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Description - The Irresponsible Self by James Wood

A collection of dazzling essays from one of the world's finest and most controversial literary critics. When James Wood's first collection of essays, The Broken Estate, was published in 1999, the reviewers hailed a master critic. John Banville described Wood as a 'a close reader of genius...illuminating and exciting and compelling', and Malcolm Bradbury described him as 'a true critic: an urgent, impassioned reader of literature, a tireless interpreter, a live 'and learned intelligence'; Adam Begley, in the Financial Times, said that 'Wood is not just a keen critic, our best, but a superb writer'; in the Independent, Natasha Walter described The Broken Estate as 'a book that makes you feel, having closed it, as if your mind has been oxygenated'. The common thread in Wood's latest collection of essays is what makes us laugh - and the book is an attempt to distinguish between the perhaps rather limited English comedy (as seen in Waugh, for example) and a 'continental' tragic-comedy, which he sees as real, universal and quixotic. A particularly acerbic, and very funny, essay - which has been widely celebrated - deals with Zadie Smith, Rushdie, Pynchon and DeLillo; its title, 'Hysterical Realism', has already entered the phrasebook of literary language. With its brilliant studies of Shakespeare, Dickens and Dostoevsky, Naipaul, Pritchett and Bellow, The Irresponsible Self offers more exhilarating despatches from one of our finest living critics.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844130979
ISBN-10: 1844130975
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 136mm x 19mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-Sep-2005
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - James Wood

JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at the New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. In addition to How Fiction Works, he is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, a novel, The Book Against God.

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