Bitty Ruminations #33

Posted on January 1, 2011


JAN 1 – Happy New Year. And a nice set of hand-wringing thoughts to begin the year with. Do not miss the six essays — by Stephen Burn, Katie Roiphe, Pankaj Mishra, Adam Kirsch, Elif Batuman and Sam Anderson. From the latter’s thoughts, this beautiful thoughtlet:

“art critics, when they review art shows, don’t paint pictures about those shows, film critics don’t review movies by making movies about them and music critics don’t review concerts by composing symphonies. “But,” he said, “when you review a prose-narrative, then you write a prose-narrative about that prose-narrative.” This is the magic, and the opportunity, of the form. In reviewing a book, we respond artfully to a work of art in its own medium. We write words about words — and then, as the conversation progresses, we write words about words about words about words.”

PS: Do note the passage about opening up “vistas few others had seen,” and thus, “When the separate parts are assembled, according to the manufacturer’s directions, and fitted together with the help of clues and cross-references… a novel on several levels is revealed…” Substitute “novel” with film, and… voilà!

PPS: Do also note this podcast.

Copyright ©2011 Baradwaj Rangan.