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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

Denis Donoghue -- Nonfiction, Critic

Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin

Tape order number: V-3197

Visit Date: January 30, 1996

Brief Summary: Donoghue talks about his survival as one of the last "generalists," recognizing the trend towards specialization. He strongly defends his belief that the reading of texts must be predicated on the aesthetic versus the theoretical. He defines the aesthetic mode of attention as that "grand, all-encompassing mode that is alert to the possible totality of relations." In reference to his writing style, Donoghue talks about his motivation to write a memoir as a personal challenge to develop a voice that was different from the critical voice to which he was accustomed. He believes that his childhood in Ireland was, in fact, emblematic of the larger societal conflicts that plagued his country.

Work(s) Read:

  • Warrenpoint

Writers mentioned:

  • T. S. Eliot
  • Henry James
  • Allen Tate
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • W. B. Yeats
  • Shakespeare
  • John Barth
  • Herman Melville
  • Wallace Stevens
  • Thomas Wyatt
  • Jacques Derrida
  • Michel Foucault
  • Philip Larkin
  • Oscar Wilde
  • Nietsche
  • Robert Frost
  • D. H. Lawrence
  • Lawrence Ferlinghetti
  • Jack Kerouac
  • Schiller
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins

The aesthetic is much larger than the political or the moral or the social or the religious. The aesthetic reading is not a small thing. It is the largest possible thing.

-- Denis Donoghue

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