Scribblers in the dark – of critics’ circles and criticism

When the art of criticism is enhanced by peer association.

From the shortest and most deadly review of just a few words, such as ‘can’t sing, can’t act, can dance a little to a considered piece of long-form journalism, arts criticism has an important place in our cultural life. Promoting debate, encouraging comparisons, boosting sales and even occasionally giving rise to a lawsuit, criticism is an art and a discipline in itself.

A good review is both an intellectual and emotional response to the work. It’s not so much about ‘do I like it’, but more ‘is this a good example of the genre; does it have the qualities of excellence and originality?’ and similar critical questions.

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Dr Diana Carroll is a writer, speaker, and reviewer based in Adelaide. Her work has been published in newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Woman's Day, and B&T. Writing about the arts is one of her great passions.