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Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism. Published by Cow Eye Press
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THE LITERARY SPHERE: TAKING CRITICISM ONLINE

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THE IDEA OF LITERATURE

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LITERARY AESTHETICS

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LITERATURE IN THE UNIVERSITY

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LET'S REVIEW: BOOK REVIEWING AS LITERARY CRITICISM

« The Burden of Criticality | Main | Discouraging to Writers »

09/18/2007

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Jonathan

Thanks for your comment about my blog.

Rohan Maitzen

Thanks for acknowledging that I am at least trying to do my homework! I don't think that I ever thought (or said) anything about blogs lending themselves to "strident voices," if only because, as you go on to say, I was surprisingly ignorant about blogs until recently, and once I started exploring them, it wasn't long before I found an array of them that offered very high quality analysis and debate. If anything, now I feel frustrated because there are too many such sources of ideas and mental stimulation to keep up with among the other reading and writing tasks I have.

Robert Nagle

Excellent wrapup. I thought Wasserman's piece had points to make, but I agree NYROB was not a great example to prove his point.

Re: the criticism about frenetic/too linky. It's easy to overlook how the constraints of weblog software determine the kind of content we produce (and give misimpressions about what we write). Many literary types begin with the intent to provide just literary content, and then end up dropping other content into their blogs because it's just so convenient. Take my blog as an example. I wouldn't call it primarily literary; it's a mixture of random observations, list of links, informal notetaking, political rants, links to photos and events I attended, and the occasional personal update. For a while I tried using multiple blogs for each category of content (at one point I was running 9 blogs simultaneously), but that became cumbersome; I ended up abandoning about half of them and just putting the content on my idiotprogrammer weblog. That means the artsy folks have to put up with my thoughts about python programming, and vice versa. tough noogies.

I don't write enough criticism to call myself a "critic", but I can crank out an interesting essay occasionally. Then again, would Richard Schickel be able to find them if he waded through my blog? Probably not. But RSS is making it easier to create separate channels for people's content. For example, in wordpress it's possible to create a separate RSS feed just for my "literary content" as opposed to "technical content." I guess I could assign a category tag to my more cerebral pieces as "criticism" and publicize the RSS URL.

Dan, you are singular among litblogs for being devoted almost totally on your blog about criticism. In a world of increasing specialization, I guess that's laudable, but is it necessary? (just look at jill.txt as an example of a distinguished literary critic throwing lots of random stuff into her "kitchen sink blog.") On the other hand, this gives an important role for webzines to play: as a way to compile the most interesting stuff from bloggers.

Daniel

Here here! Well said Dan. I couldn't agree more.

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