Literary critic: Often the heirs of a successful writer decide to publish the manuscripts and the letters the dead w...

Antionette on December 10, 2013

Question

Why is D incorrect?

6 Replies

Melody on December 16, 2013

The conclusion of the argument is: "a successful writer who decides not to publish a recently completed manuscript should destroy it immediately." Why? Because "often the heirs of a successful writer decide to publish the manuscripts and the letters the dead writer left behind, regardless of the merit of the work," and "many writers have manuscripts that they judge to be unworthy of publication and with which they would not like to be publicly associated even after they die."

We want to choose the answer choice that most calls into question the soundness of the literary critic's advice.

Answer choice (D) is incorrect because we do not know whether the "posthumously published books" referred to are among those that the writer believed to be unworthy of publication and did not want to be associated with even after death. They could be writings that the writer believed to have literary merit and merely didn't have a chance to publish. Thus, this answer choice does not call into question the soundness of the literary critic's advice.

Answer choice (C), on the other hand, does call into question the soundness of the literary critic's advice. If most successful writers' judgments of their recently completed work is unnecessarily harsh and is often later revised, then, possibly, if they were to have lived longer, they may have changed their minds and decided to publish and be associated with them. Therefore, (C) calls into question the literary critic's advice.

Hope that was helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Joseph on October 14, 2015

Why is B incorrect?

Melody on October 22, 2015

The issue with answer choice (B) is that we have not been given any info about "writers who achieve a certain degree of fame." Well how much fame is "a certain degree?" What if this merely means a small iota of fame? Then do we know necessarily if this writer is successful? No. And we have only been given information about writers who are successful.

Remember, we cannot assume anything on the LSAT. The limits to our knowledge are at the boundaries of the words on the page. Thus, if it is not discussed, we know nothing about it.

So, answer choice (B) does not necessarily have to have any effect on the argument.

Hope that helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Nishant on May 27 at 10:01PM

I am still struggling with answer choice D versus C. If many of the posthumously published books would have been published by the author had he lived, why doesn't that greatly weaken the critic's claim that unpublished manuscripts should be immediately destroyed? If many of the posthumously books would have been published, doesn't that weaken the argument to destroy the manuscripts?
I get that we do not know if the posthumously published books include the ones the writers deemed unworthy, but some of the ones the writer deemed unworthy would have been published, right?

Nishant on May 27 at 10:05PM

If many of them would have been published by the author had he lived longer, then he/she shouldn't discard any unpublished work, right? So doesn't that weaken the argument?

Skylar on June 6 at 09:18PM

@Nishant-Varma, happy to help!

(D) is incorrect because we cannot assume anything about the posthumously published books. We do not know if these refer to those that the author deemed to be unworthy or if the author believed them to be of enough merit to publish. For example, if these refer to works that an author believed to be worthy and wanted to publish but was unable to do so while alive, it would not weaken the passage because the passage refers only to those manuscripts that an author decided not to publish. If the posthumously published books include a significant number of works that the author deemed unworthy/would never want to be associated with, then this would not call into question the passage's advice of destroying the works. The key takeaway here is that we do not know anything about the posthumously published books.

Does that make sense? Please let us know if you have any other questions!