Friday, August 31, 2012

Knowledge + taste = meaningful judgment

The excellent Daniel Mendelsohn, sings his creed at Page-Turner on the job of a critic.  (The title for this post is his formula, not mine.)
I remember, too, something that Vendler wrote, years later, in a piece about a volume of Merrill’s work that was published after the poet’s death, at the relatively early age of sixty-eight—about how, now that Merrill was gone, he wouldn’t be around to show her how to grow old. I read this with astonishment. So this was what poetry was for: to show you how to live. As for Kael, the sheer extremity of her enthusiasms, the ornery stylistic over-seasoning, the grandiose swooping pronouncements, made it clear that there was something enormous at stake when you went to the local movie theatre.
A thoughtful, instructive, and balanced essay

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