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The Genius of the Future

Anita Brookner, The Genius Of The Future (New York: Phaidon Press, 1971), 16 pp. black-and-white illustrations, 172 pp.

MY EXPECTATIONS OF ANITA BROOKNER’S The Genius of the Future were high because her subject, art criticism, has emerged recently as an object of study. To the writing of criticism has been added self-awareness of the act of writing and, as a result, some currently practicing critics have become aware both of present problems and of earlier art criticism as a subject. A study of Diderot, Stendhal, Baudelaire, Zola, the Goncourts, and Huysmans as art writers sounds like a marvelous opportunity for a writer who is contributing to the development of a field. However, Brookner misses the chance to consider them as models, to estimate their intentions, and to disclose the influences on them.

There is at present no dominant study of art criticism as a form (Venturi’s mistitled

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