The Angle

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In lieu of an abstract, below is the essay's first paragraph.

"The literary review should be and has been one of the more stimulating and invigorating institutions of literary endeavor. Today the book review has fallen from a position of prominent activity to an amazingly low state of morbid drowsiness. The literary critic vies with his colleagues in bestowing the stamp of approval on as many new books as is humanly possible. The influential book sections of the New York papers now represent a veritable monument to lethargy. The book reviews of at least one national weekly magazine are written with amusement of the readers in mind, without the least intention of educating them or guiding them in the selection of their reading materials. Doris Grumbach analysed this question in the August 13, 1960, issue of America. In asserting her thesis, Mrs. Grumbach cited a book review which had appeared in the New York Times. It was a discussion by Aubrey Menon of John Berry's Krishna Fluting. Despite the reviewer's exposure of the ridiculousness of the novel and the poverty of the author's thought, the book received a passing mark from the more amiable majority of critics. It is worth quoting here, because of its singular merit. (Mrs. Grumbach found it the only worthwhile review in the entire year) and because of its apparent lack of effect upon the public."

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