There are two premises to this book of essays: first, crudely put, no-one gives a shit about Canadian novels, and second, they’re no good anyway. Now that I think about it, there’s a third, and it’s the most problematic: the reason Canadian fiction is no … Continue readingBook Review: Revolutions, Essays on Contemporary Canadian Fiction, by Alex Good
First appeared in The Guardian Too many academics have abandoned clarity and enthusiasm for cliquey obscurity Most readers of lit crit would doubtless agree that clear, persuasive, interesting writing is key. Why then are academics so intent on obfuscation? I recently found myself browsing and … Continue readingReadings to put you off Books
Literary Criticism – or the body of critics – should be to the writer what the Roman senate was to the Roman general in the field: an unseen presence sitting sternly in judgment over his blunders; but also voting him a triumph if he did … Continue readingEvaluative Criticism: It needs to be said…again.
In a recent article entitled ‘Two Paths for the Novel’, Zadie Smith praises what requires criticism, and criticizes what deserves praise; erects straw men in order, simply, to blow them over, and presents arguments, which, when valid, are so for the wrong reasons. Her thinking … Continue readingNetherland, Lyrical Realism, and the flip flops of Zadie Smith
Most of us, through a combination of personal experience, education and advice from others, cultivate and try to follow as best we can, a set of values, ‘final narratives,’ beliefs, or central convictions about politics, love, sex, money, religion beauty, justice…in order to live a … Continue readingWhy Read Great Literature?