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Colin Falck

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Colin Falck (14 July 1934 — 27 December 2020) was a British literary critic and poet. He was associate professor in modern literature at York College of Pennsylvania.

In 1962 Falck co-founded the influential postwar British poetry magazine The Review with Oxford University schoolmates Ian Hamilton, Michael Fried, and John Fuller. Falck's poetry would later appear in the first issue of Hamilton's magazine The New Review. In January 1985 he set up, and from that date acted as chair of, the Thurlow Road Poetry Workshop. Among the poets to have brought their work to the fortnightly (now monthly) meetings of the group are Hugo Williams, Jo Shapcott, Ruth Padel, Eva Salzman, Adam Thorpe, Michael Donaghy, Don Paterson, Jane Duran. Kate Clanchy, Greta Stoddart and Vicki Feaver.

His 1989 treatise Myth, Truth and Literature: Towards a True Postmodernism, attempted to re-think the entire foundation of Romantic art criticism since Kant. The first chapter is a sustained polemic against what Falck argued was the nihilism and ontological emptiness of post-modernism and post-structuralist literary theory. The next chapter offers, in opposition to Saussure, a theory of the origin of language based on onomatopoeia. One critic said:

He offers a Neo-Romantic, expressivist view influenced by Shelley. His view is not self-expressivist, however, since it denies the epistemological notion of a detached subject and situates the human being in the world in the manner of modern phenomenology...Art, for Falck, gives ontological truth.[1]

The book makes constant reference to Kant, Coleridge, Schiller, Shelley, Blake, Keats and Goethe.[2] Author Camille Paglia hailed the book as "reveal[ing] the future of literary criticism."[3]

Falck criticized W. H. Auden's didactic theory of poetry: "Responsible poetry therefore becomes a kind of war-time fruit-cake, with the raisins of escape thinly distributed in a daily bread of parable."[4]


  1. ^ Hazard Adams, The Offense of Poetry University of Washington Press ISBN 0-295-98759-6, ISBN 978-0-295-98759-0
  2. ^ Falck 1994, 203-208
  3. ^ Cambridge University Press
  4. ^ 266 Michael Hamburger, The Truth of Poetry: Tensions in Modern Poetry from Baudelaire to the 1960s Routledge, 1982 ISBN 0-416-34240-X, 9780416342406 [1]


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