed re-introduction to a thinker whose works have been largely neglected of late. Carefully chosen, edited, and annotated, the selections make accessible a wide array of Richards's ideas on language and learning, focusing on his discussion of literacy, his critique of positivist linguistics, his explorations of C.S. Peirce's semiotics, and his theory of translation, which led not only to his well-known analysis of the structure and foundation of metaphor but to one of the earliest and most cogent formulations of reader-response theory. Berthoff's editing eliminates the distracting elements of Richards's style-the digressions and obscure allusions that have often hindered readers, and have in part contributed to the neglect his work has met with in recent years-while identifying and illuminating the chief principles of his critical thought and practice.
Organized in four parts-Practical Criticism, The Philosophy of Rhetoric, The Meaning of Meaning, and Design for Escape-the book offers a lucid introduction to Richards's writings, with valuable headnotes to each section and a unique index of "speculative instruments" that examines the principal ideas Richards thought with. Readers are certain to find this volume essential to an understanding of Richards's "practical criticism," and invaluable in sharpening and re-directing their own thoughts on current linguistic practice, literary criticism, and educational theory.show more