Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Ralph M. Wardle


In “Archetype and Signature” Leslie Fiedler discusses the concepts created by I. A. Richards of “staying inside the poem,” and regarding the poem as an “essential experience.” He further defines Richards “new criticism” by giving it slogan—“a poem should not mean but be.” Ultimately, Fiedler finds both this approach of the work of art and Eliot’s “objective correlative” (a poem succeeds only insofar as it is detached from the subjectivity of its maker) wanting. He sees the poet's life as a “focusing glass” through which all aspects of his work must pass and feels that a sense of the life of the writer will raise the meaning of his work to a higher power. Fiedler concludes then, “It is impossible to draw a line between the work the poet rights and the work he lives, between the life he lives, and the life he writes… the agile critic, therefore must be prepared to move constantly back and forth between life and poem, not in a pointless circle, but in a meaningful spiraling towards the absolute point.”


A Thesis Presented to the Department of English and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1972 Barbara Schmitz.

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