Tuesday, November 30, 2010

novelty, once more

There have been some interesting reflections recently on the advantages and disadvantages of the blog as a medium for literary criticism and reflection: see here, here, and here.
I have mixed feelings on these points. On the one hand, since blogs tend to be personal, non-professional, and unpaid, they ought to be ideal venues for people to reflect on whatever they happen to be reading, whether it's brand-new or only new to them — or not even new to them: over at Tor.com there is a long-running blog series on re-reading Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series, which I think I have mentioned before in these pages. I'm pretty sure I've also mentioned group reading/blogging projects like Crooked Timber's MiĆ©ville Seminar and the Valve's Book Events, like the one on Theory's Empire.
But there is not nearly enough of this kind of thing online, and I blame, as I have so often blamed in the past, blog architecture itself, with its relentless emphasis on novelty and (relative) brevity. We need to fight against this — I need to fight against it. Why shouldn't I spend a month blogging my way through a big old book? Maybe someday I will. . . .


  1. Also at Tor, this blog re-reading the Lord of the Rings is fantastic and the discussion in the comments is even better:


  2. That's fantastic, Michael — somehow I hadn't seen that!

  3. Regarding the "blog architecture": How does the medium emphasize novelty? Is it, rather, that readers expect this novelty and brevity from this particular form of self-publication? (In other words, if you write because you want people to read your musings ... you better keep it new and short.) Perhaps the typical blog publishing platform is a bit clumsy for an epic, but I think it would support a lengthy critical article.

  4. Regarding the "blog architecture": How does the medium emphasize novelty?

    By always putting the newest content at the top of the first page.


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