Yes, The Part About The Critics has been quite a ride. I see development in the critics over the course of this Part in a more favorable direction than others.
In addition to Amalfitano's diatribe concerning Mexican writers, this is the passage that sticks with me. It refers to the next wave of young academics coming behind our four:
. . . the latest litter of Archimboldians, recent graduates, boys and girls, their doctorates tucked still warm under their arms, who planned, by any means necessary, to impose their particular readings of Archimboldi, like missionaries ready to instill faith in God, even if to do so meant signing a pact with the devil, for most were what you might call rationalists, not in the philosophical sense but in the pejorative literal sense, denoting people less interested in literature than in literary criticism, the one field according to them—some of them, anyway—where revolution was still possible, and in some way they behaved not like youths but like nouveaux youths, in the sense that there are the rich and the nouveaux riches, all of them generally rational thinkers, let us repeat, although often incapable of telling their asses from their elbows. . .[Emphasis mine.]
That seems to me to be an accurate description what the four critics themselves had once been.
I think Pelletier, for example, first became interested in literature, rather than just literary criticism, when he read Archimboldi by the pool in Santa Teresa. “. . .to judge by Pelletier's face, the rereading was fruitful and thoroughly enjoyable.” [p. 145]