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Features

May 2014

On Joseph Epstein

by William Giraldi

A look at Joseph Epstein's work, the importance of reading, and the role of the critic.


Joseph Epstein

In his 1928 essay “The Critic Who Does Not Exist,” Edmund Wilson asked a question that was pleading to be asked: “How is it possible for our reviewing to remain so puerile?” He then offered this typically Wilsonian observation: “When a new book of American poetry or a novel or other work of belles lettres appears, one gets the impression that it is simply given to almost any well-intentioned (but not even necessarily literate) person who happens to present himself; and this person then describes in a review his emotions upon reading the book.”

If that was true in 1928, glance around to see how much truer it is now. The average reviewer’s ...

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William Giraldi is an editor for the journal AGNI at Boston University, where he teaches writing and literature. His essays appear in The Believer and Tin House.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 32 May 2014, on page 14

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The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
On May 5, 2014, The New Criterion and PJ Media presented the second Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity. The award is given to highlight egregious examples of dishonest reporting. Also awarded this year was the Rather, a new award for lifetime achievement in mendacious journalism.
The Duranty Prize is named after Walter Duranty, the New York Times Moscow corresponded in the 1920s and 1930s who whitewashed Joseph Stalin’s forced starvation of the Ukrainians (the Holodomor) and many other aspects of Soviet oppression. Duranty was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for his efforts. It has never been revoked.
Audio copyright Ed Driscoll, www.eddriscoll.com.


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