This study has a double focus: in the first place, it seeks to chart the parallel re-evaluation of both formalism and psychology in twentieth-century literary theory by using the work and career of the French literary critic, Charles Mauron (1899-1966) as a scaffolding. Using a structure of biography and literary history, it investigates Mauron's rather odd position, both inside and outside two different critical contexts, the French and the English, a position that makes his work a particularly revealing reflection of the diverse critical trends and tensions of our age. The second focus of this study is suggested in the tension in Mauron's work created by his need to objectivise the subjective. The recent conflicts between continental and British criticism or, more generally, between the new formalism (represented by structuralism and semiotics) and the liberal humanist tradition raise an important contemporary issue prefigured in Mauron. The broader context of his work is that of the eternal theoretical debate regarding the designation of literary criticism as an objective or a subjective activity, as a science or as the ultimate human and humane act.