CULTURE & ARTS
08/15/2013 10:43 am ET Updated Oct 15, 2013

An Art Critic Is First Inspired By Words

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BY HOLLAND COTTER

I've been writing about art professionally for more than 30 years, and I fell in love with language before I fell in love with art. Words ended up being my connection to art, and writing came first.

I was lucky to come from a family of reciters and readers. My great-great-aunt Helen, probably born a decade or so after the Civil War, was in her late 70s, maybe 80s, when I was 8 or 9. She came from a poetry-memorizing Victorian culture and knew long passages of Tennyson's "Idylls of the King" and Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha" by heart.

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