Description's repertoire: the Journals of R.F. Langley

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This essay offers an extended reading of the poet R. F. Langley’s Journals, a volume gradually coming to be recognised as a major work in an English tradition of descriptive writing on art, architecture and natural history. Langley’s descriptive practice has additional significance today as description experiences something of a revival, conceived both as a form of what we might now call creative-critical writing and within an academy concerned variously with the possibility of a so-called ‘post-critical’ attitude. Following a brief sketch of this contemporary scene, the essay identifies a Langleyan repertoire of description in a series of modest turns on the rhetorical mode of ekphrasis and on the discourse that has accompanied description through the ages.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-63
Number of pages21
Issue number256
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018


  • Description
  • RF Langley
  • Ekphrasis
  • Contemporary Literature

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