Conditions for Criticism studies changes in the practice of literary criticism in the nineteenth century and locates those changes within wider movements in British intellectual culture. The growth of knowledge and its subsequent institutionalization in universities produced new forms of intellectual authority. This book examines these processes in a wide variety of disciplines, including economics, historiography, sociology, psychology, and philosophical
aesthetics, and explores their impact upon literary criticism. Its thesis is that the work of late nineteenth-century writers such as Walter Pater and Oscar Wilde can be best understood in terms of their engagement with, and reaction to, these general intellectual changes, a view which in its turn reveals the
seriousness of their work.
`scholarly and authoritative'
Philip Cox, The Higher
`Small provides a study that is both scholarly and authoritative.'
Times Higher Education Supplement
'Conditions for Criticism is a refreshing and welcome book in that it provides a substantial historical context for late nineteenth-century critical writing.'
Sheila M. Smith, University of Nottingham, British Journal of Aesthetics, Vol. 32, 4/92
'excellent scholarly survey of changes in late nineteenth-century ideology'
Kenneth Millard, Merton College, Oxford, Notes and Queries, September 1992
'a significant contribution to the discussion of late Victorian criticism and culture ... short but important book'
Peter Faulkner, University of Exeter, MLR, 88.3, 1993
'Conditions for Criticism is a refreshing and enlightening work of literary and intellectual history which sets at least two of the leading Aesthetes in their proper context and thus advances considerably our understanding of their writings, in an argument conducted with compelling lucidity.'
Chris Baldick, Goldsmiths' College, London, Review of English Studies, Vol. 44, No. 176, Nov '93