Anatole France’s “Good Critic”

Anatole France writes that “The good critic…is he who relates the adventures of his soul among masterpieces” (qtd. in Kellman B14).  This relates particularly well to the idea that all works at are some level autobiographical.  My wonder, however, is the degree to which the concealment of autobiographical detail may serve to enhance rather than elide the autobiographical status of the writer.  This may parallel Bourdieu’s description of a kind of martyrdom tendency among artists and writers, the idea that sacrificing “popular” recognition (or at least the trappings of such recognition such as profit) an artist might position oneself as more “authentic” or “literary.”

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