I’ve been tuning into some of the discussion occurring around the internet concerning review writing in Canada. It’s certainly an issue that gets the blood boiling, since it involves the interpretation of writing which, at its core, seeks to sort valued work from doggerel and discover what we consider truly good writing. The concern seems to be centered around ideas of writer intension and reviewer assessment of a work.
Over at Table Music, Chris Banks’ blog, there has been some back and forth on the issue stemming from a quote posted on the part of the site author by William S. Burroughs from his essay “A Review of the Reviewers”. To what extent does personal bias and prejudice on the part of the reviewer factor into her/his assessment of a writer’s work? Is it proper that this bias come into a book review at all? Is there a balance that can be reached between objective assessment and personal preference? These questions have been tossed around a bit already and the comments section of this post has some interesting points, if you feel like probing into it.