Essential Books for the Critic’s Library

The National Book Critics Circle has a blog and they’ve asked some of the country’s best literary critics to list the “five books a critic believes reviewers should have in their libraries.” The series provides a new list every week, and so far the choices are interesting not just for the books picked (and some of the overlaps in picks), but also for the explanations that the critics offer for their choices. Here’s John Updike on Eric Auerbach’s Mimesis:

a stunningly large-minded survey from Homer and the Old Testament up to Woolf and Joyce. Quoting a lengthy paragraph or two from each classic, Auerbach gives us an essential history of, as his subtitle has it, “the Representation of Reality in Western Literature.”

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