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Reflections of a working writer and reader

 

 

The Novel – more perspectives

Hermione Lee‘s essay in the New York Review of Books discusses works by Milan Kundera, Jane Smiley, Edward Mendelson, John Mullan, John Sutherland, Franco Moretti and Patrick Parrinder. There’s some good stuff in there.

The year 2006 also saw the publication, in America and Britain, of a number of books on the novel, as widely varying as the genre they describe. They ranged from the personal to the magisterial, from the historical to the technical (and from the chatty to the portentous). They were aimed at reading groups, students, scholars, browsers, theorists, anti-theorists, would-be novelists, and that slippery individual, “the common reader.” They spoke a great many different critical languages. But they all, in their fashion, paid tribute to a phrase from Virginia Woolf (used for the title of one of these books), “A thing there was that mattered.”

Thanks to Jenny Davidson of Light Reading, for pointing me to this essay

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