Tag Archives: Literary criticism

‘Tis Aw a Muddle…or Is It?

I’ve been trying for a while to find a conceptual framework that will unify the various reading and writing activities I’ve been doing. The immediate, pragmatic motivation for bringing things into some kind of order is that it’s about time I applied for some research grant money to support those activities (and by “support,” I […]

"Ruined by the Academics": More on the Decline of Criticism

At The Guardian, John Sutherland adds to the chorus of lamentations about the death of literary criticism: The UK has always had the world’s liveliest and most expansive lit-crit pages. A new book over here can hope for reviews in a dozen or more places in its first couple of weeks. It’s not just the […]

The Death of the Critic, Reprise

Bill Benzon kindly pointed out this Salon piece to me: Louis Bayard: The signs are ominous, Laura. Book reviews are closing shop or drastically scaling back inventory. Film critics at newspapers all over America are getting tossed on their ears. TV reviewers are heard no more in the land. All the indicators suggest that America’s […]

Blogging, Criticism, Reviewing

A recent discussion at The Reading Experience raises questions related to some I have raised before here and have been thinking about a lot again as I try to imagine how best to direct the energy I have put into blogging–issues such as whether ‘litblogging’ is at its best when used as a form of […]

James Wood, How Fiction Works

(Cross-posted to The Valve. Thank you to the regular Valve folks for the invitation to do some guest posting!) The dust jacket describes How Fiction Works as Wood’s “first full-length book of criticism.” Anyone led by this blurb to expect sustained analysis supported by extensive research and illustration will be disappointed, as in fact How […]

Francine Prose, Reading Like a Writer

This book has a simple premise–that the best way for aspiring writers to learn their craft is to read (closely, attentively, alertly, appreciatively) the work of other novelists. Prose proceeds to elaborate on what she sees as the pedagogical benefit of close reading by moving through a sequence of chapters addressing specific aspects of novel-writing, […]

Criticism as ‘Coduction’

I have remarked a couple of times that Wayne Booth‘s idea of ‘coduction’ seems to me to capture something important about the way thoughtful literary criticism unfolds. I was reminded of this yet again reading Dan Green’s lastest posting on the ethics of book reviewing, in which he proposes that any review that aspires to […]

More on the Purpose of Criticism

Some time ago I posted some thoughts on Cynthia Ozick’s Harper’s essay “Literary Entrails” (see “Academic Criticism Criticized”). Belatedly, I notice that there was a good posting in response to it at Scott Esposito’s Conversational Reading which concludes that “Ozick’s better criticism . . . would add another reason to read, a further way to […]

Blogging Reservations

Today’s New York Sun includes a short piece by Adam Kirsh on The Scorn of the Literary Blog. Kirsh is mostly writing about the much-noted rivalry between “professional” reviewers and literary bloggers, in the context of the also much-noted decline of book sections in print journalism. I don’t have much to say about these broader […]

The Occasion for Blogging

There has been a lot of public discussion recently about blogs in the context of the decline of book sections and book reviews in newspapers; much of it has consisted of attacks on literary blogs from more traditional writers and sources and defensive responses from bloggers (see, for instance, this response on The Reading Experience […]

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