Originally published in 1921 this volume consists of the first of Croce’s literary criticisms to be published in English and as well as a section on Shakespeare, it contains unique essays on Ariosto and Corneille which together inaugurated a new era in literary criticism. The essays are based on Croce’s Theory of Aesthetic - a theory which to many is the only one that completely explains the problem of poetry and the fine arts - and as a result are profound and suggestive.
Part 1: Ludovico Ariosto 1. A Critical Problem 2. The Life of the Affections in Ariosto, and the Heart of His Heart 3. The Highest Love: Harmony 4. The Material for the Harmony 5. The Realisation of Harmony 6. Historical Disassociations Part 2: William Shakespeare 7. The Practical Personality 8. Shakespearean Sentiment 9. Motives and Development of Shakespeare’s Poetry 10. The Art of Shakespeare 11. Shakespearean Criticism 12. Shakespeare and Ourselves Part 3: Pierre Corneille 13. Criticism of the Criticism 14. The Ideal of Corneille 15. The Mechanism of the Cornelian Tragedy 16. The Poetry of Corneille