Friday, March 11

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A. O. Scott

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A. O. Scott discusses Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth

This event includes a book signing.

$5 Tickets on sale now at Harvard.com. Unable to attend? Order the book(s) or pre-order a signed copy from Harvard Book Store. No Brattle Passes.

Harvard Book Store welcomes New York Times film critic A. O. SCOTT for a discussion of his book Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth.

About Better Living Through Criticism

hbs-scott-bookFew could explain, let alone seek out, a career in criticism. Yet what A. O. Scott shows in Better Living Through Criticism is that we are, in fact, all critics: because critical thinking informs almost every aspect of artistic creation, of civil action, of interpersonal life. With penetrating insight and warm humor, Scott shows that while individual critics—himself included—can make mistakes and find flaws where they shouldn’t, criticism as a discipline is one of the noblest, most creative, and urgent activities of modern existence.

Using his own film criticism as a starting point—everything from his infamous dismissal of the international blockbuster The Avengers to his intense affection for Pixar’s animated Ratatouille—Scott expands outward, easily guiding readers through the complexities of Rilke and Shelley, the origins of Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones, the power of Marina Abramovich and ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn.’ Drawing on the long tradition of criticism from Aristotle to Susan Sontag, Scott shows that real criticism was and always will be the breath of fresh air that allows true creativity to thrive. “The time for criticism is always now,” Scott explains, “because the imperative to think clearly, to insist on the necessary balance of reason and passion, never goes away.”

Praise

“Impassioned and deeply thoughtful. . . . Scott lays out a taxonomy of meaningful thought (and the meaning of thought itself). . . . His disciplined reasoning, impressive erudition, and deep commitment to his art (as he defines it) are never less than provocative and elegantly articulated. A zealous and well-considered work of advocacy for an art too often unappreciated and misunderstood.” —Kirkus 

“This stunning treatise on criticism from New York Times film critic Scott is a complete success, comprehensively demonstrating the value of his art . . . a necessary work that may enter the canon of great criticism.” —Publisher’s Weekly


A. O. ScottA. O. Scott joined The New York Times as a film critic in January 2000. Previously, Mr. Scott was a Sunday book reviewer for Newsday and a frequent contributor to SlateThe New York Review of Books, and many other publications. He has served on the editorial staffs of Lingua Franca and The New York Review of Books. In addition to his film-reviewing duties, Mr. Scott often writes for the Times Magazine and the Book Review. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Photo Credit: Carmen Henning