Of all the changes that have taken place in English-language newspapers during the past quarter-century, perhaps the most far-reaching has been the inexorable decline in the scope and seriousness of their arts coverage.
It is difficult to the point of impossibility for the average reader under the age of forty to imagine a time when high-quality arts criticism could be found in most big-city newspapers.
Yet a considerable number of the most significant collections of criticism published in the 20th century consisted in large part of newspaper reviews.
To read such books today is to marvel at the fact that their learned contents were once deemed suitable for publication in general-circulation dailies.
We are even farther removed from the unfocused newspaper reviews published in England between the turn of the 20th century and the eve of World War II, at a time when newsprint was dirt-cheap and stylish arts criticism was considered an ornament to the publications in which it appeared.
In those far-off days, it was taken for granted that the critics of major papers would write in detail and at length about the events they covered.
Theirs was a serious business, and even those reviewers who wore their learning lightly, like George Bernard Shaw and Ernest Newman, could be trusted to know what they were about.
他们的写作是件严肃的事情，人们相信：甚至那些博学低调不喜欢炫耀的评论家，比如 George Bernard Shaw 和 Ernest Newman也知道自己在做什么。
These men believed in journalism as a calling, and were proud to be published in the daily press.
“So few authors have brains enough or literary gift enough to keep their own end up in journalism, ” Newman wrote, “that I am tempted to define 'journalism' as 'a term of contempt applied by writers who are not read to writers who are. '”
Newman 曾写道，"鉴于几乎没有作家能拥有足够的智慧或文学天赋以保证他们在新闻报纸写作中站稳脚跟，我倾向于把'新闻写作'定义为不受读者欢迎的作家用来嘲讽受读者欢迎的作家的一个 '轻蔑之词' "
Unfortunately, these critics are virtually forgotten.
Neville Cardus, who wrote for the Manchester Guardian from 1917 until shortly before his death in 1975, is now known solely as a writer of essays on the game of cricket.
从 1917 年开始一直到 1975 年去世不久前还在为曼彻斯特《卫报》写文章的 Neville Cardus，如今仅仅作为一个撰写关于板球比赛文章的作家被人们所知。
During his lifetime, though, he was also one of England's foremost classical-music critics, and a stylist so widely admired that his Autobiography (1947) became a best-seller.
但是，在他的一生当中，他也是英国首屈一指的古典音乐评论家之一。他也是一位深受读者青睐的文体家，所以 1947 年他的《自传》一书就成为热销读物。
He was knighted in 1967, the first music critic to be so honored.
Yet only one of his books is now in print, and his vast body of writings on music is unknown save to specialists.
Is there any chance that Cardus's criticism will enjoy a revival?
The prospect seems remote.
Journalistic tastes had changed long before his death, and postmodern readers have little use for the richly upholstered Vicwardian prose in which he specialized.
Moreover, the amateur tradition in music criticism has been in headlong retreat.