El crítico esotérico
Para seguir con las polémicas sobre la crítica literaria iniciada en algunos blogs: Nigel Beale se pregunta en el blog de The Guardian por qué algunos críticos utilizan una jerga que oscurece su discurso hasta convertirse en críticos esotéricos. ¿Qué hay detrás de esa oscuridad?
Dice el post: "What secret shame makes academics so willfully abstruse? Partly it's elitism. A citadel of unexplained jargon and obscure references serves nicely to keep the plebs at bay. Put less obnoxiously by Rohan Maitzen, a professor at Dalhousie University whose stimulating blog got me started on this topic, "every area of specialised inquiry develops and requires specialised language (or jargon) that can seem opaque or abstruse from outside that specialisation. In that respect, academic literary criticism is like other kinds of writing aimed primarily at other specialists." Good point, but if someone has a great idea do they really have to shroud it in cant? Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism is both the seminal work of a specialist and a model of clarity."The very thing that most matters to writers," James Wood suggests in a review of The Oxford English Literary History, "the first question they ask of a work - is it any good? - is often largely irrelevant to university teachers." He's right. Academic critics tend to shy away from the shifting nature of such judgments, for one thing, and are more interested in other reasons to study a text. This is what differentiates them from the "public" critic, the book reviewer. Here's Rohan Maitzen again: "If asked whether a book is good, an academic is likely to reply 'good at what?' or 'good in relation to what?' or 'good for what?' It may be that this insistence on refining the question, or examining its implicit assumptions, is part of what makes academic criticism less appealing to the 'average intelligent reader,' if what they are after is actually a recommendation." Writing that avoids answering such basic questions is plain dull. Ironic that academics will swerve violently off text to discuss social, political, economic influences won't articulate or rationalise taste because it's relative, "disputable".