Peter Stothard, chair of this year’s Booker prize judges, says the mass of online opinion about books could kill off literary criticism!


Peter Stothard

He’s right! Far to often these days, people with an axe to grind make it their business to decry a book simply because they didn’t like it, or its author. I refer in the main to the mental defectives responsible for one and two star reviews, which bear little resemblance to the kind of ‘constructive criticism’ he is talking about.

Read his thoughts on the subject

4 thoughts on “Peter Stothard, chair of this year’s Booker prize judges, says the mass of online opinion about books could kill off literary criticism!

  1. That’s an interesting article, thank you for pointing it out. He seems a little off base though. For someone who supposedly values “critical thinking”, he doesn’t argue his point very well. He’s saying that there are too many unjustified, or poorly supported, reviews of books by bloggers that are watering down “real” reviewers. Basically. Well, first off, the types of books he’s talking about, more “literary” works, are read by people who probably don’t put much faith in bloggers vs. literary critics. And how many bloggers are even reviewing more literary works? It’s not like he’s talking about the newest pulp fiction book, the types of things a typical blogger might review.

    The whole article comes across (to me) as one of the old gatekeepers annoyed that his opinion about what’s good is being drowned out by popular opinions. It used to be that someone who was looking for something to read might glance through a major magazine or paper and see what’s being reviewed, it was a limited field. Now readers just go online and can find plenty of places to recommend new works.

    In short, it’s not the quality of the reviews (like he’s trying to say), it’s that there are so many reviewers that fewer people are paying attention to his opinion. In other words, he’s stuck in the same boat with so many authors these days, having to really step up to get readers or get lost in the masses. He’s not mad about poor review sites, he’s mad that he suddenly has to compete for eyes.

    My humble opinion. Thanks again for recommending the article, it really got some gears turning.

    Liked by 1 person

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