Latest Issue

Are literary judgments subjective?

It is fairly obvious that "King Lear" is a better play than "Timon of Athens"

By Oliver Conolly  

The first page of William Shakespeare's King Lear, printed by Thomas Cotes in the Second Folio of 1632 ©Folger Library Digital Image Collection

TS Eliot said that the function of literary criticism is “the common pursuit of true judgment.” In other words, literary criticism is all about telling you whether a work is good or bad, and why. This classic statement of the traditional conception of literary criticism has fallen out of fashion,…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect