Jan 29 2010

The Book Blogger’s Scepter of Censure

“Censure is willingly indulged, because it always implies some superiority; men please themselves with imagining that they have made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies, which escape vulgar observation. And the pleasure of wantoning in common topics is so tempting to a writer, that he cannot easily resign it; a train of sentiments generally received enables him to shine without labour, and to conquer without a contest.”

—Samuel Johnson

“It is a truthful sublimity which elevates the mind, and flatters it into believing such sublimity to be its own offspring and production.”

—Longinus

Being new, this blog is still coming into its own with providing a suitable style and proper form. Bookbread strives to provide and participate in “elevated conversations”: elevated in Longinus’ sense of the sublime—and conversations that concern books, literature, and language. But when online in the twenty-first century, the temptation is exponentially greater to “willingly indulge” in criticism on the views of others, or “censure” whatever one happens to come across while reading/browsing.

It can certainly be confessed that Bookbread still experiences moments of pleasure when imagining that [Bookbread has] made a deeper search, or wider survey than others, and detected faults and follies, which escape vulgar observation. Such pleasures are reserved for those who bear the scepter of censure.  Those bearers are called book bloggers.

Johnson, Samuel. The Rambler 02. March 26, 1750. (¶ 2).

Longinus, Dionysius. An Essay on the Sublime. (~100 C.E.). trans. by Herbert A. Giles. (1870). J. Cornish & Sons, London. (§ VII, pp. 17–18).