The task of writing, in the vernacular, on the nature of the artistic process and the operations of criticism is an ambitious one—Professor Greene, in this highly readable, informal discourse on art criticism successfully achieves this goal. He treats a broad range of critical ideas, avoiding as much as possible unnecessary complications and artificial language often found in books on criticism. In a graceful, conversational style he discusses how art "works," what to look for, and why. He investigates a number of positions taken in regard to the good and bad in art, and the intellectual, social, and philosophic bases for these positions. He examines the uses of literature, the universal properties of art, and the limitations of analysis, drawing numerous examples from literature, sculpture, architecture, music, and folk arts to illustrate basic principles of criticism. The result is an urbane and thoughtful book that pulls together the often disparate issues of literary discussion and demonstrates the social importance of criticism.
While The Choices of Criticism, based on five lectures delivered by the author at M.I.T., is designed to enlarge the areas of thought and judgment of the student, it will serve the general reader as well who seeks a pleasurable and informative guide to the understanding of art and art criticism.