I was ordering a book online and came across B. R Myer's A Reader's Manifesto. http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/07/a-readers-manifesto/302270/ I have to admit it was kind of humorous to watch someone ripping apart the prose of writers who are mainly untouchable and also nice to see someone sticking up for genre fiction. ( Even though I can snub it myself, mainly for early, bad reading habits - Sweet Valley High, V.C. Andrews - shudder. ) It got me to thinking what constitutes pretension? What makes for brilliance? I read somewhere pretension is insincerity but who can judge a writer's sincerity? In another book the author said pretension comes when the author makes the reader pay more attention to the metaphor than the feeling the metaphor is trying to reveal. And in another article discussing the issue a man told how he read that Kafka was kidded by a friend for standing in the Harlequin section of a book store and suddenly found the writer in tears. Moved, by something he read in one of the Harlequins. Can brilliance be something personal even found only in a nugget, something that might not touch anyone else? What do you think - What makes for brilliant writing? And what makes for pretentious writing?