Academic journal article CineAction

Questions of Value

Academic journal article CineAction

Questions of Value

Article excerpt

CineAction originally announced itself, almost thirty years ago, as 'A Magazine of Criticism and Theory'. I was always glad that criticism came first--I think in fact I wanted it printed in bold, with 'Theory' in ordinary type, but was overruled.

Over the last few decades we have witnessed, in the university, theory and scholarship usurping the place of criticism: a major setback for the development of our culture. Aside from the loss within academia, the result has been the degrading of criticism to the level of 'reviewing'. This is not of course to denigrate the importance of scholarship and theory, upon which criticism depends. The three should form a triangle of which criticism is the apex.

Theory supplies the critic with maps, scholarship with facts; the critic needs both, as reference points when relevant to her/his needs. But it is the critic who is primarily concerned with questions of value: the value of the individual work of art, its potential value within a (so-called) civilization that at present appears bent upon self-destruction. The question of value has never been so urgent.

The articles in this issue have been selected (from an encouragingly large number of submissions) for their concern (explicit or implicit) with questions of value. …

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