The Fun Stuff and Other Essays

The Fun Stuff and Other Essays

Following The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works – books that established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation – The Fun Stuff confirms Wood’s pre-eminence, not only as a discerning judge but ...

Author: James Wood

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9781448137299

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 352

View: 228

Following The Broken Estate, The Irresponsible Self, and How Fiction Works – books that established James Wood as the leading critic of his generation – The Fun Stuff confirms Wood’s pre-eminence, not only as a discerning judge but also as an appreciator of the contemporary novel. In twenty-three passionate, sparkling dispatches – that range over such crucial writers as Thomas Hardy, Leo Tolstoy, and Edmund Wilson – Wood offers a panoramic look at the modern novel. He effortlessly connects his encyclopaedic, eloquent understanding of the literary canon with an equally in-depth analysis of the most important authors writing today, including Cormac McCarthy, Kazuo Ishiguro, and V.S. Naipaul. Included in The Fun Stuff are the title essay on Keith Moon and the lost joys of drumming – which was a finalist for last year’s National Magazine Awards – as well as Wood’s essay on George Orwell, which Christopher Hitchens selected for the Best American Essays 2010. The Fun Stuff is indispensable reading for anyone who cares about contemporary literature.
Categories: Literary Collections

The Nearest Thing To Life

The Nearest Thing To Life

Also by James Wood NONFICTION The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel How Fiction Works The Fun Stuff and Other Essays FICTION The Book Against God For C.D.M. And in memory of ...

Author: James Wood

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9781473513501

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 144

View: 220

In this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism, James Wood has written a master class on the connections between fiction and life. He argues that, of all the arts, fiction has a unique ability to describe the shape of our lives, and to rescue the texture of those lives from death and historical oblivion. The act of reading is understood here as the most sacred and personal of activities, and there are brilliant discussions of individual works – among others, Chekhov’s story ‘The Kiss’, W. G. Sebald’s The Emigrants, and Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower. Wood reveals his own intimate relationship with the written word: we see the development of a provincial boy growing up in a charged Christian environment, the secret joy of his childhood reading, the links he makes between reading and blasphemy, or between literature and music. The final section discusses fiction in the context of exile and homelessness. The Nearest Thing to Life is not simply a brief, tightly argued book by a man commonly regarded as our finest living critic – it is also an exhilarating personal account that reflects on, and embodies, the fruitful conspiracy between reader and writer (and critic), and asks us to re-consider everything that is at stake when we read and write fiction.
Categories: Literary Collections

How to Write About Music

How to Write About Music

The Fun Stuff: Homage to Keith Moon* I had a traditional musical education, in a provincial English cathedral town. ... But what I really wanted to do, as a little boy, was play the drums, and, of those different ways of making music, ...

Author:

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781628920451

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 432

View: 227

If writing about music is like dancing about architecture, you'd do best to hone your chops and avoid clichés (like the one that begins this sentence) by learning from the prime movers. How to Write About Music offers a selection of the best writers on what is perhaps our most universally beloved art form. Selections from the critically-acclaimed 33 1/3 series appear alongside new interviews and insights from authors like Lester Bangs, Chuck Klosterman, Owen Pallet, Ann Powers and Alex Ross. How to Write About Music includes primary sources of inspiration from a variety of go-to genres such as the album review, the personal essay, the blog post and the interview along with tips, writing prompts and advice from the writers themselves. Music critics of the past and the present offer inspiration through their work on artists like Black Sabbath, Daft Punk, J Dilla, Joy Division, Kanye West, Neutral Milk Hotel, Radiohead, Pussy Riot and countless others. How to Write About Music is an invaluable text for all those who have ever dreamed of getting their music writing published and a pleasure for everyone who loves to read about music.
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines

Organic Cinema

Organic Cinema

The Attack on Literature and Other Essays. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. Werckmeister, Andreas. ... In The Fun Stuff and Other Essays, 279–91. New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. Wright, Frank Lloyd. 1941.

