Inevitably this contains several plot spoilers
In criticism we – I – start from where we know and head into new territory. We have a political or critical viewpoint – Marxism, feminism, aesthetics – and apply it to a new text. Or we use a text to explain an idea or an idea to explain a text. (There’s a line somewhere from Mallarmé – shameless name drop – about the folly of saying clearly what the author has said opaquely.) We needn’t reinvent the wheel, of course, we build on the shoulders of giants. Sometimes people haven’t seen the giants, so we get people suggesting that no one has written about Katherine Burdekind or that everything thinks John Wyndham is cosy, when, in fact, he isn’t.