Friday, 21 June 2013

The Negative Accentuates The Positive

Declaring the American literary world a place where "consensus is considered normal and controversy is confusing," Clive James mourns the good hatchet job:
There was a time when the American literary world grew its own hatchet persons, and could rejoice in the thoroughness with which Mary McCarthy dismembered the reputation of Lillian Hellman. But among young writers, there seems a shortage of critics unhampered by excessive good manners. Why this should be so is a bit of a mystery. It could be that the typical established publication has become too impressed with its own self-imposed status as a journal of record, which must confine itself to the facts; and that a complex, nuanced statement sounds not enough like a fact, and hence must be confined to the blogs, where nobody has any manners anyway.

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