Thursday, August 03, 2017

The Limits of Critique

I am feeling somewhat convicted after reading Michael West's appraisal of The Limits of Critique by Rita Felski. West's thoughts are short and to-the-point, so please read it for yourself. But here's a snippet that might suggest where I'm heading:
Felski shows that an exclusive commitment to critique can actually preclude recognition of one’s loves, of those things to which one is erotically attached (in the broadest sense of the term). “Why,” she asks, “are we so hyperarticulate about our adversaries and so excruciatingly tongue-tied about our loves?” 
[She] asks what might happen if we looked not “behind the text” but “in front of the text, reflecting on what it unfurls, calls forth, makes possible.” In doing so, she seeks to rehabilitate the validity and importance of what we might call “literary desire”: the force that drives you to reread your favorite book yet again; or to finish that work of genre fiction even when you know the ending; or to press a beloved book awkwardly into a distant acquaintance’s hands in hopes that she, too, will come to love what you love and might one day talk with you about it.
"Tongue-tied about our loves" -- hm.

Three years ago I bought the brand-new hardcover of Kem Nunn's latest novel, Chance. I read it, and I thought, Yeah, that's really good. That is really good! I pulled out a handful of passages that stuck to the ribs on the first go-through, scribbled a few tentative thoughts, read some of the other reviews, then finally thought, I'm not sure I've got what it takes to explain how I'm responding to this. [shrugs] Meh -- the reviews are good, that oughta be enough.

Yes, that is just the sort of prick I can be.

So consider this yet another promissory notice from Yours Truly. To be continued (and no, I won't be commenting on the Hulu show) . . .

Although I see no reason why I can't include a photo of co-star Gretchen Mol.

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