I’ve been working practically nonstop for the last several weeks on the remarks for all of my upcoming speaking engagements. Needless to say, I haven’t been as attentive to The Late Age of Print blog as I would like to be. So, to tide you over until I can compose something substantive of my own, I thought I’d share a brief excerpt of Richard Nash’s AMAZING review of my book, which appeared a week or so ago in The Critical Flame:
It is impossible to talk about books, nowadays; to talk about books without nostalgia creeping into the discourse; though perhaps, to speak the lingo, perhaps ‘twas always so. Whether the specific tone is wistful, elegiac, defensive, hostile, or whether the talk is of an imminent and lamented end, or of a bitter and defiant survival, or of some type of triumphalist victory in another world, it is difficult to find a discussion of books that does not view the past as some better place. The title alone of the book under discussion, The Late Age of Print, offers all sorts of elegiac vapors — instantly retrospective, placing the present almost immediately in the past, it frames the now from the vantage point of a future from which we can gaze back upon the current times.
Like Benjamin’s Angel of History in his “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” the book gazes upon the past, its back to the future towards which the storm, emanating from the catastrophe of the past, hurls it.
I call Nash’s review “amazing” not only because he genuinely understands and praises the book (let’s be honest…that of course never hurts), but also because of what he has added to my own understanding of the book industry — above and beyond whatever I may have said in Late Age. And that is exactly what book criticism should do: it should engage a text in meaningful dialogue and thus further a conversation already in progress.