An interview with literary critic Adam Kirschby David Wolf / May 22, 2013 / Leave a comment
Published in June 2013 issue of Prospect Magazine
This is the first in a new series of interviews about the art of criticism. More to follow soon.
Adam Kirsch is one of America’s most distinguished literary critics. Still only 37, over the past decade he has written extensively for the New Republic, the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. He is the author of two collections of poetry, a biography of Benjamin Disraeli, and, most recently, Why Trilling Matters (Yale University Press).
For Prospect he has written on a wide variety of subjects, including 9/11, fairy tales, Nietzsche’s influence on American thought and, in the latest issue, a new generation of African writers who are helping to reinvent the modern immigration novel. I spoke to Kirsch earlier in the month about his work, influences and the future of literary criticism.
When you were growing up did you read much criticism?
It’s definitely something that was in the air in my house because my father is, and my grandfather was, a book reviewer for the Los Angeles Times. I think my own desire to do it started when I began reading TS Eliot’s essays as an English major at Harvard in the mid-90s. Th…