Conversations with History: Institute of International Studies, UC Berkeley

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Criticism and the Empirical Attitude: Conversation with Frederick Crews, Professor Emeritus of English, UC Berkeley; 8/24/99 by Harry Kreisler.

This interview is part of the Institute's "Conversations with History" series, and uses Internet technology to share with the public Berkeley's distinction as a global forum for ideas.

Welcome to a Conversation with History. I'm Harry Kreisler of the Institute of International Studies. Our guest today is Frederick Crews, who is Professor Emeritus of English and former Chair of the English Department at the University of California at Berkeley. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His twelve books include Skeptical Engagements; The Critics Bear It Away: American Fiction and the Academy (nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award); The Memory Wars: Freud's Legacy in Dispute; Unauthorized Freud; and The Random House Handbook for writers, which is in its sixth edition.

  1. Background ... influence of parents ... books... mentors ... education ... Nietzsche and Dostoyevski
  2. Professor and Critic ... at Berkeley ... becoming a liberal ... academic theories and reality ... why we read ... the example of Melville ... the skills of a literary critics ... rationality
  3. Dissent in the Academy ... assault on the empirical ... economic forces ... rejecting Freud ... other critiques of Freud ... Freud the charlatan ... stifling dissent ... comparison with Marx ... prerequisites for dissent
  4. Great Writers and Distinguished Writing ... standing out from contemporaries ... the case of Faulkner ... discovering a writer's uniqueness ... responsibility of the critic
  5. Learning to Write ... the joy of teaching freshmen ... excitement and challenge of not knowing ... journey of the writer
  6. Lessons Learned ... the practice of reason ... decline of the humanities

Also of interest: Photo gallery of Crews and his grandchildren (photos courtesy of Frederick Crews).

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