Follow-up on Updike and reviewing.

November 27th, 2007

A propos of the post from last week, I offer this quote from Updike’s 1968 Paris Review interview:

I think it good for an author, baffled by obtuse reviews of himself, to discover what a recalcitrant art reviewing is, how hard it is to keep the plot straight in summary, let alone to sort out one’s honest responses. But reviewing should not become a habit. It encourages a writer to think of himself as a pundit, of fiction as a collective enterprise and species of expertise, and of the imagination as a cerebral and social activity — all pernicious illusions.

Thoughts?

One Response to “Follow-up on Updike and reviewing.”

  1. Mark Says:

    Yeah, he just punditized about reviewing punditry. We could also say…

    “It SHOULD become a habit because it encourages a writer to think of himself as a student, of fiction as a tradition and category of striving, and of the imagination as worthy of study.”

    To me, either sentence could be right. Probably both.

    The PR interviews can be delightfully frustrating in that you can get some really, really awesome comments or really, really frustrating assertions… without a full argument. This interview shifts course to talk about work habits, so I’ll have to see if Updike fleshes this out anywhere else. Thanks for the pointer!

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