Underworld by Don Delillo

Submission by Linda C.

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  1. Dildar says:

    Oct 9, 2012

    Thanks for the fresh dose of James Wood. Might be interesting to hear what *he* would make of The Sea.This was prtlicuaarly fresh and clear bit from the interview:RB: I don’t know if you have burdened yourself, as a student of literature and a lover of literature who needs to generalize and thus you are required to be consistent.JW: That’s part of the problem of writing about fiction. That you are continually taking—that’s actually a good description of the dilemma of the critic—whether in praise or in dispraise. You have only rhetorical authority. People who don’t like me sometimes send me letters, “I can’t stand your air of authority.” I don’t reply to them generally but what I want to reply to them is, “It seems like authority but, of course, it’s only rhetorical because it’s made there, freshly in each piece.” Interesting that he describes the predicament in this way, as I think one of the virtues of his work is that it consistently rises to this challenge. He never lounges on his critic’s chair and shots off his little popgun. Rather, he does precisely what he has described in this passage. This is also reflected earlier when he talks about Peck about Peck’s *not* taking his reader’s along. It’s clear through these passages and throughout the interview that Wood writes to be read, and, what’s more, understood. No wonder then, that he’s such a pleasure to read. And perhaps this is the quality, as much as the acuity and breadth of his mind, that leaves one feeling not only enlightened, but in some sense ennobled, reading his crticism.

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