“If the mass of unargued opinion chokes off literary critics … then literature will be the lesser for it,” he said. “There is a great deal of opinion online, and it’s probably reasonable opinion, but there is much less reasoned opinion.”
Literary criticism, said Stothard, needs “to identify the good and the lasting, and to explain why it’s good. You don’t read a literary critic to explain why a new Ian Rankin is any good – the people who know about him don’t need that explaining. If we’re going to keep literature and language alive, we have to be alert to the new, the things which aren’t like what’s been before. And as Howard Jacobson said, this may be unpleasant, it may be that we don’t enjoy reading it, but it might matter hugely to the future of literature.”
Read the rest on The Guardian UK.