- Empson, Sir William
born Sept. 27, 1906, Hawdon, Yorkshire, Eng.died April 15, 1984, LondonBritish poet and critic.He studied at Cambridge and later taught in Japan and China. His precocious Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), which suggests that uncertainty or overlap of meanings in the use of a word can be an enrichment of poetry rather than a fault, had an immense influence on 20th-century criticism; its close examination of poetic texts helped lay the foundation for New Criticism. Later works include Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) and The Structure of Complex Words (1951).
* * *▪ British critic and poetborn Sept. 27, 1906, Hawdon, Yorkshire, Eng.died April 15, 1984, LondonEnglish critic and poet known for his immense influence on 20th-century literary criticism and for his rational, metaphysical poetry.Empson was educated at Winchester College and at Magdalene College, Cambridge. He earned degrees in mathematics and in English literature, which he studied under I.A. Richards. His first poems were published during this time. Several of the verses published in Empson's Poems (1935) also were written while he was an undergraduate and reflect his knowledge of the sciences and technology, which he used as metaphors in his largely pessimistic assessment of the human lot. Much influenced by John Donne, the poems are personal, politically unconcerned (despite the preoccupation with politics in the 1930s), elliptical, and difficult, even though he provided some explanatory notes. Later collections of his poetry included The Gathering Storm (1940) and Collected Poems (1949; rev. ed. 1955).Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930; rev. ed. 1953), one of the most influential critical works of the first half of the 20th century, was essentially a close examination of poetic texts. Empson's special contribution in this work was his suggestion that uncertainty or the overlap of meanings in the use of a word could be an enrichment of poetry rather than a fault, and his book abounds with examples. The book helped lay the foundation for the influential critical school known as the New Criticism, although Empson never allied himself with the New Critics' attempts to disregard authorial intention. Empson applied his critical method to somewhat longer texts in Some Versions of Pastoral (1935) and further elaborated it in The Structure of Complex Words (1951), where he added attention to social, political, and psychological concerns to his primarily linguistic focus.From 1931 to 1934 Empson taught English literature at the University of Tokyo, and he subsequently joined the English faculty of Peking National University in China. He was Chinese editor at the British Broadcasting Corporation during World War II and returned to teach at Peking National University from 1947 to 1952. Empson was professor of English literature at Sheffield University from 1953, becoming emeritus in 1971. He was knighted in 1979.Empson's later criticism includes many uncollected essays and one book, Milton's God (1961), in which his extreme rationalism is directed against a positive valuation of the Christian God. This later body of writing concerns itself with biography and textual criticism as well as with issues of interpretation and literary theory more generally.Additional ReadingCritical studies of Empson's work include Roma Gill (ed.), William Empson: The Man and His Work (1974); and John Constable (ed.), Critical Essays on William Empson (1993).
* * *
Look at other dictionaries:
Empson, Sir William — (27 sep. 1906, Hawdon, Yorkshire, Inglaterra–15 abr. 1984, Londres). Poeta y crítico británico. Estudió en Cambridge y después fue docente en Japón y China. Su obra precoz Seven Types of Ambiguity [Siete tipos de ambigüedad] (1930), en la cual… … Enciclopedia Universal
Empson, Sir William — (1906 1984) Born at Yokefleet Hall, Howden, Yorkshire, son of an Army officer, he was educated at Winchester College and studied mathematics and English at Magdalene College, Cambridge. His first book, Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930),… … British and Irish poets
William Empson — Sir William Empson (27 de septiembre, 1906 15 de abril, 1984) fue un crítico literario y poeta Inglés. Repetidas veces ha sido elogiado como el mayor crítico literario Inglés después de Samuel Johnson y William Hazlitt. Jonathan Bate ha afirmado… … Wikipedia Español
sir — /serr/, n. 1. a respectful or formal term of address used to a man: No, sir. 2. (cap.) the distinctive title of a knight or baronet: Sir Walter Scott. 3. (cap.) a title of respect for some notable personage of ancient times: Sir Pandarus of Troy … Universalium
William — /wil yeuhm/, n. 1. a word formerly used in communications to represent the letter W. 2. a male given name: from Germanic words meaning will and helmet. * * * (as used in expressions) Huddie William Ledbetter Aberhart William George William… … Universalium
sir — (Voz inglesa.) ► sustantivo masculino Tratamiento honorífico empleado por los británicos. * * * sir (ingl.; pronunc. [ser]) m. *Tratamiento de respeto usado en Inglaterra delante de un nombre de hombre o para dirigirse a la persona de que se… … Enciclopedia Universal
William — (as used in expressions) William Alexander Abbott Aberhart, William George William Russell Amis, Sir Kingsley (William) Ashley, William Henry Ashton, Sir Frederick (William Mallandaine) Barkley, Alben W(illiam) Bartram, William William Allen… … Enciclopedia Universal
William Empson — Sir William Empson (27 September 1906 – 15 April 1984) was an English literary critic and poet.He is sometimes praised as the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson and William Hazlitt, and widely influential for his practice of… … Wikipedia
William Goodenough Hayter — Sir William Goodenough Hayter KCMG (1 August 1906 – 28 March 1995) was a British diplomat, Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1957, later Warden of New College, Oxford, and author.Early lifeBorn at Oxford, Hayter was the son of Sir… … Wikipedia
Empson — [ empsn], Sir (seit 1979) William, englischer Lyriker und Literaturkritiker, * Yokefleet Hall (bei Kingston upon Hull) 27. 9. 1906, ✝ London 15. 4. 1984; ab 1953 Professor in Sheffield. Seine Arbeiten über die Mehrdeutigkeit der Dichtersprache… … Universal-Lexikon