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Showing posts from May 12, 2013

heart vs. character

Lawrence Lipking is one of those few academic literary critics who one can read for enjoyment. I’ve been thinking lately about an essay he wrote a decade ago on literary criticism and chess. I commented upon it in LI at the time, and I just returned to it. It is still a well wrought thing.  Lipking writes a lot about chess, since he is a grand master as well as a surviving   member of what used to be the upper echelon of the lit crit establishment. The essay, Chess Minds and Critical Moves, mixes the field of literary criticism and chess, using Lipking’s own experience in playing William Wimsatt as an example. “Nevertheless, a great gulf separated the two of us: he was a problemist, I was a player. The distinction between these habits of mind is so fundamental that, like yin and yang, it can be used to divide the whole intellectual world into contrary pairs -- for example, Plato the problemist and Aristotle the player, or Being and Becoming. The problemist seeks perfection of