[Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

Watt, James jwatt at butler.edu
Fri Dec 12 18:02:26 EST 2008

dear Carrol Cox:

I remember O.B. Hardison, jr. remarking once that the proportion of literary
criticism worth reading to the amount published was less than one in ten --
and this was for articles as well as 'books.'  But, he added, don't despair, it's
about the same for murder mysteries and histories.  When I asked him how I
would be able to tell, not being an expert in the Seventeenth Century, he said
I didn't need to be an expert in murder to tell which were the good mysteries,
did I?

Jim Watt
From: milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu [milton-l-bounces at lists.richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Carrol Cox [cbcox at ilstu.edu]
Sent: Friday, December 12, 2008 1:48 PM
To: John Milton Discussion List
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] soliciting of reviews

Some 50 years ago in coffee-shop chatter (Haven Hall at Michigan) G. B.
Harrison remarked that wheile he kept up with the bibliogoraphy he had
given up on reading much current Chakespeare criticism. There was just
too much of it. The situation is not much better now. (I've always seen
the Temptation of Athens in secular terms: Like Pope in the Dunciad,
esp. M Scriblerus on the Poem, Milton could extrapolate from the
explosion of printing in the 17th century to a time when it would be
necessary to weed out not just bad books but well over half of the good
books. Too many books, so many that there might as well be none. Unless
the avalanche is slowed down, even reversed, the sheer mass of books
worth reading will drwon the nation's intellect.


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