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This title in other editions

The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief

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The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.

James Wood is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. He is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God.

Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.
The first collection of essays from America's most revered literary critic—incisive, accessible, and passionately written.
"Explores the special realm of fiction with extraordinary sensitivity and incisiveness. In example after example, he makes you understand its geography as you have rarely done before."—Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"Wood is among the few contemporary writers of great consequence . . . Reading Wood, no matter the book under review, provides enormous pleasure."—Los Angeles Times

"In America, where he now makes his home, consensus is building that James Wood, a thirty-four-year-old English-man, is the best literary critic of his generation . . . Wood is not just a keen critic, our best, but a superb writer. James Wood is the kind of writer James Wood admires most: daring, meaty, boldly metaphoric and unequivocally committed."—Adam Begley, Financial Times

"Wood is a close reader of genius . . . There is a wonderful writing throughout this collection, by turns luscious and muscular, committed and disdaining, passionate and minutely considered."—John Banville, The Irish Times

 
"In a distinctively impassioned voice, James Wood advances some formidable arguments for what fiction and the truthful deployment of the imagination can be. He is one of literature's true lovers, and his deeply felt, contentious essays are thrilling in their reach and moral seriousness."—Susan Sontag

"We have very few critics . . . who can remind us that talking about literature is part of what literature is about, and talking about it with passion, precision, and out of a rich store of reading is a rare and precious gift: it is good for all of us that James Wood has it and we have James Wood."—Gabriel Josipovici, The Times Literary Supplement (London)

"He is a true critic: an urgent, impassioned reader of literature, a tireless interpreter, a live and learned intelligence, good writing company. He has adopted the essay as his own; he uses it to write, in a way the serious writer does. That's to say, he drives his ideas hard; he hungers for metaphor . . . learned . . . cunningly brilliant."—Malcolm Bradbury, The New Statesman

"James Wood is an authentic literary critic, very rare in this bad time."—Harold Bloom

"In these essays a very bold intelligence illuminates literature and culture with a dashing fluency."—Elizabeth Hardwick
 
"At a mere 33 years old, Wood has produced an unlikely and brilliant first book collecting his reviews (from the New Republic, where he is the full-time book critic, the London Review of Books and elsewhere). Neither a programmatic study nor a grab bag of occasional work, these 21 pieces give a compelling account of modern fiction that is as conscientious as it is idiosyncratic, adducing a gallery of personal heroes (Herman Melville, Nikolay Gogol, Anton Chekhov, Virginia Woolf, W.G. Sebald), of more-or-less villains (Ernest Renan, George Steiner, Toni Morrison, John Updike, Julian Barnes) and of great in-betweeners (Thomas More, T.S. Eliot, Gustave Flaubert, Philip Roth). Like Woolf's reviews, which he praises eloquently, Wood's really are essays, the incisive, beautifully turned workings of a literary mind. Even before the final, title piece, which links Wood's childhood in an evangelical Anglican family to his religious preoccupations, the book reveals a reader whose prejudices are as interesting as his conclusions, and whose radical Protestant upbringing seems to have given him an acute outsider's feel for American fiction . . . One often wonders what Wood's take would be on writers absent from these pages, Anthony Trollope, say, or Leo Tolstoy, William Gaddis or David Foster Wallace, who seem temperamentally matched to his concerns. In other words, one wants Wood reading over one's shoulder, and for a reviewer, that may be the highest possible praise."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

The first collection of essays from America's most revered literary critic--incisive, accessible, and passionately written.

Synopsis:

Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.

Synopsis:

Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.

About the Author

JAMES WOOD is a staff writer at The New Yorker and a visiting lecturer at Harvard. He is the author of two essay collections, The Broken Estate and The Irresponsible Self, and a novel, The Book Against God.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312429560
Author:
Wood, James
Publisher:
Picador USA
Author:
Wood, James
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Religion and literature
Subject:
Fiction -- 20th century.
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20100531
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.51 x 0.805 in

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Featured Titles
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General

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Product details 304 pages Picador USA - English 9780312429560 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
The first collection of essays from America's most revered literary critic--incisive, accessible, and passionately written.
"Synopsis" by , Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.
"Synopsis" by ,
Published when he was thirty-three, The Broken Estate is the first book of essays by the man who would become one of America's most esteemed literary critics. Ranging in subject from Jane Austen to John Updike, this collection introduced American readers to a new kind of humanist criticism. Wood is committed to judging literature through its connection with the soul, its appeal to our appetites and identities, and he examines his subjects rigorously, without ever losing sight of the mysterious human impulse that has made these works valuable to generations of readers.
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