William Empson

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William Empson
NationalityUnited Kingdom
Literary critic and poet

Empson, William,

1906–84, English critic and poet. His Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), a study of the meanings of poetry, is a classic of modern literary criticism. It was followed by Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) and The Structure of Complex Words (1951). In Milton's God (1961) Empson engaged in a vehement attack on Puritanism. His works also includes two posthumously published essay collections, Using Biography and Essays on Renaissance Literature (1994). His poetry—Poems (1935) and The Gathering Storm (1940)—was noted for its wit and metaphysical conceits. A collected edition of his verse appeared in 1955, and his Complete Poems was published in 2001. Empson was knighted in 1979.


See biography by J. Haffenden (2 vol., 2005–6); J. Haffenden, ed., Selected Letters of William Empson (2006); studies by J. H. Wills (1969), R. Gill (1974), C. Norns (1978), and C. Norris and N. Mapp, ed. (1993).

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References in periodicals archive ?
The group included Jennings, Kathleen Raine and William Empson, all of whom had been close friends of Trevelyan at Cambridge.
Note: Title/first line by William Empson SIMONE MUENCH is the author of several books including Wolf Centos
Unlike Haffenden's previous work on the letters of William Empson, however, there is no selection here.
His discussion of William Empson, for example, focuses on his verse rather than his better-known critical works; he argues that while the latter also "participate in the search for a position outside the decades ideological frontlines," they "often gloss over the difficulties and perplexities which are so perceptively recorded in his poetry" (72).
The most important single work of British literary analysis in the twentieth century is William Empson's Seven Types of Ambiguity.
If this technique sounds like one of the seven types of ambiguity systematized by William Empson, that's because Martin deconstructs even as she affirms the "MODERN [FRAME]." Martin takes Empson's taxonomy, along with Melvin B.
William Empson's work of criticism, Shirley Jackson's short story, and Elliot Perlman's novel.
79, in note 67, William Empson is identified as a "twentieth-century literary"--presumably "critic" was accidentally dropped.
Others as different in their approaches as Leo Spitzer, William Empson, C.
Leonard boldly suggests that Lord Monboddo's work on Milton, in particular his defense of the poet's "unnatural" syntax in Paradise Lost, makes him the "best close reader of Milton between Thomas Newton in 1749 and William Empson in 1935" (24).
They look at the contributions of British critics William Empson (1906-1984), Wilson Knight (1897-1985), and Claire Barber (U.