“Criticism will always have the force of the child in the story about the emperor’s new clothes, because there will always be naked emperors who everybody says are wearing today’s Crown Jewels.” — Eric Bentley
Hot on the heels of critic Sven Birkerts’s lament last week in the Boston Globe’s Ideas section that the blogosphere threatens shared literary culture comes Globe book critic Gail Caldwell’s moan that “the scribes and priests no longer hold the keys to the holy word; the word itself has splintered into an infinite series of […]
The genuine divide is between those critics who see reviewing as an end in itself and those who see it as a means towards marketing or career boosting.
More evidence bean counters will be picking the classics of the future: two novels by Ayn Rand – the unhinged saint of unbridled capitalism – have been reissued as Penguin Modern Classics.
Bloggers are concerned about the fate of book reviews, so raising questions about the quality of book commentary online, especially asking how it can become better, is worth the effort. But any discussion about the future of reviews must be based in reality rather in wishful thinking or defensive delusion. By Bill Marx In an […]
By Bill Marx Book reviewing is at a crossroads. Major newspapers and magazines are cutting column inches devoted to the evaluation of books, while blogs and book review sites online raise issues of ethical standards and quality control. Where should those who believe in the survival of book criticism expend their time and energy? Can […]
By Bill Marx Criticism of the fine arts is dying in regional newspapers, but don’t waste too much time mourning the loss. Arts blogger and Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout’s recent article on how arts criticism is vanishing in regional newspapers hits the nail on the head, though he is either too considerate […]
By Bill Marx A major Italian novelist with a worldwide reputation, Alberto Moravia, would have been 100 this year, but even in his homeland the parties are halfhearted. We should be breaking out the champagne and discovering this still subversive realist. The excellent Literary Saloon recently sent me to an article in Il velino that […]
By Bill Marx Al Alvarez’s new book of essays provides an opportunity to also strongly recommend his first collection of literary commentary and reviews, 1969’s Beyond All This Fiddle, one of the most invigorating collections of cultural commentary from that period. The latest issue of the TLS features an irritatingly short review of Risky Business, […]
By Bill Marx Fiction in translation deserves all the notice it can get, but it doesn’t do anyone any good to patronize writers and readers by duplicating the happy talk that is turning people off of blurb-ridden book reviews in the mainstream media. My friend Chad Post, formerly at Dalkey Archive Press, has begun a […]