James Wood is now elevant than Harold Bloom and arguably any other literary critic working in the English language And unlike Bloom Wood deals effectively and coherently with fiction writers The Irresponsible Self has as many comprehensible insights in its 312 pages as Bloom s Genius contains in about three times as many Has Bloom had an influence on Wood Certainly Bloom for being widely published has influenced every literary critic in the last 25 years But
Wood has moved out from underneath Bloom and perhaps no other has moved out from underneath Bloom and perhaps no other critic can say thatWood does a number of things better than his contemporaries First he understands fiction writers and what they are trying to accomplish Second when he catches them writing he takes them to task Wood is a confident critic and I enjoyed these essays generally and his willingness to champion the underdog and dismiss the overhyped goodbye Tom Wolfe I think I wished for something overarching on comedy MAYBE HE SAID IT IN THE EARLIER ESSAYS AND he said it in the earlier essays and just had forgotten by the time I got to the end His intro does talk about the eligious the comedy of correction and the secular the comedy of forgiveness The book is about the latter I d agree with Richard James Wood is smart And he avoids most of them hyper academic compound words which makes this book actually enjoyable to Pancreatic Cancer: A Patient and His Doctor Balance Hope and Truth read A genre is hardening It is becoming possible to describe today s big ambitious novel Familialesemblances are asserting themselves and a parent can be named DickensJames Wood Hysterical RealismA spectre is haunting Europe the spectre of communism All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise this spectre Pope and Tsar Metternich and Guizot French Radicals and German police spies Karl Marx The Communist ManifestoBoth of these opening sallies conjure the ominous and share a Ein Makelloser Abstieg: Roman rhythmic persuasiveness that holdseader attention hostage Both too vibrate with the sincerity of deeply held belief They exemplify what Northrop Frye has defined as High Style Sentences that seem to come from inside ourselves as though the soul itself were emembering what it had been told so long ago unmistakably heard in the voice of an individual facing a mob or some incarnation of the mob spirit Both men argue against dehumanization Marx in commerce Wood in literatureHere again is Wood attacking the mob outing the enemyThe big contemporary novel is a perpetual motion machine that appears to have been embarrassed. James Wood has been called our best young critic This is not true He is our best critic; he thinks with a sublime ferocity Cynthia OzickFollowing the collection The Broken Estate which established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation The Irresponsible Self confirms Wood's preeminence not only as ,
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Re intelligently starved One always feels with this writer a zeal of omission Bellow s writing eaches for life for the human gust it is Bellow s genius to see the lobsters crowded to the glass and their feelers bent by that glass to see the iot of life in the dead peace of things Henry Green s fine determination not to prosecute a purposecreates an exuisitely unpressing art unlike any other Wood s essays typically start with pungent seemingly incontrovertible axioms Fury a novel that exhausts negative superlatives #that is likelyread the est here Very satisfying and as ever with # likelyread the Rainer Maria Rilke: Gesammelte Werke (German Edition) rest here Very satisfying and ever with Wood sparklingly intelligent it probably calls for a secondead eally If you want to become a better eader James Wood is your guide The essay on Hysterical Realism is an absolute must for anyone who s wondered why they e left cold by Zadie Smith The skewering of Tom Wolfe is very funny and a little cruel The essay on Saul Bellow gives insights into why Bellow is just so darn wonderful And it s so satisfying to ead that Chekhov the short story writer Chekhov that is again and again emerges as the founding father of so much that is eal and human in modern fiction he s never given enough credit in English that fellah Must dig up some Henry Green and VS Pritchett soon I m pretty smart This guy is smarter Twenty two essays from the Durham born finger drumming superstar no Wood I won t let that lie and part time Harvard Not uite sure why I found this book so much less interesting than his previous book that I couldn t get all the way through it Firstly The thesis of The Broken Estate the inability of author I couldn t get all the way through it Firstly The thesis of The Broken Estate the inability of author like Herman Melville to believe in God and the tragic sense of loss that esults surprised me because it seemed so Selling Beauty: Cosmetics, Commerce, and French Society, 1750–1830 radically unfashionable The Irresponsible Self lacks such a big unifying arguable claim What s funny as I type this is how Wood s thesis sounds like Harold Bloom s Gnosticism man separated from his God Secondly while dazzlingly intelligent the prose doesn t feel smooth and flowing I don t feel like I m dragged by a current The intentional shifts in sentence length keep bringing me up shor My toead list is getting a little full of things I add when James Wood praises them then become unlikely choices once the sheen of his praise is Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice's Maritime State removed At l I might be wrong about this but since James Wood started writing for The New Yorker I find hiseviews easier to A Gift of Time: Continuing Your Pregnancy When Your Baby's Life Is Expected to Be Brief read Definitely easier than the essays that appear in this book. Chon Rushdie DeLillo Naipaul David Foster Wallace and Zadie SmithThis collection includes Wood's famous and controversial attack on hystericalealism and his sensitive but unsparing examinations of White Teeth and Brick Lane The Irresponsible Self is indispensable eading for anyone who cares about modern ficti. .
