Verjurøða ummælarans: Sjálvsmyndan í føroyskum bókmentaummælum 1997-2007

Translated title of the contribution: The Critic's Apology: Self-representation in Faroese literary reviews 1997-2007

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


With today’s media landscapes and power structures in constant flux, this thesis titled, “The Critic’s Apology”, finds that the literary review genre is facing multiple challenges. The literary critics are forced to construct their authority in order to be heard and acknowledged as figures with the authority and power to define good literature.
Having to prove their worth and defend their position as critics is, however, nothing new to literary critics, who, to a degree, have always been a threatened species. Reviewing has been perceived as secondary work, not an art form. Literary critics are often unpopular with authors and their working conditions change frequently. Social trends and media positions shift, and literary critics have to yield to the conditions imposed by the media. The new challenge is how social media scatters reviewing across different platforms making it difficult to get an overview of the debate around literature.
This dissertation argues that literary reviewing is the genre of paradoxes. The dissertation sets out ten paradoxes that describe literary reviews as an area of research. With these paradoxes as a starting point, I first endeavoured to analyse literary reviews as a composite genre, while in parallel engaging with them as art/literary texts. Secondly, I set out to demonstrate the low status of reviews, while presenting research that is part of a revaluation of reviews as a genre and area of research.
I have gone about this by analysing and categorising all Faroese literary reviews from the period 1997-2007. I have sought to identify any artistic characteristics in these texts in support of the argument that reviews are a form of communication of art texts, but also have the potential to be art in their own right. This examination amply demonstrated that reviews are a genre that merits academic research.
The basic assumption was that literary reviews are important as a genre, and that the literary critic holds a powerful position in the literary institution, because the position to a great extent sets the agenda on how literature is appreciated.
The aim of the study is:

1.To trace the literary review as a genre and explore the position it holds and the role it plays in the literary institution.
2.To give a general recount of the literary reviews in the Faroe Islands in a set period close to the present: 1997-2007.
3.To analyse selected literary reviews and specific literary critic profiles from the same period 1997-2007 in detail with a particular focus on how literary critics presented themselves in their texts and how they, in the review structure, content, language use and style, constructed their own authority to judge Faroese literature.
Translated title of the contributionThe Critic's Apology: Self-representation in Faroese literary reviews 1997-2007
Original languageFaroese
Place of PublicationTórshavn
Number of pages483
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • book review
  • reviewer
  • Faroese literature
  • literary criticism
  • literary critics


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