All good criticism should be judged the way art is. You shouldn't read it the way you read history or science.
It's funny to be a critic.
My assignment is what every writer's assignment is: tell the truth of his own time.
Hemingway seems to be in a funny position. People nowadays can't identify with him closely as a member of their own generation, and he isn't yet historical.
I long for the raised voice, the howl of rage or love.
The text is merely one of the contexts of a piece of literature, its lexical or verbal one, no more or less important than the sociological, psychological, historical, anthropological or generic.
Unless criticism refuses to take itself quite so seriously or at least to permit its readers not to, it will inevitably continue to reflect the finicky canons of the genteel tradition and the depressing pieties of the Culture Religion of Modernism.
To be an American (unlike being English or French or whatever) is precisely to imagine a destiny rather than to inherit one; since we have always been, insofar as we are Americans at all, inhabitants of myth rather than history.
I have, I admit, a low tolerance for detached chronicling and cool analysis.
When I was 12 years old, someone took me to see Martha Graham. It was nothing like what I thought of as serious dancing and even then I knew I was having a great experience. It was as if somebody was moving through space like no one ever did before.
I think the pattern of my essays is, A funny thing happened to me on my way through Finnegans Wake.
Faulkner turned out to be a great teacher. When a student asked a question ineptly, he answered the question with what the student had really wanted to know.
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