james wood

Writers like Flaubert have been accused of over-using metaphor, but is it possible to have too much of such a good thing? An angry question hounds my appreciation of the novel, like a hungry hyena: To what degree can metaphor be used before intruding on realism’s capacity to replicate life experience? In other words, how [...]

A good drubbing, particularly when it’s available for further discussion in the blogosphere, helps keep us engaged with important debates The internet is a wondrous place where news, even if it isn’t great literature, stays news; a place to access and interact with old facts and arguments in new ways. Here’s what I mean: I’ve [...]

“A genre is hardening. It is becoming possible to describe today’s ‘big, ambitious novel.’ Familial resemblances are asserting themselves, and a parent can be named: Dickens.” — James Wood, “Hysterical Realism.” “A spectre is haunting Europe — the spectre of communism. All the powers of old Europe have entered into a holy alliance to exorcise [...]