In an article entitled 'Critics on Reviews' published in the American magazine Poets & Writers in 2003, Mary Gannon concludes that critics share with authors 'a deep desire to maintain a culture that values reading and writing', 1 Her interviewee Sven Birkerts has reviewers participating in 'the cultural conversation' (56) while interviewee Gail Caldwell sees them trying 'to enhance the dialogue of the culture' (59). For the critic Michael Dirda, this discourse also works diachronically, 'to keep reading going, to keep the excitement of books alive for another generation or two' (61). Criticism, understood as comment on contemporary work, here connects with the activity of the literary historian, who brings the work of past generations into current conversation.