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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 26, No. 10. 1963.

More On Evans And Read

More On Evans And Read

Dear Sir.—Having paid some attention to the recent battle of words between your art critic Gary Evans and the esteemed Professor Munz. I find myself ready to agree almost literally with T. S. Eliot's description of the critic as a second-order mind.

Eliot, however, still attributes to the critic the useful functions of clarifying and objectivising thought about art and of providing some sort of working standards by which works of art may be judged. The sort of criticism indulged in by Mr. Evans, however, does neither of these things. It is not only almost entirely subjective, but petty, pedantic, and lacking any consistent basis of judgment.

Mr. Evans can certainly wield words. He uses his pen, however, almost as though he were stirring a glue-pot. One gets the impression that he fancies himself as some sort of latter-day Dr. Johnson. If he is indeed a frustrated artist, even if his talent be small, he would perhaps benefit if he were to take a brush and paint in hand, or attempt some creative writing. At least he might gain some comprehension of the artist's point of view, in which he is totally lacking at present.

As for the type of controversy in which Evans has engaged with Dr. Munz, this is of no service either to art or to criticism, and seems to serve only to gratify the egos of the participants.

Evans quotes Sir Herbert Read—"People's minds are like Pernod, they go cloudy when words are poured into them." It would seem that his own is somewhat clouded, indeed that the words have solidified and stultified his thinking to an advanced degree, and he is attempting to off-load some of them on to his readers.

Please, Mr. Evans, find some other outlet.

Try talking to yourself—I am, etc.,

John Murphy.