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Recent literary criticism and theory has not had much use for notions of literary genres, and the idea of the lyric has been thought particularly unnecessary.
Rejecting the distinction between theoretical and historical genres, Jonathan Culler defends the importance of notions of genre for literary study and, discussing poems by Horace, Goethe, Baudelaire, and Ashbery, argues for the importance of a capacious conception of lyric for understanding poems in their relation to the Western tradition.
Culler is the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature Chair, and chair of the Department of Romance Studies at Cornell. The event was sponsored by the School of Criticism and Theory.