Literary Criticism - Questions To The Value of Academic Criticism

Questions To The Value of Academic Criticism

The value of literary criticism has been questioned by some prominent artists. Vladimir Nabokov argued that good readers don't read books, and particularly literary masterpieces, "for the academic purpose of indulging in generalizations". Stephen J. Joyce, grandson of James Joyce, at a 1986 academic conference of Joyceans in Copenhagen, said “If my grandfather was here, he would have died laughing ... Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man can be picked up, read, and enjoyed by virtually anybody without scholarly guides, theories, and intricate explanations, as can Ulysses, if you forget about all the hue and cry." And he questioned if anything is added to the legacy of Joyce's art, by the 261 books of literary criticism stored by the Library of Congress; he summed up that Academics are "people who want to brand this great work with their mark. I don’t accept that."

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