A recent article by Kerryn Goldsworthy in «Australian Book Review» (May 2013) discusses the art of criticism: what use are book critics anyway? Kerryn is a former Editor of «ABR» (1986–87) and one of Australia’s most prolific and respected literary critics. She taught for almost two decades at the University of Melbourne. Towards the end of her thoughtful piece, she writes:
I found that posting at my blog, something I did at least and usually about once a week for more than five years and usually about books and writing… freed up the mind in new and unanticipated ways.”
I too started a blog (I prefer the word “journal” for obvious reasons) a year ago. I was in New York recently, talking to Charles Bernstein, who said that Facebook was the way to reach people. Blogs were dead; no one looked at them any more. Gulp.
I immediately talked to a bright young person (much younger and brighter than myself), a woman who has French and Latin and who slogged through ten years at an American university founded before the American Revolution to earn a PhD. The topic? Early modern English poetry, specifically Spenser’s “The Faerie Queen” — hundreds of pages of rhyming poetry. She and her husband own several computing devices between them. What did she think? Should I open a Facebook account and sell my soul to Mark Zuckerberg? Surely not!
“Of course,” she said. “I used to read blogs, years ago, but not any more. Everyone’s on Facebook now.”
Maybe I can use the little snippets of brain food that Facebook denizens thrive on to lure readers to my longer, more thoughtful Journal pieces… no?