Thursday, June 15, 2006

Aesthetic pleasure and intellectual nourishment

Wednesday, April 12, 2006 A year of the Middle Stage
Today it is a year since I began blogging about literature - about other things too, but mostly about literature - at the Middle Stage...A blog is like a generous editor - it allows you to do whatever you want to do in the hope that you will do it well. I find I can write here about two areas of my interest, poetry and classical literature, when nobody wants a piece on any of these things for a newspaper. There are no restrictions on space - although I try not to misuse this by being verbose or imprecise. And I'm not limited to current books - I can write about whatever I want, and one of the things I like doing best is bringing the work of little-known or neglected authors to light.
There have been some debates in the Indian blogosphere recently - it is a good thing that there are these debates, and that the quality of debate here is better than in Indian newspapers - about what reviewing and writing about literature, about what work they should properly do and how they should go about it. But I must confess that, reading these opinions, I cannot agree with any one of them. The sentiments expressed here are not the sentiments that animate me.
I think of my work as a form of love. It is a way of sharing out with people books that have given me aesthetic pleasure and intellectual nourishment. When I write about current books I try to judge those by the highest standards. Nevertheless I get some kind of pleasure or the other out of most books. I try not to be cutting about low-quality or middle-grade writing, because after all each one can only do the work he or she is capable of doing, and often poor work is the stepping stone to better work. It is only with what I consider to be dishonest or wilfully mendacious work that I feel harsh. I take my work seriously, and ask also to be taken seriously and judged rigorously. I devote almost no time to thinking upon the subjective-objective questions raised recently. To my mind a good critic’s subjectivity is a kind of objectivity. Chandrahas, 1:31 PM email this to a friend permalink (27) comments

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