February 20, 2015

Davies '73

Q:  Do you still feel that harshly about the critics, that they don’t really…I’ve forgotten the phrase you used now, but it’s a very strong one, almost to suggest that you think that, well, the general newspaper critics are pretty useless, and that the academic critics, the very best ones, are interesting because they themselves have imaginations, and the rest are people who just write rather bad books...?

A:  Yes. Well, I do think that.

Early in this interview, Davies talks about the odd problem of being a young reader in a remote place - how as a child he lived in Canada, but was learning about boyhood from British and American books.
If you read anything, you were always conscious of the fact that you were always reading about some place other than the place you were.  And when I was a boy I read a very great deal, and I read both American books and English books about boys, and what boys did...  Always you were reading about someplace else and another way of life.  You were reading about English schoolboys who went to boarding school, and were taught solely by men, whereas I went to a school where we were taught almost exclusively by women.  And it was all very puzzling - you didn't seem to be like anybody that you ever read about.


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