Tuesday 24 June 2014 9:12AMAnna Frey Taylor and Michael Cathcart
A smart phone next to an open book IMAGE: FROM GOODREADS TO AMAZON, THE INTERNET HAS DEMOCRATISED BOOK REVIEWING. (GETTY IMAGES/JILL FERRY PHOTOGRAPHY)
The past decade has seen a flourishing of amateur literary criticism on websites like Amazon and Goodreads. Anna Frey Taylor and Michael Cathcart take a look at how the internet is changing the culture of literary criticism.
‘A good deal of reviewing, especially of novels, might well be done by amateurs … whose ideas about [the novel] would surely be worth more than those of a bored professional,’ wrote George Orwell in 1946. With this simple remark, Orwell anticipated the rise of the amateur literary critic.
Each day on blogs and book websites worldwide, thousands of amateur book reviewers share their opinions on the books they are reading. It is a phenomenon that has been closely examined by Dr Simone Murray, a senior lecturer in literary studies at Monash University. Murray recently authored the paper Everyone’s a Critic: Mass Amateur Book Reviewing in the Digital Literary Sphere.