Browsing All Posts filed under »literature«

Zadie Smith in the Caves: yea even still

November 8, 2011


IN the Paris Review’s very pleasant interview with E.M. Forster, Forster says this peculiar bit:  “I have always found writing pleasant and don’t understand what people mean by ‘throes of creation.’ I’ve enjoyed it, but believe that in some ways it is good. Whether it will last, I have no idea.” This to me seems […]

now where’d that gun go?

November 6, 2011


Chekov said that if there is a gun in act one, it has to be used by the last act. In contradiction to that, Updike says of Henry Green’s dialog that the characters are one step ahead of the reader. They always say something unexpected. The combination of these two virtues then make a story. […]

Zadie Smith in the Caves 2.0

November 5, 2011


“I couldn’t read that book if my life depended on it,” says essayist, David Shields about Franzen’s The Corrections. Coincidentally, Zadie Smith’s Essay on Novel Nausea, which I cannot find and is probably lost forever, was a review of David Shields book Reality Hunger. Certainly this indicates some kind of trend? Reality Hunger is an […]

what if the great american novel is like jesus? reviled in its home town

November 3, 2011


in lieu of Kevin Sheilds, which I know is old news, blaming the Idea of the Novel for the bad crop of contemporary novels is like those physicians of the plague years who blamed the rats and not the flees; they’re ignoring the middle man, the real devil, the market, which is always hoping, hope […]

Arbitrary Detail: a definition

February 26, 2011


Endnote 84 in David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is the citation and publication info for a self help book on grief by Elizabeth Harper Neeld, called Seven Choices. The note goes: “84. available on ROM via Interlace or in (remaindered) paperback from Delta/Delacorte Division of Bantam-Doubleday-Dell-Little-Brown itself a division of Bell Atlantic/TCI” What does […]

Haunted Books: DFW

November 29, 2010


What is there left of him when he’s done his work? What’s any artist, but the dregs of his work? The human shambles that follows it around? What’s left of the man when the work’s done but the shambles of an apology? -The Recognitions. Some colleagues and I have chosen to embark on a group […]

Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey: a review

October 29, 2010


What use is a novel that refuses to discuss metaphysics? What on earth is it good for if it does not examine the Soul? Or Death? Or explains, as Douglas Adams has it, Life, The Universe and Everything? These are the themes I want in the novels that I read. I want the big questions […]