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

« A Critic's Virtues | Main | Harold Bloom »

05/03/2006

Comments

Brendan Wolfe

Thanks for the response, Dan. If I were James Wood I might see myself as a critic whose most important task is "to describe and evaluate the various ways writers can exploit the possibilities of fiction and poetry." And perhaps if I were more talented than I am, I might worry about how a first novel's crappiness "illustrates an endemic problem the reviewer finds in first novels in general (or recent first novels, at least) . . ."

The truth of the matter is that I am very happy if I'm able to intelligently write about how the book in front of me works or doesn't work. I'm lucky if I can fit it into a larger conversation about books or about anything else. And I'm ecstatic if what I write is clean, clear, and even clever.

I just don't care if the book is deemed worthy of review.

Mostly, though, I think that we agree, especially on what makes for an ideal review.

Kevin Holtsberry

The truth of the matter is that I am very happy if I'm able to intelligently write about how the book in front of me works or doesn't work. I'm lucky if I can fit it into a larger conversation about books or about anything else. And I'm ecstatic if what I write is clean, clear, and even clever.
I second that! There is a difference I feel between a book critic and a book reviewer. When I write reviews it is to get my thoughts down, to give the reader a sense of what the book is, and to give them a few reasons why they may or may not enjoy and/or why it is important.

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