Wyatt's 'There was never nothing more me payned': a reply to John Douglas Boyd
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As far as Wyatt's poem is concerned, I think Boyd's critical problems are largely of his own making. This does not necessarily invalidate his claim that a critic, in interpreting a literary work, may seize on one interpretation rather than another because of his own personal background. However, I would at all times argue that such a critic's interpretation is academically legitimate only if it is supported by textual evidence; secondly, that if the text supports another interpretation the first critic's view of it is only an incomplete truth; thirdly, that the literary critic can only appeal to the text and such 'objective' background (i.e. not the experience of a single reader) as may help to explain the text, and that the study of 'fundamental moral, psychological, even ontological judgments derived from our experience outside the poem' lies outside our province.
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