"But the best critics are concerned with something beyond mere criticism; they wish to do something other than separate sheep from goats. Much of Teachout's writing is geared toward initiation (which might well be his overall theme): Terry places himself in the space between discovery and connoisseurship, so that he may shuttle his readers from one point to the other (and sometimes back again). It says something, too, that Terry does this as a conservative critic -- and perhaps only an old-school conservative temperament, the kind which revels in the absence of ideology, could really accomplish it. His main objective, it seems, is to pique readers' interest in things they don't already know, to transform curiosity into delight and delight into knowledge."That's perfect. I don't want someone to tell me what to think about a piece, I want to be introduced to it, given something to think about, and left alone to make up my own mind.
Terry's very good at that. Pity other critics aren't the same.