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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Bad Writing

I’m reviewing yet another book, and God, the writing is just killing me. It’s an important subject, I’m glad the book exists, but it’s so badly written that I can’t read more than a paragraph before needing a break. It’s full of sentences like “This poet’s work is very important work and he worked on it tirelessly, leaving a vast stock of important work.” 

I don’t know how to allude to this issue without sounding harsh but seriously, folks, how can one remain so completely unaware that this is not the way to write literary criticism?

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7 thoughts on “Bad Writing

  1. DWeird on said:

    Do academic studies ever start with the converse of that? “This poet’s work is utterly irrelevant drivel. And as much as I’d love it to just to be forever forgotten, it honestly upsets me so much that I just want to tear into it for a bit.”

    More generally, what do you think is a good way to choose a subject matter in literary criticism? Does an author or text need to be ‘important’ to qualify?

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    • You need to convince the reviewers it’s important or you don’t get published. 🙂

      I usually choose texts that stay with me for a while after I read them, both in a good and in a bad way. Back in winter I read this novel that I hated with every fiber of my being. So I just had to write about it to get it out of my system. I’ve written two articles about it already. One is coming out next month and the other one is still under review. I feel much better now. 🙂

      I’ve written about forgotten authors who haven’t been published since the 19th century. It went well because I found a way to demonstrate why they deserve to be read. This is the power of literary critics. We make texts important by discussing them.

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  2. The example was awful. I hope there were some redeeming qualities.

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  3. Is this book published right now?

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  4. Veronica on said:

    I think this blog post was very mean, because it was so mean. (Just kidding — I hate having to read terrible writing, and you have my sympathies!)

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  5. “even when you try you can’t write a sentence as had as this author’s”

    Challenge….. accepted!

    This review will be hard to write, because it’s hard to write reviews since writing is hard and among hard writing types, reviews are among the hardest to write so in conclusion not only is it hard to write reviews, but I have proved that this review will be very hard to write.

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