Linkyland

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4 Responses to “Linkyland”

  1. Dr A Says:

    There’s also a BBC4 series on Fantasy somewhere in the pipeline.

  2. ianras Says:

    I take James Wood seriously. I think he’s thorough-going and serious-minded. His thinking has never struck me as too left field; it seems to have foregrounded the more serious parts of Pauline Kael’s film criticism and is a more specific, less systematic working out of Iris Murdoch’s writings on art. Not that I’d call those two women his influences but all three run in the same direction.

    I didn’t read the DeLillo article because I have read neither enough DeLillo nor enough of Wood’s on DeLillo to be able to form a proper response to it but the second article seems to be chasing its own tail. The content of lots of artistic work, from ‘Birth of a Nation’ to ‘Veronica Mars’, has been criticised as immoral for longer than a short time now. When the author writes “I like and admire the fiction of DeLillo, Pynchon, Foster Wallace, et al. Does that make me morally suspect in Wood’s eyes? “, I can’t help but think he misunderstands Wood pretty seriously: the reader doesn’t share in the author’s sin; the reader is sinned against.

    And the weirdness of Beckett, Nabakov and O’Connor interests Wood too; they have written about post-apocalyptic landscapes, invented nations and the appearance of the Holy Spirit respectively and he’s spoken rapturously of all three.

  3. Niall Says:

    “I like and admire the fiction of DeLillo, Pynchon, Foster Wallace, et al. Does that make me morally suspect in Wood’s eyes? “, I can’t help but think he misunderstands Wood pretty seriously: the reader doesn’t share in the author’s sin; the reader is sinned against.

    No, go and read Wood’s stuff on hysterical realism. If you like those writers, you do share the sin, in Wood’s eyes; you are an insufficiently sophisticated reader.

  4. ianras Says:

    It’s been some time since I read that essay so forgive me if I’m misremembering but I don’t believe Wood draws the readership into the moral fray. Listening to and entertaining distortions of reality isn’t a moral shortcoming; telling them is. The writers are playing in the moral sphere because Wood sees them as, essentially, lying.


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