William Empson

Literary critic, Author

1906 – 1984

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Who was William Empson?

Sir William Empson was an English literary critic and poet, widely influential for his practice of closely reading literary works, a practice fundamental to New Criticism. His best-known work is his first, Seven Types of Ambiguity, published in 1930.

Jonathan Bate has said that the three greatest English literary critics of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries are Johnson, Hazlitt and Empson, "not least because they are the funniest."

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Born
Sep 27, 1906
Yorkshire
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Education
  • Magdalene College, Cambridge
  • Winchester College
  • University of Cambridge
Died
Apr 15, 1984

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

Citation

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