Author: Thorsten Botz-Bornstein

Publisher: Berghahn Books

ISBN: 9781785335679

Category: Performing Arts

Page: 238

View: 104

The “organic” is by now a venerable concept within aesthetics, architecture, and art history, but what might such a term mean within the spatialities and temporalities of film? By way of an answer, this concise and innovative study locates organicity in the work of Béla Tarr, the renowned Hungarian filmmaker and pioneer of the “slow cinema” movement. Through a wholly original analysis of the long take and other signature features of Tarr’s work, author Thorsten Botz-Bornstein establishes compelling links between the seemingly remote spheres of film and architecture, revealing shared organic principles that emphasize the transcendence of boundaries.
Categories: Performing Arts

How Fiction Works

How Fiction Works

ALSO BY JAMES WOOD ESSAYS The Fun Stuff and Other Essays The Nearest Thing to Life The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief FICTION The Book Against God Upstate Additional ...

Author: James Wood

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 1429908653

Category: Language Arts & Disciplines

Page: 288

View: 999

What makes a story a story? What is style? What's the connection between realism and real life? These are some of the questions James Wood answers in How Fiction Works, the first book-length essay by the preeminent critic of his generation. Ranging widely—from Homer to David Foster Wallace, from What Maisie Knew to Make Way for Ducklings—Wood takes the reader through the basic elements of the art, step by step. The result is nothing less than a philosophy of the novel—plainspoken, funny, blunt—in the traditions of E. M. Forster's Aspects of the Novel and Strunk and White's The Elements of Style. It sums up two decades of insight with wit and concision. It will change the way you read.
Categories: Language Arts & Disciplines

Serious Noticing

Serious Noticing

Selected Essays James Wood. ALSO BY JAMES WOOD Non-fiction The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel How Fiction Works The Fun Stuff and Other Essays The Nearest Thing to Life ...

Author: James Wood

Publisher: Random House

ISBN: 9781473571471

Category: Literary Collections

Page: 528

View: 378

The selected essays of James Wood - our greatest living literary critic and author of How Fiction Works 'James Wood is a close reader of genius... By turns luscious and muscular, committed and disdaining, passionate and minutely considered' John Banville James Wood is one of the leading critics of the age, and here, for the first time, are his selected essays. From the career-defining 'Hysterical Realism' to his more personal reflections on family, religion and sensibility, Serious Noticing offers a comprehensive overview of his writing over the last twenty years. These essays offer more than a viewpoint - they show how to bring the eye of critical reading to life as a whole. 'James Wood is one of literature’s true lovers, and his deeply felt, contentious essays are thrilling in their reach and moral seriousness' Susan Sontag
Categories: Literary Collections

Upstate

Upstate

ALSO BY JAMES WOOD FICTION The Book Against God NONFICTION The Nearest Thing to Life The Fun Stuff: And Other Essays How Fiction Works The Irresponsible Self: On Laughter and the Novel The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief ...

Author: James Wood

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 9780374718206

Category: Fiction

Page: 224

View: 132

New Yorker book critic and award-winning author James Wood delivers a novel of a family struggling to connect with one another and find meaning in their own lives. In the years since his daughter Vanessa moved to America to become a professor of philosophy, Alan Querry has never been to visit. He has been too busy at home in northern England, holding together his business as a successful property developer. His younger daughter, Helen—a music executive in London—hasn’t gone, either, and the two sisters, close but competitive, have never quite recovered from their parents’ bitter divorce and the early death of their mother. But when Vanessa’s new boyfriend sends word that she has fallen into a severe depression and that he’s worried for her safety, Alan and Helen fly to New York and take the train to Saratoga Springs. Over the course of six wintry days in upstate New York, the Querry family begins to struggle with the questions that animate this profound and searching novel: Why do some people find living so much harder than others? Is happiness a skill that might be learned or a cruel accident of birth? Is reflection conducive to happiness or an obstacle to it? If, as a favorite philosopher of Helen’s puts it, “the only serious enterprise is living,” how should we live? Rich in subtle human insight, full of poignant and often funny portraits, and vivid with a sense of place, James Wood’s Upstate is a powerful, intense, beautiful novel.
Categories: Fiction

Genetics and the Literary Imagination

Genetics and the Literary Imagination

“Wood suggests that McEwan's narrative designs do not open up but close off' see 'Containment: Trauma and Manipulation in Ian McEwan' in The Fun Stuff and Other Essays (London: Vintage, 2014), p. 185. Banville is more blunt, ...

