Monday, November 08, 2004

Lit Critics Old and New

The reason I have so much scorn for Sven Birkerts, an embedded establishment critic, is not just because he lacks independent thought, but because what he does is so much of the past.

Birkerts writes Old Style criticism. He constructs massively dull essays lacking provocation, wit, or reason for interest about dull intellectual authors; the essays not aimed at the public (they'd need a translator) but at other Old Style literary critics; literary high priests in long robes who can smile wisely at his words, put a hand on them and signal they're officially Approved-- then run into the john with a copy of Hustler or Boys Life, depending upon preference. It's a charade; a hoax.

When Birkerts has enough long and dull essays he'll collect them into a book, which will be shelved with pages uncut at the university library to gather dust-- there just in case future generations wonder if we had any literary criticism in our day. Fifty years from now they can go to the same university library, see Birkerts's book, untouched, and say, "Yep, there it is!"

The New Style of lit criticism is what you'll find on this blog.

1 comment:

Adam Hardin said...

Check out WWW.Foetry.Com

This web site exposes the machinations behind poetry contests often in the form of teachers awarding prizes to former students or colleagues.