Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press

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When they call to tell you they're interested in doing a profile, you can always say no. The Times magazine doesn't do writers all that often any more, but the formula has always been the same, from peeking into David Foster Wallace's medicine chest to suggesting that Don DeLillo is weirdly private because he insists on meeting his interviewer (I think it was Vince Passaro) in a coffee shop. With women you can routinely expect to read about how good (or bad) they look, how motherly (or how distant) they are, or were. It's a mug's game.


I agree with Chris. I think this is a systemic issue. I can't say I've ever written for a major daily paper, but if I did and subitted an author profile without a fair deal character description, I think they'd give it back to me. There seems to be a bias toward delving into the author's private life, probably because this sells better than delving too much into their fiction.


In Australia authors' lives are gazetted every weekend in the major dailies, it is a problem of epidemic proportions. One paper even has a horrible little column on "what I have on my bedside table.." by all the just published and not so famous. Like none of us know what to read in bed?? Beastly bloody stuff.


Well, that's why they invented the New Criticism. Pity our blighted age, deprive of all art and thought by our quasi-critics, temple prostitutes for the cult of celebrity.

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