This blog is almost 22 years old, and in all that time I’ve been solid about posting regularly — until this recent dry spell.
I skipped the summer. Last post was in June. There was just one that month, and just one in May.
I have an explanation: while my health and physical circumstances are unchanged and, happily, fine, I have not felt the drive to write here that I always felt.
I never, in all these years, had to push myself. I’d get an idea and I would be compelled to write it up and publish it. It was always that simple.
But I haven’t felt that way in many months, and I’m not sure I will again.
Maybe this is temporary, and there will be hundreds more posts to come.
But I kind of think not, because there’s a bigger issue: I expect and hope that eventually I will no longer be a public person — no blog, no Twitter, no public online presence at all.
I have no plan. I’m feeling my way to that destination, which is years off, surely, and I just hope to manage it gracefully. (I don’t know of any role models with this.)
Anyway. In case I don’t write here again — in case these are the last words of this blog — thank you. I loved writing here, and you are why.
Why Ricks is the most gifted and ingenious—sometimes over-ingenious—literary critic of his generation
Christopher Ricks has long had the reputation of being the most gifted academic literary critic writing in English. His gift has been to reveal the powers of great writers in brilliantly illuminated particulars: a phrase, a rhyme, a play on words. As he says in one of the essays in this new collection, “criticism is the art of noticing things that the rest of us may well not have noticed for ourselves, and might never have noticed.” He has seen new things in literary works that have been scrutinised many times: his early reputation was built on books about John Milton, Alfred Tennyson and John Keats. The best of his essays reveal (and it feels like revelation) what is singular about Marvell’s similes, say, or how the line endings work in . Even better, Ricks often shows you something of which you had already been half-conscious but had never articulated. He is a consummate close reader, especially of poetry, always aided by his ear for literary echoes and allusions.
It has taken us by surprise, but in our current situation, when everyone has more of a voice and more impact on the public than ever before, it suddenly matters. You wouldn’t take your car to a mechanic who didn’t know how to fix a car, and citizens, each of us, should be held to at least as high a standard of knowledge.
Everyone around us needs to know about:
Feeling, in situ aeon. Important.
Class warfare, American style, is ever more obvious. But how much are ordinary people taking note?