James  Wood

James Wood


Born
in Durham, England , The United Kingdom
November 01, 1965


James Douglas Graham Wood is an English literary critic, essayist and novelist. He is currently Professor of the Practice of Literary Criticism at Harvard University (a part-time position) and a staff writer at The New Yorker magazine.
Wood advocates an aesthetic approach to literature, rather than more ideologically-driven trends in academic literary criticism.
Wood is noted for coining the genre term hysterical realism, which he uses to denote the contemporary conception of the "big, ambitious novel" that pursues vitality "at all costs." Hysterical realism describes novels that are characterized by chronic length, manic characters, frenzied action, and frequent digressions on topics secondary to the story.

Average rating: 4.06 · 20,587 ratings · 1,595 reviews · 29 distinct worksSimilar authors
How Fiction Works

3.97 avg rating — 4,769 ratings — published 2008 — 45 editions
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The Fun Stuff: And Other Es...

3.82 avg rating — 341 ratings — published 2012 — 12 editions
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The Broken Estate: Essays o...

4.07 avg rating — 339 ratings — published 1999 — 11 editions
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The Nearest Thing to Life

3.92 avg rating — 343 ratings — published 2015 — 14 editions
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The Irresponsible Self: On ...

4.12 avg rating — 219 ratings — published 2004 — 8 editions
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The Book Against God

3.15 avg rating — 220 ratings — published 2003 — 10 editions
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Upstate

3.72 avg rating — 60 ratings — published 2018 — 2 editions
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The Myth of Sisyphus

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4.14 avg rating — 13,930 ratings — published 1942 — 166 editions
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The Golovlyov Family

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4.04 avg rating — 1,834 ratings — published 1880 — 60 editions
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Selected Short Stories

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3.88 avg rating — 971 ratings — published 1971 — 15 editions
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“Literature differs from life in that life is amorphously full of detail, and rarely directs us toward it, wheras literature teaches us to notice. Literature makes us better noticers of life; we get to practice on life itself; which in turn makes us better readers of detail in literature; which in turn makes us better readers of life.”
James Wood, How Fiction Works

“Life, then will, always contain an inevitable surplus, a margin of the gratuitous, a realm in which there is always more than we need: more things, more impressions, more memories, more habits, more words, more happiness, more unhappiness.”
James Wood, How Fiction Works

“When I talk about free indirect style I am really talking about point of view, and when I talk about point of view I am really talking about the perception of detail, and when I talk about detail I'm really talking about character, and when I talk about character I am really talking about the real, which is at the bottom of my inquiries.”
James Wood, How Fiction Works

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