Into velocity It seems to want to abolish stillness as if ashamed of silence Stories and sub stories sprout on every page
And These Novels Continually Flourishthese novels continually flourish glamorous congestion Inseparable from culture of permanent and novels continually flourish their glamorous congestion Inseparable from this culture of permanent is the pursuit of vitality at all costs Such ecent novels as Rushdie s The Ground Beneath Her Feet Pynchon s Mason Dixon DeLillo s Underworld David Foster Wallace s Infinite Jest and Zadie Smith s White Teeth overlap Student Movements for Multiculturalism: Challenging the Curricular Color Line in Higher Education rather as the pages of an atlas expire into each other at their edgesThe conventions ofealism are not being abolished he continues but exhausted overworked Such diversity So many stories So many weird and funky characters Bright lights are taken as evidence of habitation props of the imagination meaning s toys The existence of vitality is mistaken for the drama of vitalityConnections are merely conceptual Confessions of an Unlikely Runner: A Guide to Racing and Obstacle Courses for the Averagely Fit and Halfway Dedicated rather than human It is all shiny externality a caricatureSo smells the skunk Wood throws at contemporary primarily American novelists There s no mistaking its odor In his essay Anna Karenina and Characterization we learn with eual clarity what he prefers Tolstoy s characters and the comfort with which they move and live in their own skins As with Shakespeare they feeleal to us in part because they feel so eal to themselves take their own universes for granted Tolstoy starts with a description of the body which fixes a character s essence says Wood essences eferred to Lauter alte Akten. Den von Formularen geplagten Zeitgenossen zum Trost, zur Belehrung und Erheiterung repeatedly in the novel Wood uses Tolstoyean characters as yard sticks throughout theest of his essays to Cannibal Encounters: Europeans and Island Caribs, 1492–1763 repeatedly beat the Dickens out of novels that lack human detail and dynamismWriting about German author Wilhelm Von Polenz Tolstoy himself suggests that the greatest novelists love their characters and add little details which forceeaders to pity and love them as well notwithstanding all their coarseness and cruelty Chekhov whose name is also invoked throughout Wood s oeuvre is epeatedly praised as an exemplar of such an author one who esists conclusion and loves his characters from afarWood tells us with precise bold often unbelievably beautiful artistry exactly what is good and how and why it s good Isaac Babel s atomic prose is uniue because of its discontinuities and exaggeration If his stories progress sideways sliding from unconnected sentence to sentence then the very sentences vault forward within themselves at the same moment JM Coetzee s distinguished novels feed on exclusion they Discerning judge but also as an appreciator of contemporary novelsIn twenty three passionate sparkling dispatches he effortlessly connects his encyclopedic passionate understanding of the literary canon with an eually earnest and appreciative view of the most discussed authors writing today including Franzen Pyn.