Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press
Critical Essays, Reviews
Literature, Literary History, Literary Study

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Don’t mystery and power—even “inchoate” mystery and power--remain in a work of art even after the critic unlocks “the mechanics of creation”? To quote the late Charles Causley on the subject of poems, “Poems are not clocks. If we dismantle them, they may give no reason at all why they tick, nor should they. For it’s a fact of their existence that all genuine works of art should keep some of their secrets in order that they may go on giving out what the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca called sonidos negros—black sounds. These black sounds, he said, and said rightly, accompany all imaginative creations whether in words or paint, music or stone.”

Dan Green

"Don’t mystery and power—even “inchoate” mystery and power--remain in a work of art even after the critic unlocks “the mechanics of creation”?"

Indeed they do. I only maintain that the critic's job has ended once he/she has unlocked the mechanics of creation. Presumably Epstein thinks the critic can go on and say something else. I don't know what that might be beyond "boy, that sure is mysterious." Or else he thinks criticism doesn't have much of a role at all.

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