Stephen Burn praises The Novel: An Alternative History in The New York Times Book Review

By | January 14, 2011

In an essay for the series “Why Criticism Matters,” Stephen Burn heralded Steven Moore’s The Novel: An Alternative History as a potential starting point for literary criticism in the age of digital media.  Burn argues that the Amazon.com review has ended the time of the critic as a 'cultural arbiter,' passing down informed opinions to a population of lay readers.  In a day when the common reader has his own voice, the critic should work more to illuminate and elucidate a work than to offer a judgment.  An essential part of this task is situating a novel within literary history, as part of an ongoing dialogue with its predecessors.  Burn offered The Novel: An Alternative History as a paradigm for this approach:

'Steven Moore’s recent encyclopedic study…dramatically amplifies our understanding of what the novel can and cannot do, and highlights living currents that sprang into existence 40 centuries ago and continue to flow into the contemporary novel.' — The New York Times Book Review

We are thrilled to hear that one of our most recent publications has made such a timely intervention in the critical scene!  Check out the full article here.

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