A Book of Common Praise

Robert Boyers

Originally written as introductions to poetry and fiction readings, these miniature essays span three decades of acute listening, absorption, and response. In just a few pages, Boyers manages to encapsulate an entire career, expressing in lively and entertaining language his own assessments of the work at hand. Because it is far more difficult to critically praise a body of work than to find fault with it, these pieces, which are unabashedly celebratory, are welcome relief from the usual critical fare.

ISBN: 9781931337038

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Robert Boyers is the editor of the quarterly Salmagundi, the director of the New York State Summer Writers Institute and a professor of English at Skidmore College. He is the author of eleven books, the most recent of which are The Tyranny of Virtue (Scribner, 2019) and The Fate of Ideas (Columbia University Press, 2015). Earlier books include two volumes on politics and the novel,  Atrocity & Amnesia (Oxford, 1986) and The Dictator’s Dictation (Columbia University Press, 2005), a book …

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“Robert Boyers is a highly individual literary critic, usefully eclectic in his approaches, whether to contemporary novels… or poems. I find him most stimulating and original, and… challenging to my own assumptions.” —Harold Bloom

“Robert Boyers is one of the few critics writing today who, by keeping his head about the claims of this or that modern poet or novelist, keeps our interest in them alive. Shrewd and sensible in his judgments, he can be very funny as well, not at the expense of the author under discussion, but to reveal something about the writer’s predicament, and our own. In this he reminds me of two critics who, however different, had something of his same power—C.S. Lewis and Randall Jarrell.” —John Bayley

“From Ben Belitt to Jorie Graham to Robert Lowell, from Lee K. Abbott to Marilynne Robinson to Susan Sontag, Robert Boyers offers us ‘the best’ of each novelist and poet presented in this work of praise. This is a book for writers, readers, and teachers, for the literary critic and the biographer and historian.” —NewPages.com