The Function of Criticism at the Present Time

Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site


The essay engages with creative-critical practices as a subject and through its own method. It begins with three authors who influenced Hampson's thinking in the 1970s: Charles Olson, Walter Benjamin, and Roland Barthes. It then considers how they fed into the development of an urban poetics that produced Seaport. It considers this urban poetics as having its basis in a long-poem tradition that had its roots in classical epic; the epic as a poem containing history; the compressed urban epic of James Joyce and W.C. Williams; the surrealist writing of the city; the lessons of collage and montage; fragmentation and fractured syntax; the use of found materials, chance and procedures. Editorial and critical work (historical formalism) on Joseph Conrad is used to emphasise the need for scholarly rigour. The essay concludes with attention to work by Allen Fisher, Jena Osman and Redell Olsen to exemplify practice as research - and as instances of curiosity-driven research.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputOnline
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2021


  • creative critical
  • Henry James
  • Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Charles Olson
  • Herman Melville
  • Roland Barthes
  • Walter Benjamin
  • the urban epic
  • urban poetics
  • Lee Harwood
  • Allen Fisher
  • Jena Osman
  • Redell Olsen
  • Joseph Conrad
  • historical formalism
  • Practice-based Research
  • Practice as research
  • curiosity-driven research

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