Nell Osborne at Review 31:
In 2015, in The Limits of Critique, Rita Felski argued that critique, a term she uses to characterise the predominant institutionalised practices of interpretation, solicits the critic to adopt a stance and tone of ‘ferocious and blistering detachment’. The critic’s encounter with a text is driven by ‘desire to puncture illusions, topple idols and destroy divinities,’ that is both combative and paranoid. Towards the end of this book, Felski invokes Actor-Network Theory (ANT) as one possible way out from the uncomfortable corner that critique has backed us into. Felski’s 2020 book, Hooked: Art and Attachment, returns to this possibility: to demonstrate an intellectual and political alternative to the method of ‘critical reading’. This book extends Felski’s belief that criticism cannot fully account for broader questions of attachment: ‘What do works of art do? What do they set in motion? And to what are they linked or tie?’ Here, as elsewhere, one of Felski’s most convincing claims is that aesthetic relations always involve ‘more than power relations’.