Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Who Do You Think You Are?

James Pollock interviews himself on the nature of literary criticism:
Does the critic have an ethical responsibility?
The critic must be honest. He must say what he thinks. He must ignore the poet’s reputation, her relationship to himself or his friends, the prizes and honours she has won, her status in the literary establishment, not to mention his own career advancement, and anything else that threatens to dissuade him, and tell the truth about the poems. He has a responsibility to his readers, to the poet, to his self-respect, to the field of criticism and the art of poetry, to be an honest judge. Otherwise, he deceives his readers and the poet both, corrupts himself, and damages criticism and poetry within publishing range of his words. It is no trivial transgression. If he hasn’t the courage to be honest he should give up now before anyone else gets hurt.
(Illustration 'Two Heads" by Pierre Piech.)

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