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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Guy With The Flamethrower? He's The Critic

There's been much fuss in certain circles about literary criticism's destructive attitude (remember Vendela Vida, aka Mrs Dave Eggers, and her Snarkwatch?) -- with corresponding echoes in India where first-time authors whine about critical reviews. Well, look at the situation in Europe, where they're obviously a lot more used to taking it on the chin and moving on.

In the Spanish literary magazine La Fiera Literaria, all articles are signed with pseudonyms and the journal is semi-clandestinely distributed only to subscribers and writers, editors, critics, and university professors.The editor of Lateral, another Spanish publication, says: "It is a magazine specialized in destruction. It's libel, a publication in which the majority of the most well-known names in the Spanish literary world are defamed."

Lateral recently published an anonymous interview with one of La Fiera Literaria's editors, who said: "In the sense that defamation means discrediting someone, publishing something to counter their good reputation and fame, we certainly defame writers who, in our opinion, and according to evidence we provide, possess a level of prestige and renown that they don't deserve. But the fact is that defamation, in common language, has become limited to the sphere of honour, dignity, and a moral 'good name'. In this sense, we do not defame anyone. We limit ourselves to presenting unqualified arguments concerning logic, grammar, and style; criticizing a lack of common sense; and pointing out offences to the intelligence of the reader."



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