David Kipen has an interesting post about how critics who discover authors tend to be forgotten:
We all know Alice Walker, the author of The Color Purple, redeemer of
Zora Neale Hurston’s work, and fine commentator on The Big Read’s CD
about Hurston’s masterpiece, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"–but
whatever happened to Margaret Wallace? If not for Walker’s championing
in the pages of Ms. magazine, Hurston might still be languishing out of
print. We’d have lost not just "Their Eyes" but Hurston’s wonderful
essays, like the unreconstructedly joyful “How It Feel to Be Colored
Me,” so bracing in expression, so sad in retrospect, which I read last
night in "Best American Short Stories of the Century." But without
Margaret Wallace, Walker might never have read Hurston in the first
He then goes on to make the point that this "indicator species" of critic is being lost. From newspapers, maybe, but it’s doing quite well in the blogosphere.
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