Author: Clare Hanson

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780198813286

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 518

Oxford Textual Perspectives is a series of informative and provocative studies focused upon literary texts (conceived of in the broadest sense of that term) and the technologies, cultures, and communities that produce, inform, and receive them. It provides fresh interpretations of fundamental works and of the vital and challenging issues emerging in English literary studies. By engaging with the materiality of the literary text, its production, and reception history, and frequently testing and exploring the boundaries of the notion of text itself, the volumes in the series question familiar frameworks and provide innovative interpretations of both canonical and less well-known works. This is the first book to explore the dramatic impact of genetics on literary fiction over the past four decades. After James Watson and Francis Crick's discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 and the subsequent cracking of the genetic code, a gene-centric discourse developed which had a major impact not only on biological science but on wider culture. As figures like E. O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins popularised the neo-Darwinian view that behaviour was driven by genetic self-interest, novelists were both compelled and unnerved by such a vision of the origins and ends of life. This book maps the ways in which Doris Lessing, A.S. Byatt, Ian McEwan, and Kazuo Ishiguro wrestled with the reductionist neo-Darwinian account of human nature and with the challenge it posed to humanist beliefs about identity, agency, and morality. It argues that these novelists were alienated to varying degrees by neo-Darwinian arguments but that the recent shift to postgenomic science has enabled a greater rapprochement between biological and (post)humanist concepts of human nature. The postgenomic view of organisms as agentic and interactive is echoed in the life-writing of Margaret Drabble and Jackie Kay, which also explores the ethical implications of this holistic biological perspective. As advances in postgenomics, especially epigenetics, provoke increasing public interest and concern, this book offers a timely analysis of debates that have fundamentally altered our understanding of what it means to be human.
Categories: Literary Criticism

The Critic in the Modern World

The Critic in the Modern World

The essays are now collected under the respective titles 'George Orwell's Very English Revolution' and 'Containment: Trauma and Manipulation in Ian McEwen', The Fun Stuff and Other Essays (London: Jonathan Cape, 2013) 180–191, 204–226.

Author: James Ley

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA

ISBN: 9781623568276

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 240

View: 239

The Critic in the Modern World explores the work of six influential literary critics-Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt, Matthew Arnold, T.S. Eliot, Lionel Trilling and James Wood-each of whom occupies a distinct historical moment. It considers how these representative critics have constructed their public personae, the kinds of arguments they have used, and their core principles and philosophies. Spanning three hundred years of cultural history, The Critic in the Modern World considers the various ways in which literary critics have positioned themselves in relation to the modern tradition of descriptive criticism. In providing a lucid account of each critic's central principles and philosophies, it considers the role of the literary critic as a public figure, interpreting him as someone who is compelled to address the wider issues of individualism and the social implications of the democratising, secularising, liberalising forces of modernity.
Categories: Literary Criticism

Novel Style

Novel Style

The Fun Stuff and Other Essays (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012). Wood, James. 'Books of the Year'. New Yorker, 17 December 2012. http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/books-of-the-year. Wood, Michael.

Author: Ben Masters

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780192546869

Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 224

View: 672

We live in a time of linguistic plainness. This is the age of the tweet and the internet meme; the soundbite, the status, the slogan. Everything reduced to its most basic components. Stripped back. Pared down. Even in the world of literature, where we might hope to find some linguistic luxury, we are flirting with a recessionary mood. Big books abound, but rhetorical largesse at the level of the sentence is a shrinking economy. There is a prevailing minimalist sensibility in the twenty-first century. Novel Style is driven by a conviction that elaborate writing opens up unique ways of thinking; crucial and enriching ways that are endangered when expression is reduced to its leanest possible forms. By re-examining the works of frequently misunderstood English stylists of the late twentieth century (Anthony Burgess, Angela Carter, Martin Amis), as well as a newer generation of twenty-first-century stylists (Zadie Smith, Nicola Barker, David Mitchell), Ben Masters argues for the ethical power of stylistic flamboyance in fiction and demonstrates how being a stylist and an ethicist are one and the same thing. A passionate championing of elaborate writing and close reading, Novel Style illuminates what it means to have style and how style can change us. .
Categories: Literary Criticism