Frank Delaney on Book Bloggers and the state of Literary Criticism‏

The following is part of a Tribune interview with Frank Delaney (author of several books including one that I reviewed, Venetia Kelly's Travelling Show. You can read the complete interview on the Tribune's website.

Tribune: How strong is the pulse of literary fiction, criticism and serious examination of literature in the 21st century? Who are today's shining literary lights?

Frank Delaney: "Great question! People have been saying for generations, “Oh, the novel is dead.” Well, it ain't – nor is that wonderful American invention, creative nonfiction, nor is biography, nor is political writing. And as well as the books, the commentariat is alive and well.

In fact, there's an argument to be made that it's healthier than ever, because we now have this wonderful new creature, the Literary Blogger. I'm a massive fan of this gorgeous animal, with all its fur and feathers – for a number of reasons. My main complaint about the general direction of literary criticism over the last century has been – and Joyce is a case in point – that it tended, in its lofty tone and often impenetrable language (not to mention occasional vendetta behavior), to be antidemocratic, to keep certain areas of literature to itself, whereas my own passion is for as many people as possible to be reading as widely as possible.

The Literary Bloggers have no axes to grind, they're not protecting their reputations, they don't fear being sneered at by other critics, they're reading what they want to read, writing what they want to write, and they don't want to keep what they enjoy to themselves. They want to share. They want to expand the constituency of reading. They want to hail and applaud good writing. To my mind this is a very significant development – uneven, I grant, here and there, but, dammit, not as uneven as the generations of formal literary critics, and the blogging intention is so good and so worthy of loud vocal support that you can call it truly a new and, to my mind, incomparably welcome development in the world of reading and writing."


Biblibio on March 19, 2012 at 5:08 PM said...

Thank you for sharing this wonderful quote! Delaney makes an excellent case for book blogs and blogger literary criticism as a whole - I'm glad to have read this.

Staci on March 19, 2012 at 9:24 PM said...

I agree!! Awesome post and he's so right about book bloggers!

Tina on March 20, 2012 at 1:34 AM said...

There have been so many times when I questioned whether I was "qualified" to review a book, or whether it really made any difference to the world if I read or commented on some work - old or new. Frank Delaney just made my day, and so did you for hosting such a positive and empowering interview.

Mrs Q Book Addict on March 20, 2012 at 9:18 AM said...

Great post! It's great to read that bloggers are appreciated.


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