Tuesday, May 20, 2008

In praise of ...

... praise itself: Criticism's vocabulary of cruelty. (Hat tip, Rus Bowden.)

As one who wrote a weekly column whose purpose was to recommend a book for reading, I can attest that it is harder to write positive reviews. Negative reviews are a cinch. You have to really think and examine you feelings to explain why you have liked something. When you succeed, though, the result can have a life of its own. Here is J.B. Priestley writing of Gerard de Nerval:

"His best poetry, to be found in Les Chimères, has a classical concentration and density and yet is also mysteriously evocative in the manner of the later Symbolists. And his semi-autobiographical stories, in Les Filles du feu, especially Sylvie, have an extraordinary nostalgic charm, the green and gold of long-lost summers."

That last phrase says it all.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Especially since "Sylvie" derives from "sylvan," which suggests forests, which underscores "green and gold summers."