Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Five books of criticism that changed A.O. Scott's life

A. O. Scott joined the New York Times as a film critic in January 2000. His forthcoming book is Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth.

One of five books of criticism that changed the critic's life, as shared at the Penguin blog:
W. H. Auden, The Dyer’s Hand.

Many of the virtues of Auden’s poetry—the mix of conversational ease and high philosophical seriousness; the naughty wit and unguarded earnestness; the friendliness and unmatched erudition—are on display in this collection of critical writings. There is ample wisdom and much fun to be found in the chapters on Shakespeare, D.H. Lawrence, Robert Frost and Igor Stravinsky, but it’s the first three chapters, devoted to “Reading,” “Writing” and “Making, Knowing, and Judging” that make this book one I return to again and again. Masquerading as a miscellaneous collection of aphorisms and observations, those pages add up to a theory of human thought and behavior, and therefore a guide to life.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue