Letter: Lit Crit mafia

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The Independent Online
Sir: Novels have an enormous potential for civilising us - making us more tolerant, more imaginative, more forgiving; but only if they are actually read ("Modern literary culture has lost the plot", 18 July).

Unlike the Lit Crit mafia, paid to read novels at nine o'clock in the morning whether they like them or not, most of us read for pleasure at the end of a busy day, paying heavily for it in terms of chronic sleep deficit. For this we need an incentive stronger than the mere promise of self-improvement.

It is often said that there are too many English graduates writing novels. On the contrary, there are too many English graduates reviewing them, and they haven't noticed that a novel is not a tutorial essay, and that giving marks for effort isn't quite the point.


Appleton, Oxfordshire