A+Critic_s+Manifesto_+The+Intersection+of+Expertise+and+Taste+_+The+New+Yorker

A+Critic_s+Manifesto_+The+Intersection+of+Expertise+and+Taste+_+The+New+Yorker

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
10/23/13 A Critic's Manifesto: The Intersection of Expertise and Taste : The New Yorker www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/08/a-critics-manifesto.html?printable=true&currentPage=all 1/7 « Book News: Bill Clinton’s Blurbs, Chicken Noodle Soup For The Soul Main Book News: Loving the Apocalypse, Mapping Linguistics » August 28, 2012 A Critic’s Manifesto Posted by Daniel Mendelsohn Print More Share Close Reddit Linked In Email In the nineteen­seventies, when I was a teen­ager and had fantasies of growing up to be a writer, I didn’t dream of being a novelist or a poet. I wanted to be a critic. I thought criticism was exciting, and I found critics admirable. This was because I learned from them. Every week a copy of The New Yorker would arrive at our house on Long Island, wrapped in a brown wrapper upon which the (I thought) disingenuously modest label NEWSPAPER was printed, and I would hijack the issue before my dad came home from work in order to continue an education that was, then, more important to me than the one I was getting in school. I learned. I learned about music, particularly opera, from the fantastically detailed reviews by Andrew Porter, the music critic—mini­essays so encyclopedic in their grasp of this or that composer’s oeuvre, so detailed in their descriptions of the libretto and score of the work in question, from Mozart to (a great favorite of his, I distinctly recall) Michael Tippett, that the review could be half over before he got around to talking about the performance under review. But this was the point: by the time he described what he’d seen on stage, you—the reader—had the background necessary to appreciate (or deprecate) the performance as he had described it. I learned about other things. Thanks to Helen Vendler, who in those days regularly contributed long and searching essays about contemporary poets and their work, I began to think about poetry, its aims and methods; and perceived, too, that good poetry ought to be able to withstand the kind of rigor that she brought to her discussion of it. (In those high­school days, we thought that poetry was pretty much anything about “feelings.”) I was fascinated to see, too, that what I then thought of as less exalted forms of entertainment could be subject to the same erudite and penetrating discussions. Although there was only a tiny chance, in 1975, that I was going to spend an
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
10/23/13 A Critic's Manifesto: The Intersection of Expertise and Taste : The New Yorker www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/08/a-critics-manifesto.html?printable=true&currentPage=all 2/7 evening at the Algonquin or Carlyle, I always read Whitney Balliett’s review of cabaret performances—of people singing the kind of music my dad liked to listen to on the car radio as he drove me to my weekly guitar lessons, the red bar of the car radio display unwaveringly loyal to Jonathan Schwartz’s Frank Sinatra show. My parents’ music, the
Image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern