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Becoming a Critic

Since reading Elizabeth Bear’s blog regularly, I’ve been exposed to some very interesting literary criticism. I asked her how to learn that skill – I’m very analytical, but lack the concepts/vocabulary of literary criticism. Previous attempts to learn something about the formal discipline have ended badly, mostly with cursing. A lot of academic literary criticism seems to exist solely for the purpose of existing. I’m more interested in the kind with meaning.

It occurred to me that the Hugo “Best Related Book” category would be a good place to find genre criticism, and I’ll track down some of the relevant books from there. There’s also Ursula Le Guin. But who else? I’d like to at least become familiar with the basics, both as a reader and a writer, but in a way that’s compatible with my pre-existing scientific/analytical bias.

Thoughts, please.