William Empson was one of the most important poet-critics of the twentieth century, and continues to influence and inspire writers from many divergent critical traditions. Following on recent scholarly developments, this timely collection of essays provides a fully-rounded examination of Empson's life, work, inheritance, and influence. This is the first volume of critical essays on Empson to be published in over a decade, and the first to consider the full range of his work, studying his poetry alongside his criticism in order to reassess the scale of his achievement. It also includes the first publication of a substantial interview with Empson in 1970, in which he looks back over his career and discusses the composition and reception of his work. The collection examines Empson's oeuvre from a variety of angles - aesthetic, philosophical, psychological, linguistic, scientific, socio-political, religious, and sexual - and features essays from an outstanding line-up of emerging and established scholars.
Some Versions of Empson demonstrates the poet-critic's continuing importance for literary and cultural criticism, and sets the agenda for studies of his work in the twenty-first century.
Introduction: Empson in the Round ; Argufying and the Generation Gap ; Empson, Piaget, and Child Logic in Wartime ; C. Hatakeyama and W. E. ; Empson and the Gifts of China ; Coleridge, Christ, and Contradiction in Empson ; Empson's God ; Alice and Ulysses's Bough: Nonsense in Empson ; Empson's Tact ; Hermeneutic Circling: Empson, Rosemund Tuve, and the "Wimsatt Law" ; The Machinery of a Rich and Full Response: Empson as Philosopher-Critic ; Monogamy and the Next Step? Empson and the Future of Love in Einstein's Universe ; Empson's Pregnancy ; An Interview with Willam Empson, with annotations by John Haffenden