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Alain de Botton Explains His Critical Comments

pleasures_of_work.jpgIn a new interview, author Alain de Botton explained that he never expected (and regretted) that his comments on a book critic’s blog would reach a “large audience” via the Internet.

Literary blogger Edward Champion interviewed the author about his unexpected headlines–de Botton had left a passionate set of messages in the comments section of Caleb Crain‘s blog, responding to a critical review this week. The author explained that critics have a “quasi moral responsibility” to review responsibly, joining a short, fiery list of authors arguing with critics through blogs and microblogs this week.

Here’s an excerpt from the interview: “I think that a writer should respond to a critic within a relatively private arena. I don’t believe in writing letters to the newspaper. I do believe in writing, on occasion, to the critics directly. I used to believe that posting a message on a writer’s website counted as part of this kind of semi-private communication. I have learnt it doesn’t, it is akin to starting your own television station in terms of the numbers who might end up attending.”

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