Parul Sehgal on the Work of a Critic

I love this. It makes me think of not only Sehgal herself but also Cynthia Ozick, Dwight Garner, and V.S. Pritchett.

I don’t think about criticism in terms of authority. I think about it in terms of charm and persuasion, which anybody can possess. Your authority is in your sentences, in your lede, in how attractive your own prose is. To be a critic is to say, “Try sitting next to me.” That’s the conspiratorial nature of criticism. If you love particular critics, it always feels like they’re talking to you.

The Cut: How I Get It Done: Parul Sehgal, Book Critic