One might think that his emphasis on commentary makes Epstein’s talents relatively mundane and ordinary. That is not so, and a moment’s reflection suggests the reason. To rise above the mere status of reviewer to become a memorably skilled and accomplished commentator on an art or a discipline, one must have an excellent style and the added attributes of cultivation, background, and judgment. Since these are highly unusual qualities, it necessarily follows that good critics must be uncommon. To say something bold and original when there is no requirement that the remarks be true, well-reasoned, well-informed, or substantive is hardly effortless, but comparatively less difficult. It is easier to be John Rawls than John Ruskin.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
… Joseph Epstein: The Perfect Critic | Intercollegiate Studies Institute: Educating for Liberty. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)