The Sound and the Fury

Uneasy times for hacks and critics
by
December 2004–January 2005, no. 267

The Sound and the Fury

Uneasy times for hacks and critics
by
December 2004–January 2005, no. 267

My theme is the mixed and contentious business of reviewing: its influence, its limitations, its present condition in what we like to call our literary culture. I will largely confine my remarks to the literary pages of our newspapers and magazines. I don’t propose to comment on the learned journals – or criticism at monograph length issuing from the academy. (Not, sadly, that there is much of that kind of publishing in Australia these days.)

Nor, I hope, do I seem to disparage my colleagues in the editorial ranks. At the risk of sounding like a Qantas steward seeking our nervous attention before take-off: each magazine or newspaper, like each publishing house, has its own unique features that make it subtly different from all the others. Not every editor, for instance, enjoys total independence; the number of literary pages in our newspapers is often determined by the amount of advertising; not every editor is free to publish lengthy, discursive articles; some are required to publish a clutch of short, perky reviews.

But enough caveats!

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