Monday, March 10, 2008

On James Wood

James Wood, I seem to recall, has been called the greatest literary critic of our times. I might be in a better position to judge this assertion, if I could bring myself to read through anything he's written. Time and again I pick up his reviews, waiting for the magic to happen, only to be repulsed by his excess of hauteur. Yes yes, he's erudite, but can he cut to the bone? It is true that literary criticism has lost much of its appeal for me since I decided to stop trying to feed my family by doing it. But still. Wood is now the Professor of the Practice of Criticism at Harvard. It would do him well to look past practice and try to get in the game.

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