Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Welcome to All Literary Book Blog Hoppers Feb 9 to Feb 12

I am always glad to see the Literary Book Blog Hop-sometimes I admit I feel out of place in a world of YA books, vampire romances and ARC reviews.   It is good to meet other people with interests beyond these.

When I started my blog nearly two and a half years ago, I planned to focus on books about people who lead at least partially reading centered lives.   This is still a core focus of my blog but in reality I post on a variety of topics including Japanese literature, post colonial Asia fiction, classics, and lately I have been very into short stories.  My  blog is the home of Irish Short Story Week II (set for March 2012).   I like to discover new to me authors and I am open to joint projects and events.

I will be glad to follow back all who follow me.   If you visit leave a comment so I can return the visit.

Every week the hop host provides us with an interesting question.   Here is this weeks question:

In the epilogue for Fargo Rock CityChuck Klosterman writes:
"It's always been my theory that criticism is really just veiled autobiography; whenever someone writes about a piece of art, they're really just writing about themselves."
Do you agree? 

My quick answer to this is "No I do not'.   I think this line of thinking comes from a confused way of going from the fact that we experience the literary work with our own perceptions as shaped by our life history to saying that this means that all literary criticism is veiled autobiography.  This is a huge leap in logic.   I think in saying this you are depriving the word "autobiography" of its meaning and rendering the statement true perhaps but trivial.   From this one could just as easily say everything you say is veiled autobiography.   This can lead to a  kind of celebration of extreme relativism and a glorification of emotion over thought which destroys any point of literary reflection.

Mel u


James said...

I appreciate your stand against "extreme relativism". I share your disagreement with Klosterman's position.

Christina said...

Hm... I think the statement is exaggerated, but not totally incorrect. I mean, how can we really dissect our opinions from ourselves?

Thanks for participating in the hop!

Ellen said...

I think the statement is exaggerated, too, but has a touch of truth to it. Our perceptions and the way we approach not just writing reviews, but reading, are shaped by our past experiences; but that our reviews are shaped by these things doesn't make them autobiographical. I try to stay away from writing about myself in my reviews, because I see that sort of "autobiographical" reviewing (or reacting) as being a sort of lazy alternative to really reviewing a book. As you say, focus on the self rather than the review is a focus on emotion over thought, when I think we should be striving for the opposite - to clearly elucidate our thoughts on the books we're reviewing.

Anonymous said...

10. Smile! Maintain your sense of humor, and keep the atmosphere light. We're lucky enough to have an opportunity to participate in the political process, and that certainly is something to feel good about - regardless of your politics.