Auður Aðalsteinsdóttir: The Head and the Heart. Book Reviews in the 20th Century
Icelandic book reviewers frequently show an effort to combine scientific discourse, a journalistic discourse suitable for the common public and a literary discourse suitable for the subject matter. With strengthening emphasis on scientific methods and theories in the 20th century, however, there is a growing suspicion towards science and a tendency to look at scientific literary criticism as the opposite of journalism’s “common sense” and the human sentiments we seek in literature, which results in the image of the “heartless experts” of the literary field. This disposition is closely linked to a dominant nationalism, especially in the first half of the century, but is in this article first and foremost read in the light of an ancient propensity to view art and human feelings as the opposite pole of logic and science.
Keywords: Literary criticism, book reviews, aesthetics, theoretical discourse, nationalism