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What does literature know? Does it offer us knowledge of its own or does it only interrupt and question other forms of knowledge? This 2005 book seeks to answer and to prolong these questions through the close examination of individual works and the exploration of a broad array of examples. Chapters on Henry James, Kafka, and the form of the villanelle are interspersed with wider-ranging inquiries into forms of irony, indirection and the uses of fiction, with examples ranging from Auden to Proust and Rilke, and from Calvino to Jean Rhys and Yeats. Literature is a form of pretence. But every pretence could tilt us into the real, and many of them do. There is no safe place for the reader: no literalist's haven where fact is always fact; and no paradise of metaphor, where our poems, plays and novels have no truck at all with the harsh and shifting world.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521606530
ISBN-10: 0521606535
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 138mm x 12mm)
Pages: 216
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 29-Sep-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Michael Wood

Michael Wood is the Charles Barnwell Straut Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. Currently he is the Chair of the English Department at Princeton and, from 1995-2001, he was the Director of Gauss Seminars in Criticism at Princeton. He is the recipient of many fellowships and honours, including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and is an ongoing Fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities. He is an editiorial board member of Kenyon Review. His works include books on Stendhal, Garcia Marquez, Nabakov, Kafka, and films. Additionally, he is a widely published essayist, with articles on film and literature in London Review of Books, New York Review of Books, New York Times Book Review, New Republic and others.

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