The Nearest Thing to Life

The Nearest Thing to Life In this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism James Wood has written a master class on the connections between fiction and life He argues that of all the arts fiction has a unique ability to des

  • Title: The Nearest Thing to Life
  • Author: JamesWood
  • ISBN: 9781611687422
  • Page: 182
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism, James Wood has written a master class on the connections between fiction and life He argues that, of all the arts, fiction has a unique ability to describe the shape of our lives, and to rescue the texture of those lives from death and historical oblivion The act of reading is understood here as the most sacred and personIn this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism, James Wood has written a master class on the connections between fiction and life He argues that, of all the arts, fiction has a unique ability to describe the shape of our lives, and to rescue the texture of those lives from death and historical oblivion The act of reading is understood here as the most sacred and personal of activities, and there are brilliant discussions of individual works among others, Chekhov s story The Kiss , W.G Sebald s The Emigrants, and Fitzgerald s The Blue Flower.Wood reveals his own intimate relationship with the written word we see the development of a provincial boy growing up in a charged Christian environment, the secret joy of his childhood reading, the links he makes between reading and blasphemy, or between literature and music The final section discusses fiction in the context of exile and homelessness The Nearest Thing to Life is not simply a brief, tightly argued book by a man commonly regarded as our finest living critic it is also an exhilarating personal account that reflects on, and embodies, the fruitful conspiracy between reader and writer and critic , and asks us to re consider everything that is at stake when we read and write fiction.

    Genevieve Valentine The Nearest Thing If Then Everyone Knows They re Dead More Stories Search The Nearest Thing to Life by James Wood Art is the nearest thing to life it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow men beyond the bounds of our personal lot George Eliot has provided the perfect epigraph for James Wood s commentary on fiction and its importance The Nearest Thing to Life The Mandel Lectures in the The Nearest Thing to Life The Mandel Lectures in the Humanities James Wood on FREE shipping on qualifying offers In this remarkable blend of memoir and criticism, James Wood, the noted contributor to the New Yorker The Nearest Thing Lightspeed Magazine The Nearest Thing A memorial doll from Mori maps the most important aspects of your memory, your speech patterns, and even your personality into a synthetic reproduction The process is painstaking our technology is exceeded only by our artistry and it leaves behind a version of you that, while it You re the Nearest Thing to Heaven You re the Nearest Thing to Heaven is a song co written and originally recorded by Johnny Cash The song was released as a single Sun with The Ways of a Woman in Love on the opposite side in August . Background You re the Nearest Thing to Heaven has a hauntingly beautiful lyric with distinct poetic overtones and was written by Cash, Hoyt Johnson, and Jimmy Atkins. the nearest thing to something Macmillan Dictionary It was the nearest thing to a home that he had ever had She described prison as the nearest thing to hell on earth Similar and similarly similar, like, comparable This is the British English definition of the nearest thing to something View American English definition of the nearest thing to something. Johnny Cash You re the nearest thing to heaven YouTube Jan , Johnny Cash You re the nearest thing to heaven. Nearest Thing to Crazy by Elizabeth Forbes Jan , Nearest Thing to Crazy Dan and a group of his friends enjoy a Sunday lunch together on a perfect summer s day They re pleased to welcome their glamorous new neighbour and novelist, Ellie, who has rented a house in the village to work on her book She likes to place herself in the centre of her plots, she says, YouTube May , Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. What is the meaning of Wellington s quote, in modern Sep , Napoleon s army was much larger He was relying on night or Blucher either the battle would end when the sun set, or Blucher s army would arrive first, which in fact happened The British position was crumbling at the time This is accurat

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    About "JamesWood"

    1. JamesWood

      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 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.

    256 thoughts on “The Nearest Thing to Life”

    1. In the essay "Serious Noticing", James Wood says that the great writers "notice" the details. It is a "Chekhovian eye for detail, the ability to notice well and seriously, the genius for selection" that infuses a story and brings it to life. He thinks of details as "nothing less than bits of life sticking out of the frieze of form, imploring us to touch them." Karl Ove Knausgaard, Chekhov, Elena Ferrante, Henry James, Saul Bellow are among the many writers he touches upon. The essay called "Why? [...]


    2. Wood and me have always gone round and round, me thinking him too too flippant about some writing I really like,, him going all deep-haaaarvard about writings I think facile and boring. Plus, he’s seemed so un-generous at times to writers. But then over-generous to others. Well, I guess he’s got his reasons, and this book has reconciled us somewhat…the wedding is BACK ON! (joke, please).This book is from a series of lectures at brandeis, and a talk at british museum and LRB’s essay. But [...]


