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I don't believe in myths of decline or myths of progress, even as regards the literary scene.
Criticism starts - it has to start - with a real passion for reading. It can come in adolescence, even in your twenties, but you must fall in love with poems.
Criticism in the universities, I'll have to admit, has entered a phase where I am totally out of sympathy with 95% of what goes on. It's Stalinism without Stalin.
But in the end, in the end one is alone. We are all of us alone. I mean I'm told these days we have to consider ourselves as being in society... but in the end one knows one is alone, that one lives at the heart of a solitude.
All that a critic, as critic, can give poets is the deadly encouragement that never ceases to remind them of how heavy their inheritance is.
I have never believed that the critic is the rival of the poet, but I do believe that criticism is a genre of literature or it does not exist.
In the finest critics one hears the full cry of the human. They tell one why it matters to read.
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