February 13, 2004


Terry Teachout

Nah, why bother? Anybody who actually reads "About Last Night" knows I'm not an anti-modernist--the opposite, in fact. That's not worth a punch in the face mask.


Yes, I have to admit, that comment suggested to me a striking unfamiliarity with your body of work. But we like a good dustup as much as the next blogger and remain ever hopeful ...

Terry Teachout

Dream on, buddy. Old Hag and Cinetrix are at the door, and I have better things to do!

Daniel Green

Perhaps Mr. Teachout could explain his Virgina Woolf comment a little further. Precisely what makes her work barely readable?


Terry may (or may not) decide to weigh in if he can ever tear himself away from the ladies, but to be fair it should be noted that the comments he made were offhand blog postings and hardly considered criticism, so it's probably a mistake to read too much into them. Smart people of wide ranges of taste can disagree on many things; my hero James Wood thinks Woolf is a master but I find her a bit of a slog myself. At any rate, I won't speak for Terry, who is more than able to speak on his own behalf if so moved.

Daniel Green

His precise words were that Woolf was "marginally readable," and, lumping her in with the other Bloomsburyites, "the sooner they're forgotten, the better for British literature." (Does this include E.M. Forster, by the way?) This is offhand?


Absolutely. It's not a serious critical overview of Bloomsbury. It's not a detailed analysis of Woolf. He was expressing a personal perspective and tossed it off lightly, I expect, hardly imagining he'd be called "conservative" for that. But as I said, Terry don't need no defendin' from me.


Otherwise known as a throwaway, slightly bitchy comment made on the fly and forgotten about until a moment to be determined later. AT least that's the way I saw it at the time.

That being said, I don't know exactly what the perceived problem is here; "conservative" isn't a bad word, but for some reason it gets these additional connotations that make it seem that way. It's not like Terry's a Luddite or anti-modernist--how many other boomer-age arts critics are out there blogging? (Can't imagine that would be something Bill Keller would want to do anytime soon.) He just, like anyone else, has issues of taste that are at times--dare I say it--idiosyncratic.

So Mark, keep the fight drool on hold till it's really necessary, because we'll need it then!

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