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A realm without literary critics

the.believer's picture

 I imagine a realm without critics would be a place where there is only room for self-realization and improvement. Without others' critique, we rely on our own judgement and because everyone's judgement and story-telling is different, we would have tales with no connections to any others. There would be no such ideas of common themes, literary techniques and such. Each novel would only be thought of as the author's explicit intentions for the piece mixed with each audience's personal interpretations. 

One job of a critic is to find the common grounds among various literary pieces and analyze the techniques used by the authors. I would imagine a book to be an onion in which the first few layers would be the details  and characters of the story line. After peeling back each layer, I would see the plot and character development. Further in at its core, I would see the general theme/message of the story. The outer layers represent the individuality of each literary piece and the core represents the common theme among various works. The critic analyzes each novel and reports on the uniqueness of the story (use of different literary tools) as well as the similarities between previous works. The critic is the voice that ties together the literary world.




 Because everyone's story is different, If everyone were to read the same book, everyone would retell adn interpret the story differently.


Cremisi's picture

 Something my ESEM teacher

 Something my ESEM teacher always used to say was, "we are all standing on the shoulders of authors, poets, and revolutionists; their actions have helped build the very foundation upon which we stand" Aren't we all critics, in a way? We decided which songs we like, which colors to wear, which books to quote and re-quote. Though we may not write lengthy manuscripts lauding the complex character structure in a book (well, some of us may) but each and every individual has cast aside something because "they couldn't get into it" or "didn't like the style". It may not be as eloquent as critics' critiques, but isnt it serving the same purpose? Every single person, like a  critic, is deciding which parts of media is the most satisfying..the most tasty. Which parts are to be kept, remembered, and focused on.   I think, perhaps without even knowing it, literary and science is in a constant rate of turnover. Some ideas are kept, others are not.

There is a strong hurricane that quickly picks up the discarded tales and carries the "remembered ones" on to be accessed by future peoples. Occasionally, this can sweep away good ideas. Arthur Boettcher found a small, curved bacterium which he linked to the causation of ulcer in humans. However, Ulcers, at that time, had just successfully started to be treated with antibiotics. While dealing with a patient with an ulcer, a young doctor was told to simply use Aureomycin to cure peptic ulcers. It worked very well. So well, in fact, that the cause of ulcers wasn't really discussed much after that. It seems like rather important research--that is, linking ulcers to a specific bacteria--but because the end product, (a near complete remedy to ulcers) was much more dramatic, bacteria being a cause of ulcers was wiped out--it was mainly replaced by "stress" or "smoking" in medical textbooks. However, obviously, we know about it today. We know about it because someone must have thought it important enough to once again find this information and bring it back. Our roles as critics are always active--we decide what is important, and then, the idea stays around. Though the bacterium causing the ulcers is incredibly important and helpful to know, no one really spoke of it so it drifted to the wayside. We NEED critics to make some kind of hoopla about an idea or event..if there was no one there to shout out a praise or warning, it seems as though the idea might fizzle away into the atmosphere--perhaps only stumbled upon in some other time and place. 



For this post, I found information in the 2000 book, "Plague Time" by Paul Ewald

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