A. O. SCOTT
Reviewed by Author Roy Murry
“Who but a lunatic or an idiot would critique a rose or a mountain or a sunset, or for that matter an earthquake or a thunderstorm?” is a line from Mr. Scott’s inviting titled dissertation. I hope he got his doctor’s degree.
I am the lunatic that is reviewing a book about criticism written by a prominent critic. What a way to start a Sunday morning with coffee.
Kidding aside, I have been reviewing books since college and have as recent as three years ago been writing them for my blog to help promote my novels. If I weren't an avid reader with an eclectic background and a college education, I might be confused in Mr. Scott’s historical interpretation of criticism.
From the allegories of Titian or Rubens to Kant in the 1790s to Keats and then to the present century’s anointed, Scott gives the reader an education – information for the inquisitive mind. If you are in this reader category or a college student studying World, English, or American Literature, this may be what you need to expand your mind.
His study into the psychological reasons humans criticize one another whether it be for poetry, writing, movies, theater or whatever, was an enjoyable read. I wasn’t surprised at the immense connecting content, after reading the Index and Acknowledgement sections while reading the core explanations.
As they say, “It takes a village to bring up a child,” I say about this book, “It took an army of critics, professors, and writers to put BETTER LIVING Through Criticism into print.” Mr. A.O. Scott spent his time wisely to get this thesis into print, but I don’t feel it was written for the general public, where I usually don’t fit.
A.O. Scott's discourse leads to what I already knew – The right way to make a criticism, in other words, is not to do it. It's another line from his book. But we are all consumers, and all consumers criticise, as I just did, the lunatic I am for starting this read.