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How nice is too nice? Australian book reviews and the 'compliment sandwich'


Stinson, E, How nice is too nice? Australian book reviews and the 'compliment sandwich', Australian Humanities Review, 60 ISSN 1325-8338 (2016) [Refereed Article]

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THIS ARTICLE RESPONDS TO AN ONGOING PUBLIC DEBATE ABOUT WHETHER AUSTRALIAN book reviewing is 'too nice', which started in the literary journal Kill Your Darlings in 2010 and has continued in other literary publications. It takes up Ben Etherington’s claim that 'too nice' reviewing is characterised by the 'compliment sandwich' in which critique is surrounded by mollifying praise. It offers a 'distant reading' of two years of fiction reviews in the Australian Book Review, applying a manual appraisal analysis to demonstrate that book reviews in Australia's flagship reviewing publication do often adhere to the compliment sandwich form. The article then returns to the question of 'too nice' reviewing, and applies a modified Bourdieusian analysis to examine how reviewing debates have served as proxies for larger disputes between institutions and interlocutors in the literary field.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:book reviews, polarity, sentiment analysis, Australian literature
Research Division:Language, Communication and Culture
Research Group:Literary studies
Research Field:Australian literature (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander literature)
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Stinson, E (Dr Emmett Stinson)
ID Code:150022
Year Published:2016
Deposited By:English
Deposited On:2022-05-11
Last Modified:2022-05-11

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