Jaime O’Neill, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday, appreciatively reviews a new collection of Alfred Kazin’s criticism. Right off the bat O’Neill coins a neat new term for that increasingly rare bird, the lucid literary critic (and a corresponding term for his opposite number):
When I was a kid, there was a smart-ass remark we used to make to people who were blocking our view: “You make a better door than a window.” I kept thinking of that phrase as I read “Alfred Kazin’s America.” Far too many literary critics make a better door than a window. Not Alfred Kazin.
In case you were wondering what kind of aperture Harold Bloom is, he has a brief cameo in the review as a representative door.