    3. James Wood è il perfetto esempio di critica letteraria che riesce a diventare mainstream. I suoi articoli sul New Yorker sono arcinoti, ha consacrato negli USA autori come Elena Ferrante e Karl Ove Knausgard ma è altrettanto celebre per le sue stroncature (la recensione de “Il gigante sepolto” di Ishiguro è deliziosamente controcorrente). Nel suo ultimo saggio “La cosa più vicina alla vita”, l'autore decide di associare all'acume dell'analisi letteraria, la contemplazione dei propri [...]


    4. Art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot. – George EliotGeorge Eliot has provided the perfect epigraph for James Wood's commentary on fiction and its importance in our lives, more specifically its importance in his life. These four essays, which originated as lectures at Brandeis University and the British Museum, combine critical insights with memoir and it is his personal reflec [...]


    5. Four stars mainly because he sort of reiterates a few insights that appeared in previous books. Not the worst literary crime of all time, and I happen to agree with them, but there it is. But more importantly, I think he has a beautifully lucid, learned and accessible writing style and the way he weaves personal testimony with literary analysis always delights and instructsAnd here's my more comprehensive, official- type review: artsfuse/131986/fuse-book-


    6. I'm certain it helped that I heard Wood give a reading of the first part of the fourth chapter. I had his wonderfully lyrical voice, his lilting cadence, to accompany the experience of consuming his words on my own. I loved homelooseness, afterwardness, vignettes into Wood's life, and becoming familiar with his style of literary criticism. With books like these, I often find myself wanting to have a discussion with John, to hear his perspective.


    7. Una delicia de libro, James Wood -crítico literario del New Yorker- traza de manera nostálgica los hechos que, desde la infancia, lo llevaron a la literatura. Paralelamente encadena brillantes interpretaciones de clásicos como "El beso" de Chèjov y pasajes de Bellow o Knausgård. Wood lo que hace es arrojar luz sobre los detalles que diferencian a los grandes escritores del resto, propone formas de mirar.Hay espacio también para la metáfora y lo que debería de ser la crítica literaria: e [...]


    8. James Wood is charming, weaving sentimental antidotes from his own life with quotations and allusions to the many literary works which have impacted him. Waxing nostalgic, and introspective on how life matters to us, Wood is in his prime. He echoes the voice of a sharp literary critic who has softened with age.The Nearest Thing to Life is a collection of 4 short essays derived from lectures given in the past few years. In 'Why' he visits the overlapping themes between religion and literature. Th [...]


    9. So, literature for JW is the "nearest thing to life." Stories in life and literature are "dynamic combinations of surplus." [I like this definition]Literary criticism should not be about books, but a "critical retelling [] a way of writing throughbooks." [And I agree with him here too]What tells us about this book is taken from the back cover and summarizes very well the merits of the books. I always wonder who writes those praising blurbs (the editor? somebody who is paid just to read and writ [...]



    10. Absolutely great. Read it twice in one week. Can't wait to read it again. About life and fiction and the bridge between. Made me want to sit down with him for an evening or two and just listen


    11. “Literature, like art, pushes against time’s fancy—makes us insomniacs in the halls of habit, offers to rescue the life of things from the dead.”It is neither a coherently organized memoir nor a solid book of criticism, but it is very enjoyable. What can I say? I'm a sucker for James Wood because I already hold most of his opinions about fiction.


    12. (3.5) Wood blends memoir, criticism and theory in an inventive way throughout this book. I am glad that I read it, but likely wouldn't pick it up again. While the genre-bending and connection to the "real world" are enticing, if you're looking to read something by James Wood, I'd sooner reach for "How Fiction Works."


    13. What can matter more to us than questions of birth, life and death? With admirable concision, James Wood brings it to a point: “Death gives birth to the first question—Why?—and kills all the answers. And how remarkable, that this first question, the word we utter as small children when we first realize that life will be taken away from us, does not change, really, in depth or tone or mode, throughout our lives. It is our first and last question, uttered with the same incomprehension, grief [...]



    14. Wood does a nice job read through the text, not just boring into them. A great read if you need to remember why literature/storytelling is a vital part of life.


    15. James Wood gives me life (or at least, the nearest thing to it). My only problem with this extremely short book is that I wish it was longer.


