Saturday, October 01, 2016

Literary

"We do not, of course, write literary criticism at all now. Academe has won the battle in which Wilson fought so fiercely on the other side. Ambitious English teachers now invent systems that have nothing to do with literature or life but everything to do with those games that must be played in order for them to rise in the academic bureaucracy. Their works are empty indeed. But then, their works are not meant to be full. They are to be taught, not read. The long dialogue has broken down. Fortunately, as Flaubert pointed out, the worst thing about the present is the future. One day there will be no... But I have been asked not to give the game away. Meanwhile, I shall drop a single hint: Only construct!"
--Gore Vidal
"Edmund Wilson: This Critic and This Gin and These Shoes", closing lines
Published in "United States - Essays 1952-1992" (1992)

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