The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Tuesday, October 31, 2006  

Inflicting Justifiable Pain

Disgraced former New Republic writer and sock-puppet-deploying blogger Lee Siegel's new collection of essays, Falling Upwards: Essays in Defense of the Imagination, was reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review section with "Praise and Blame," by Michael Wood, professor of English and comparative literature at Princeton University.

The essay is worth a look. After introducing the collection, Wood writes:

Much of this argument is too shallow to be wrong. The novel is collapsing into memoir only if you pay no attention to what many good novelists are doing, and a person who thinks "best-selling novels, like 'The Da Vinci Code,' read like actual histories" needs to read a little more history. The attractive opposite of the contemporary pecking order is not another pecking order, but a realm where pecking is not the main issue. And if you are seeking audacity or a resistance to convention, perhaps a New York party is not the best place to start, even if you could float back into the early days of The Partisan Review.

And Wood's review scarcely grows kinder from there.

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