Critical Reading – A Critic And His Letters From Readers

Bernard Holland goes through his files of reader letters over the past six years. “Critics open their mail with a blend of gratitude (someone cared enough) and apprehension (we have been found out), but most will recognize an imbalance of justice at work. Reviews and columns come, potentially at least, before many eyes; the letter reaches only two. Yet when accurately aimed, it can hurt. The accusation might concern a wrong name or an unnoticed change of cast, or a fact just plain wrong. If writing accepts the privilege of public exposure, it cannot flinch from the returns of service whizzing back at it in swift postal forehands and backhands. Hovering just beyond this building lurk the grammar gestapo and the spelling storm troopers, issuing postcards in wavering hands and eager to point out the illiteracy of the addressee.”