Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays

Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays

Book - 2016
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In a collection that includes new essays written explicitly for this volume, one of our sharpest and most influential critics confronts the past, present, and future of literary culture. If every outlet for book criticism suddenly disappeared -- if all we had were reviews that treated books like any other commodity -- could the novel survive? In a gauntlet-throwing essay at the start of this brilliant assemblage, Cynthia Ozick stakes the claim that, just as surely as critics require a steady supply of new fiction, novelists need great critics to build a vibrant community on the foundation of literary history. For decades, Ozick herself has been one of our great critics, as these essays so clearly display. She offers models of critical analysis of writers from the mid-twentieth century to today, from Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Kafka, to William Gass and Martin Amis, all assembled in provocatively named groups: Fanatics, Monsters, Figures, and others. Uncompromising and brimming with insight, these essays are essential reading for anyone facing the future of literature in the digital age.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
ISBN: 9780544703711
Branch Call Number: 808.84 OZ5
Characteristics: 211 pages ; 22 cm


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Oct 12, 2016

This collection of highly intellectualized essays is designed to build into a full-blown extolling of the Jews in the world of literature. The latter essays offer their heavy doses of Hitler, Nazis, and concentration camps.

All the Jews mentioned in this collection receive glowing tribute except for Norman Mailer, "a distant unregretted noise." This slight of Mailer is couched as the public view of this writer after his death, but it, with another slight given elsewhere in the book, suggests that Ozick herself holds copyright to the denigration.

Devotees of Franz Kafka may enjoy "Transcending the Kafkaesque." In our age of what Ozick calls "soon-to-be-forgotten novelists," she chooses Saul Bellow in a separate essay as the writer surely to last.


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