In defense of the negative review

Mark Kermode wields a hatchet
Mark Kermode wields a hatchet

I wrote an essay defending the negative literary review for the spring issue of The Puritan. It’s a complicated debate with good arguments on both sides.

Lee Siegel’s essay on this subject is important to my piece, as is Jan Zwicky’s essay on the ethics of negative reviewing. Ultimately, I don’t see how a literary critic can call herself a critic at all if she forbids herself from truthfully commenting on a book’s negative qualities. But the so-called “hatchet job” is another matter. Read my essay and wade in to the debate over at The Puritan.

While you’re there, check out the great content in this issue–such as Andre Forget and Jason Freure’s interview with Rawi Hage, and Nicholas Herring’s review of Michael Crummey’s Sweetland, just to name two pieces.

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