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December 01, 2012


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"If this is the best level of analysis the pro-critic can manage, no wonder they're being left behind." Hear, hear.

The paragraph you quote sounds bitter and angry: just like online comment at its worst. This supposedly intelligent critic resorts to the noun "shit" twice in the space of a single line. Perhaps, in his opinion, when someone on the street uses such language he is "a wastrel" but when used by the right sort critic it is a mark of intellectual freedom?

It is frustrating to see these same generalizations about bloggers being trotted out again and again. I really wonder how many blogs the people who write these screeds have even read? Because as we both know the blogosphere is a widely varying place, and there's lots of great, erudite criticism to be had there. But even if there weren't, the opinions of so-called "common readers" do matter. If you can read, you have a right to express an opinion about what you read. The fact that the blogging allows anyone with an internet connection and a little time to do that is one of the best things about it.

Thanks for your support David! I agree it sounds incredibly bitter.

Exactly Teresa. 1. The common reader matters regardless of their qualifications, and 2. the most successful bloggers tend to be pretty well qualified anyway being mainly arts graduates in the book trade, libraries or education, and dismisisng such reviewers as purveyors of "shit" is utterly crass!

It is interesting that many younger academics blog as well. I am sure this opinion will die out - eventually!

I just don't think this is anything to worry about at all. For the most part, we book bloggers are not trying to be literary critics. We are readers; we are fans. We do not keep our blogs for the critics--we keep them for ourselves and for people in the book blogging community. He has his opinion, yes, and he's even entitled to it, but it's a bit like some master chef bothering to complain about what I cook in my own kitchen. He's not interested in my cooking, and I am not interested in his opinion of it! ;)

Eh. Novels were pretty scandalous once upon a time, too. I believe those were also supposed to destroy all humanity.

Oh my! I just went off and read his whole article, which is quite self-contradictory itself ("James can do no wrong... but here are reasons he is wrong") - and how absurd to lump together every single person who writes on the internet (a group in which he now must count himself.) As though a tweet and a Facebook comment and a blog review were necessarily the same! Oh, he is bitter. He has some interesting and valid questions to raise, but he buries them in vitriol and stubborn stupidity.

Thanks for visiting Priscilla and Mabel. I agree to a point Priscilla, but I think the critic that ignores all bloggers en mass is a fool. It is not quite the same as cooking at home - we do blog in public.

Simon - I agree totally, there are valid points in there but as you say buried in the vitriol. The irony is, is that the much vaunted advantage of writing for the old fashioned press is that you have an editor who reigns in excesses. That does not seem to have helped here!

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