January 2022 Newsletter – Criticism

Ben Jonson by Henry Bone

Recent goings-on

Hello! It’s January. Another year. Hope springs eternal. I hope good things happen for you in 2022.

For the Misfortune fans

I’ve developed a sneaky fondness for the anti-hero of Cape Misfortune, Mr. Krampton, or Krampus. The third and final book in the trilogy deals with his origin story. I’m starting to think it isn’t his fault he’s evil.

For the Daydreamers

A thought for the new year: How we deal with crirticism is important. I often think of the great English playwright Ben Jonson in this context.

Its probably fair to say Jonson found criticism challenging. According to contemporary accounts the Renaissance playwright was quick to anger and killed two men in duels.

The actor playing the Prologue in Jonson’s play Poetaster arrives on stage in a suit of armour, which is “Forty-fold proof against the conjuring means/Of base detractors, and illiterate apes”

A lot of the dramatist’s career was spent trying to come to terms with the fact he had to deal with an audience.

In Every Man out of His Humour he distinguishes between “attentive auditors” and “monstrous fellows” who have “neither arts, nor brains.”

Winston Churchill was happy to accept both types: “Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”

Thanks for reading!

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