I think Rohan Maitzen is right: “public literary criticism,” though it does exist, isn’t what they teach us to do in grad school and isn’t what they reward us for doing on the tenure track (I hear). I wish that we English folks *were* encouraged to write explicitly to the question “But Is It Any Good?” in Jane Tompkins’ words, or even more simply, “What Should We Read and Why?” Personally I came to the conclusion that my own favorite brand of literary criticism, literary history, is basically not much different from fan nonfiction. I like X, therefore I’m going to find out all I can about X. Conditions of production, allusions to other works, gossippy tidbits about the author and/or the characters, and so on. “The people” do that kind of public literary (and TV and film) criticism all the time.