    16. Revelatory. Think afresh about the nature of fiction, metaphor and sense of place, sense of belonging.


    17. James Wood has met Middle Age. Throughout this book it is evident that Wood has been gripped by the tidal pull of mid-life, looking back to his youth while turning, in the same movement, to acknowledge death. The four essays in this collection (“Why?”, “Serious Noticing”, “Using Everything”, and “Secular Homelessness”) examine: the shape of a life, the buoyancy of detail, the art in criticism, and what it means not to be at home. These are diverse topics, certainly, but Wood's st [...]


    18. Em THE NEAREST THING TO LIFE, o crítico da New Yorker e Professor de Harvard James Wood combina ensaio memorialístico e crítica literária com um resultado que fala mais ao coração do que à mente – algo que, no fundo, não é ruim. A partir de uma série de palestras que ele apresentou em 2013 na Brandeis University, Wood investiga a relação entre a arte e a vida pessoal. Acompanho seus textos na revista com atenção, embora o tipo de crítica que ele faz não é bem o tipo que mais m [...]


    19. Why do we read fiction and why do we need a literary critic to comment on what we read? Seduced by a review in the Guardian and beguiled by the title, despite feeling distinctly unqualified, I thought I’d give this short book, a blend of memoir and criticism, a go. I was looking for ideas on how to improve my own fiction writing and reviewing and, failing that, insights into why so many of us have a passion for books.The latter was the subject of the first section and, for me, the most engagin [...]


    20. A revelatory collection that analyzes fiction and literature and what makes the best of it a singular art form, what makes it "the nearest thing to life." I've always been impressed by Wood's criticism in The New Yorker, but I wasn't prepared for the level of insights that fill this 125-page volume. If one is a serious reader of fiction -- and especially if one is a writer of fiction or a writer of criticism -- this one shouldn't be missed.Just two favorite nuggets of observation: "Reading ficti [...]


    21. "Reading fiction feels radically private because so often we seem to be stealing the failed privacies of fictional characters. For sure, Shakespeare anticipates and contains all of the unruly life to be found in the modern novel. But Shakespearean soliloquy is uttered privacy (which has its roots in prayer, and ultimately in the psalms), while fictional stream of consciousness is, or tries to resemble unvoiced soliloquy. And unvoiced soliloquy seems to meet our own unfinished thoughts, with the [...]


    22. Many ideas in those essays are not that original, but the parts about James Wood's reading experiences and his personal recollections make this slim book shimmer with intelligence and genuine human emotions. The last chapter "Secular Homelessness" especially strikes a chord with me, since I began to live a boarding-school life when I was 13 (which means that every year I could only live with my parents for at the maximum of four months). As years passed by, I think my parents and I have became v [...]


    23. The book is most interesting when it discusses the author's childhood and family. It is a collection of lectures, with a considerable focus on the effects of exile on a person's life, and how this choice, when it is a choice and not a necessity, alters the trajectory of a life. It considers the sense of homelessness that exile can create. Exile, of course, is a state of mind, and the book successfully reveals how this sense of exile has influenced and affected the author's life. An interesting a [...]


    24. Essays on how art and fiction shape and texture our lives. Part criticism, part memoir. The conspiracy between reader and writer and what is at stake in reading fiction. A lovely, reflective book.


    25. This book is based on a series of lecture given by the author with the main theme of how literature is the nearest thing, even the transcended, crystalline re-imagination of life itself. The author touched upon his own life, books and authors of particular notes, and points of literature critics. Most of the mentioned authors and books are near modern contemporaries, going mostly back to early twentieth century. However, for reasons I could not entirely fathom, I do not find myself entirely enga [...]


    26. A bit academic, but insightful, short chapters from this British-American literary critic and prof. I sometimes like reading the "why" writers are who they are; their challenges, inspiration, influences. Just fascinating. Good chapter on "exiles" and what he terms 'home looseness' - about modern ex-pats of any country who write about home, but having the ability to actually return there, even as they emigrate to/live in another country.


    27. the first two chapters, one on the purpose of fiction and the other on the "serious noticing" required of artists, were phenomenal. loved all his references, he acts as an aggregator for good fiction in a way that only a book critic could. his meditations on criticism and the concept of home were also excellent, though perhaps overshadowed by the density and depth of the first half of the book. a really great read overall, i've already recommended to many friends.


    28. I read this for one of my classes this semester. I liked certain parts, especially when Wood relates his own personal experiences to reading. I got lost with some of the more theoretical parts and when he talks about short story after short story. I was looking for more of an emotional viewpoint, overall.


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