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Gregg Camfield <[log in to unmask]>
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Mark Twain Forum <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:59:03 -0800
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White and Ciardi thus suggest that all criticism is atomistic, that holistic
or gestalt criticism is impossible.  True, criticism usually begins with
taxonomy and with developing a vocabulary that identifies features.  And,
true, most individual acts of criticism privilege one aspect or another of a
work of art.  But each critique is part of a larger conversation, one in
which the individual contributions add up to a richer understanding and
appreciation of the art under examination.  Criticism in a community of
critics yields an informed, rather than a naive, and thus much fuller
response to art.

That said, I acknowledge that critics often compete to have the last word,
not seeing themselves as contributing to conversation so much as forclosing
it.  It's the difference between Calvin's _Institutes_ and Midrash in
Biblical exegesis.  It's the difference between joining a "camp" of critics
who listen only to one another and a fully plural approach to criticism.

Thus, the injection of Ciardi and White into the conversation seems
stunningly pertinent to the other exchange about e-mail manners. . .