The current NYRB has an article on Gabriel Josipovici’s What Ever Happened to Modernism?, said article being written by Eliot Weinberger. I’d been expecting an inspired reaction to an inspired book, but that is not what I found.
Weinberger clearly did not like the book, but I cannot figure out quite why. He jumps from an attack on its title (based a strangely literal reading of it) to a bunch of random, nitpicky-type arguments... I don’t mean to imply that Josipovici’s argument is beyond critique or even that I agree with it completely; I only mean to say that it’s disappointing to see someone of Weinberger’s reputation completely fail to engage with one of the more interesting and accessible critical books to be published last year.
This via Scott over at Conversational Reading. "Disappointing" is the very least of it. Do we have no literary critics able to deal with the philosophical arguments that Josipovici makes in his book? It would seem not.
To me, the animus displayed by most critics to Josipovici's book stems from a misunderstanding of his project. I wonder would the book have been received more fairly if reviewed in the philosophy pages?
Addendum: Steve has responded fully to Weinberger over on This Space.