Monday, October 22, 2012

More Mendelsohn...

...Bookforum talks with Daniel Mendelsohn
If you could only "like" things the world would just look like Facebook. It’s puerile, it’s ridiculous. But then so is the whole negative/positive divide in the first place. Probably 99% of reviews should be mixed reviews, because no book is perfect. This is the pernicious inheritance of Amazon; the rankings, the thumbs up, thumbs down. That’s not what criticism is. It’s not intellectually useful, it’s a consumerist approach: should I buy it or should I not buy it? Well, I don’t give a fuck if you buy it or not. If you don’t read Aeschylus I guarantee you it’s not gonna hurt Aeschylus; it’s certainly not why I’m talking to you about Aeschylus.
He has a point there but I am not sure I like the way he is making it. The debate over what constitutes literary fiction versus genre fiction is an old one, but to categorically state that one cares two hoots about public opinion indicates a certain hubris about one's role as a critic and the public's intelligence. 

1 comment:

  1. The public's intelligence is not what all those well-calculated political ads these days are betting on.