literary criticism

8 Stories

Dear Critics: Be Critical Again

Nonstop praise makes us a 'zombie nation': Dwight Garner

(Newser) - It's a tough time for criticism, literary or otherwise: Though there is no shortage of opinions out there—just look at Twitter—book review sections are shrinking. While a first-time novelist could expect about 90 reviews in the 1950s, that number has shrunk to 20. But there's another... More »

Let's Celebrate Sex in Literature

Why the 'Bad Sex in Fiction Award' is a prudish disgrace

(Newser) - Every year the Literary Review of Britain hands out its Bad Sex in Fiction Award, and every year it draws loads of press and snarky giggles at the expense of big-name nominees (who have included Tom Wolfe, Norman Mailer, and, this year, Jonathan Franzen). Well, Laura Miller of Salon is... More »

Stop Picking On Harper Lee, Mockingbird

This is not a 'simple book'

(Newser) - To Kill a Mockingbird is 50 years old now, and it's fashionable these days for snooty critics to bash the novel as as simplistic and author Harper Lee as overrated, complains Jenna Sauers of Jezebel . (Here's an example from today's Wall Street Journal.) Lay off. This is not a... More »

Why 'Best of' Lists Are the Worst

The problem, says a critic: 'They're about yesterday's yearning'

(Newser) - Julia Keller is of two minds about year-end "best of" lists—which are even more numerous and annoying than usual in this, the final year of the decade. She admits to reading them, "and I further confess that I sometimes enjoy arguing silently with them." But "... More »

Post Folds Book Review Section to Cut Costs

Literature reviews will be shuffled into other sections of paper

(Newser) - The Washington Post will print Book World—its stand-alone Sunday section—for the last time Feb. 15 and shuffle its reviews into other newspaper sections to cut costs, the New York Times reports. Book World will remain intact online, run by a previously downsized staff. The closure comes amid a... More »

This Year's Bad-Sex Winners

Paulo Coehlo, John Updike make shortlist for Bad Sex in Fiction award

(Newser) - Ten authors have joined the distinguished ranks of such literary luminaries as Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe—as nominees for the annual Literary Review Bad Sex in Fiction award. The dubious honor singles out “otherwise sound literary” fiction that includes “unconvincing, perfunctory, embarrassing or redundant passages of a... More »

Critic John Leonard Dead at 69

Lung cancer claims Vonnegut's 'smartest man who ever lived'

(Newser) - Critic and author John Leonard died last night after a long battle with cancer. Leonard, whom Kurt Vonnegut once called "the smartest man who ever lived," was 69. A brilliant but not flashy stylist, an unapologetic liberal, and a mentor to countless younger writers, Leonard worked at various... More »

Porn Claim Riles Kafka Scholars

Experts have uneasy dreams about author's proclivities

(Newser) - Literary circles are in an uproar over a new biography of Franz Kafka that says the existentialist author had a penchant for porn, the Guardian reports. Kafka expert James Hawes, who says he unearthed some of the not-exactly-mainstream magazines the author enjoyed, makes the claim in a new book and... More »

8 Stories