Friday, January 25, 2008

One critic ...

... regards another: John Freeman on fearsome literary critic, James Wood. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

I think this is true:
The result - in America at least - is novels of immense self-consciousness with no selves in them at all,” Wood wrote a piece about the American social novel that Franzen and others were writing, “curiously arrested and very ‘brilliant' books that know a thousand things but do not know a single human being”.

But I'm not sure about this:

... now [Wood] feels that he can have a greater impact by sharing his opinion with students. “I really felt a connection,” he says of his Columbia University Master of Fine Art students in particular, “because these were people very interested in technique, and were willing to take what they learnt and go away and apply it."

I think it is that preoccupation with technique that can get in the way of knowing human beings.

1 comment:

  1. Frank,
    I'm not sure that teaching youngish people good technique--especially in conjunction with (and using the models of) great writers and critics to whom they may not have been exposed--would be a bad thing.

    That, however, is working on the assumption that the class, like any good writing class, is far more concerned with reading than with writing.