Friday, October 25, 2019

Sic transit gloria mundi …

… The death of the great cultural critic. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Are reputations like sandcastles, all washed away sooner or later by the tides of fashion?
I doubt if many people remember who Van Wyck Brooks was. I think he was one of the best writers America has produced. I guess that's between me and Brooks now. But isn't that always the case.?Reading is an intimate encounter of writer and reader. The rest is mere celebrity.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I read New England Indian Summer and enjoyed it. I don't remember much of it now, probably at least 35 years later.

    Johnson's prefaces to the lives of the poets and to his edition of Shakespeare probably make up the earliest example of literary criticism per se that I have read. One could probably by the author's criteria count him as a great cultural critic. Clive James says that we should read Sainte-Beuve, pace the Goncourts, Proust, and Eliot, but I don't know whether anyone does. Matthew Arnold is in print, but I think that his stock has fallen since Trilling's day.

    An interesting question, though. Jarrell and Kenner shaped a good deal of my reading, and Auerbach some. What will their stock be in 2050 or 2100?