What are the roles of a book reviewer and a literary critic and what kind of skills and training do they need to have?
#73009. Asked by EdnaMode. (Dec 06 06 10:16 PM)
Depending on the publication, the two roles can overlap. If you're reviewing a book for the "The New York Review of Books" or an academic journal, your review will be expected to include elements of serious literary criticism and scholarship, and you will probably have acquired the skills to provide them during advanced graduate training in the English or Comparative Literature department of some university. The publication will invite you to write the review on the basis of your reputation in the field of literary criticism, which you have established by publishing your own books and articles and by teaching.
But a basic book review that appears in your local paper or a magazine with a general audience is more likely to be concerned simply with whether the book is a good read. Getting into the field of reviewing for such a publication can be a matter of sheer serendipity. It's not uncommon for a newspaper to ask enthusiastic readers already on staff to review books, and these reviewers can parlay the experience into making regular contributions or writing regular columns.
My father was the features editor for a newspaper and also wrote a book review column. He had no formal academic training in literary criticism; he just loved to read and write.
Dec 07 06, 8:16 AM
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