Literary Criticism

Excellence in Scholarship and Learning


The Bookman

William Troy on Literature and Criticism, 1927–1950

James R. Russo is an independent researcher who holds graduate degrees from Louisiana State University and the University of Richmond. He has taught at those schools as well as Tulane. Russo’s primary scholarly interests are the cinema and comparative literature.

William Troy (1903–1961) was a highly regarded literary critic during the 1930s and 1940s. Among his contemporaries, he ranked with Edmund Wilson, Kenneth Burke, and F. O. Matthiessen. Indeed, in the preface to the posthumous, 1968 publication of his Selected Essays, which won a National Book Award, Allen Tate placed Troy “among the handful of the best critics of this century.”

Troy’s criticism was informed by an intelligence so balanced that, where many theoreticians took up positions in logical traps, he easily avoided them. At the very moment when scholars and critics were either treating literature like polemics or investigating ideas as if belles-lettres were a sub-category of history or philosophy, Troy acknowledged both the centrality of literary ideas and their distinction from ideas in other forms. When confronted with a text, he analyzed it with a firm sense of its inherent meaning and of its cultural implications, in a style that expresses seriousness of commitment precisely and clearly.

The Bookman presents a selection of Troy's remaining writings on such major literary figures as Henry James, E. E. Cummings, Ernest Hemingway, Edith Wharton, F. Scott Fitzgerald, T. S. Eliot, André Gide, William Faulkner, James Joyce, Albert Camus, Jean Cocteau, Willa Cather, W. H. Auden, Virginia Woolf, and Émile Zola. Troy produced a body of work that is timeless, permanent, and exemplary—perhaps as much as, if not more so than, the work of such other critical contemporaries of his as the Anglo-Americans Yvor Winters, I. A. Richards, William Empson, George Jean Nathan, and R. P. Blackmur.

Published in conjunction with Film Nation: William Troy on the Cinema, 1933– 1935 (ISBN 978-1-78976-173-3), The Bookman is clear evidence of Troy’s role as one of the foremost critics of his age. Inclusion of a substantive index makes the work an essential and accessible gateway to a wide range of literary criticism.

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78976-172-6
Paperback Price: £25.00 / $34.95
Release Date: November 2021
Page Extent / Format: 240 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No






Reviews & Reports


1. White Lightning (1927)

Hippolytus Temporizes, by H.D.


2. Crisis in the Novel (1927)


3. Gusto and Literature (1928)


4. Comedy of Time (1928)

Orlando: A Biography, by Virginia Woolf


5. The Position of Liam O'Flaherty (1929)


6. The Story of the Little Magazines (1930-32)


7. Proof Positive (1930)

The Proof, by Yvor Winters


8. Nathan's Testament (1931)

Testament of a Critic, by George Jean Nathan


9. Symbolism as a Generating Force in Contemporary Literature (1931)

Axel's Castle, by Edmund Wilson


10. Henry James and Young Writers (1931)


11. Rimbaud, 'The 'Literaturicide' (1931)

A Season in Hell: The Life of Arthur Rimbaud, by Jean-Marie Carré


12. The New Intellectual (1932)


13. Cummings' Non-Land of Un- (1933)

Eimi, by E. E. Cummings


14. Fragmentary Ends (1933)

Death in the Woods, by Sherwood Anderson


15. Newer Novelist (1933)

Miss Lonelyhearts, by Nathanael West


16. Bundles of Fragments

The Best Short Stories of 1933, edited by Edward J. O'Brien

Twentieth-Century Short Stories, edited by Sylvia Chatfield Bates


17. Literary Trapezist (1933)

Orphée, by Jean Cocteau


18. Hemingway's Opium (1933)

Winner Take Nothing, by Ernest Hemingway


19. Sean O'Faolain (1934)

A Nest of Simple Folk, by Sean O'Faolain


20. Studs Lonigan's World (1934)

The Young Manhood of Studs Lonigan, by James T. Farrell


21. T. S. Eliot, Grand Inquisitor (1934)

After Strange Gods: A Primer of Modern Heresy, by T. S. Eliot


22. The Worm i' the Bud (1934)

Tender Is the Night, by F. Scott Fitzgerald


23. Flower of Manhattan (1934)

A Backward Glance, by Edith Wharton


24. The Conversion of André Gide (1934)


25. Romains's Progress (1934)

The Proud and the Meek, by Jules Romains


26. Priapus in Georgia (1935)

Journeyman, by Erskine Caldwell


27. New Country (1935)

Collected Poems, 1929-1933, by C. Day-Lewis

Vienna: A Poem, by Stephen Spender

Cry of Time, by Hazel Hall


28. And Tomorrow (1935)

Pylon, by William Faulkner


29. Portrait of an Age (1935)

Judgment Day, by James T. Farrell


30. Radix Malorum (1935)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, by B. Traven


31. Footprints in Cement (1935)

Lucy Gayheart, by Willa Cather


32. A Matter of Quality (1935)

Flowering Judas and Other Stories, by Katherine Anne Porter


33. The Critic's Job (1935)

The Double Agent: Essays in Craft and Elucidation, by R. P. Blackmur


34. On Being Contemporary (1936)


35. The Comic View (1936)

Bones of Contention and Other Stories, by Frank O'Connor


36. Huxley Agonistes (1936)

Eyeless in Gaza, by Aldous Huxley


37. Aragon's Novel of Pre-War Europe (1936)

The Bells of Basel, by Louis Aragon


38. New Rhetoric for Old (1936)

The Philosophy of Rhetoric, by I. A. Richards


39. The Poetry of Doom (1936)

Absalom, Absalom!, by William Faulkner


40. Two Small Books (1937)

The Sacrilege of Alan Kent, by Erskine Caldwell

Three Times Three, by William Saroyan


41. Revolution by Poetic Justice (1937)

On This Island, by W. H. Auden

Forward from Liberalism, by Stephen Spender


42. Gloried from Within (1937)

The Notebooks and Papers of Gerard Manley Hopkins, edited by Humphry House


43. The Symbolism of Zola (1937)

Germinal, by Émile Zola


44. Quintessence of Dust (1943)

Shakespeare and the Nature of Man, by Theodore Spencer


45. The New Parnassianism and Recent Poetry (1944)


46. Stephen Dedalus—in the Rough (1945)

Stephen Hero, by James Joyce


47. The Passion and the Task (1948)

The Notebooks of Henry James, edited by F. O. Matthiessen & Kenneth B. Murdock


48. The Rebirth of Allegory (1949)

The Plague, by Albert Camus

Caligula and Cross Purpose, by Albert Camus

The Blood of Others, by Simone de Beauvoir

Modern French Short Stories, edited by John Lehmann


49. Poetry and 'The Non-Euclidian Predicament' (1949)

Collected Poems of William Empson, by William Empson


50. Limits of the Intrinsic (1950)


Theory of Literature, by René Wellek & Austin Warren




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