22 nov. 2007

Mayhew is almost a caricature of the type! And I don't mean that negatively. It's that dissonant combination of openness and rigor--holding the tension!. Yes--that's what it's all about--holding the tension. He's amazing--such sharply formulated opinions and yet... he doesn't know what he's going to like till he sees it! So that what he likes, you can trust comes, not from abstractions imposed on what he reads, but from what he discovers from his reading, in the reading. To me, that frees me to both listen deeply to his opinions, and at the same time, never feel obliged to be beholden to them--or to believe he would respect anyone who did.

I wish I were as rigorous as Jacob thinks I am. Sometimes I do know what I like or dislike in advance, though I try not to. And for me the openness is the rigor, in a sense. Or the rigor is in the openness. The fighting against one's dogmatic tendencies.

While the praise is a bit over the top, I do feel that this is perceptive comment on the whole; it rings true with me. I've often felt I'm wired differently from a lot of other literary critics, and this comment "pone el dedo en la llaga" [nails it].