A. O. Scott
Better Living Through Criticism:
How to Think about Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth
THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT
This event includes a book signing
March 11, 2016
(Doors at 5:30)
40 Brattle St., Cambridge, MA 02138
SOLD OUT. View our Sold Out Event FAQ.
Harvard Book Store and Mass Humanities welcome 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
Few 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."
“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
UPDATE: Tickets for this event are sold out. Please note, we are often able to accommodate additional attendees from a standby line for sold out events. View our Sold Out Event FAQ for more information.
Tickets are non-refundable and non-returnable.
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 10 minutes
As you exit the station, cross Mass. Ave. and look for the newsstand Crimson Corner on the right side of the street and Curious George book shop on the left side of the street. Keeping the newsstand to your right, proceed along Brattle St. (you will pass the restaurant Tory Row). Follow Brattle St. as it curves to the right in Brattle Square (follow the sidewalk on the right side of the street). The Brattle will be on the left-hand side of the street. The building is shared with Algiers Cafe and Alden & Harlow Restaurant, and the theatre entrance is on the left side of the building—look for the sidewalk poster case and marquee.
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While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
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I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
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Mass Humanities conducts and supports programs that use history, literature, philosophy, and the other humanities disciplines to enhance and improve civic life in Massachusetts. Learn more at masshumanities.org.
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