Thursday, July 06, 2006

Alfred Kazin on the Role of the Critic

Alfred Kazin on the role of the critic:

What I ask of a critic is that he usefully show the impact on his own consciousness of another's artistic power. If the critic cannot reveal to others the power of art in his own life, he cannot say anything useful or even humane in its interest. He will scrawl, however learnedly, arbitrary comments on the text.

From Alfred Kazin, “To Be a Critic” (1981) in Ted Solotaroff, ed., Alfred Kazin’s America: Critical and Personal Writings (2003).


Dorothy W. said...

I like this personal take -- or if it's not personal, exactly, then call it self-conscious, self-aware.

Todd said...

It is a nice idea that seems to me to keep a work open, making it organic. I borrowed it for my own blog.

litlove said...

This sounds like a really good way of avoiding the lapse into dismissiveness that can sometimes dog criticism. The power to disturb or unsettle or trouble is just as great as that to please and amaze.