Thursday, August 11, 2005


A Critic's Mission

Terry Teachout offers what has to be the best of all possible Mission Statements for a critic. Well might all of us who render commentary consider these words:
More and more I question the ultimate value of any criticism whose immediate purpose is not to bring its readers into direct contact with beauty (or shorten the amount of time they spend in contact with ugliness). The purpose of my professional life is to make people happier, and I try not to let myself forget that my way of bringing it about can never be anything more than an imperfect means to a blessed end. C.S. Lewis said it better than I can: “If we have to choose, it is always better to read Chaucer again than to read a new criticism of him.”
An Arts Critic who quotes C.S. Lewis, strives for humility, and would rather spread happiness than cynicism.

Writes for the Wall Street Journal? Okay, now it makes sense.

(Via Instapundit. Thanks, Ann, that was an unexpected treat!)

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