Chasing The Tail

June 28th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We’re not sure what criticism of literary criticsm is called (but we are sure we haven’t had sufficient caffeine to indulge in research). Or if it’s even socially acceptable. One senses the discussion, without careful management, could degrade to the literary equivalent of a barroom brawl (Google Bill O’Reilly versus Jack Mathews for another look at this type of fight). Which, as Daniel Mendelsohn suggests, is one of the reactions Dale Peck seeks by writing deliberately provocative reviews. Mendelsohn’s analysis of Peck’s books, from the title to Peck’s own limitations as a fiction writer, confirm our long-held beliefs about this particular type of writing: the book being reviewed merely serves as a launching pad for another writer’s flight of imagination. We recommend reading Mendelsohn’s article for its illumination of critiquing literature — and ability to reduce reviews to “one man’s opinion.” We’re sure we’ll be updating this entry later today once we have time to read more learned opinions on this matter.

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