[Milton-L] finding the bad in what you find good

Jameela Lares jameela.lares at usm.edu
Sat Apr 16 09:16:10 EDT 2016


Here is Charles Schultz on the issue: tinyurl.com/zyfgwud.

Jameela Lares

-----Original Message-----
From: milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu [mailto:milton-l-bounces at richmond.edu] On Behalf Of Carrol Cox
Sent: Saturday, April 16, 2016 8:00 AM
To: 'John Milton Discussion List' <milton-l at richmond.edu>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] finding the bad in what you find good

When the discussion turns to either "X is good" or "X is bad" I tend to return in my memory to the "Polemical Introduction" of Northrop Frye's _Anatomy of Criticism_. "Evaluation" is simply not a very interesting critical mode. Moreover, no one ever bothers to prove that some piece of newspaper verse is "bad"; silence is the mode for negative criticism. Check out Twain's "Sweet Singer of Michigan"; do you really want to spend time "proving" that she was as bad as Twain believed she was? "Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?"

Moreover,  attempts at negative evaluation of a text raise a prior question:
What difference does it makes if someone sits delighting in a poem that someone else thinks is bad? Did "It takes a heap o' learning" cause death and destruction?

Carrol

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