> Skip to content
  • Published: 7 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473571471
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528

Serious Noticing

Selected Essays




The selected essays of James Wood - our greatest living literary critic

FROM THE AUTHOR OF HOW FICTION WORKS

'James Wood is a close reader of genius... By turns luscious and muscular, committed and disdaining, passionate and minutely considered' John Banville

James Wood is our greatest modern literary critic. Described by the Guardian as 'urgent and morally demanding'; Susan Sontag declared him to be 'one of literature’s true lovers'. Here, for the first time, are his selected essays. From the decade-defining 'Hysterical Realism' to his more personal reflections on family, religion and sensibility, Serious Noticing promises to offer a comprehensive overview of Wood's writing over the last twenty years.

'James Wood is one of literature’s true lovers, and his deeply felt, contentious essays are thrilling in their reach and moral seriousness' Susan Sontag

  • Published: 7 November 2019
  • ISBN: 9781473571471
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 528

About the author

James Wood

James Wood has been a staff writer at the New Yorker since 2007. In 2009, he won the National Magazine Award for reviews and criticism. He was the chief literary critic at the Guardian from 1992 to 1995, and a book critic at the New Republic from 1995 to 2007. He has published a number of books with Cape, including How Fiction Works, which has been translated into thirteen languages.

Also by James Wood

See all

Praise for Serious Noticing

James Wood is one of literature’s true lovers, and his deeply felt, contentious essays are thrilling in their reach and moral seriousness

Susan Sontag

In the unspooling sentences and paragraphs of the many fine and often seriously dandy essays that follow in this collection . . . Wood shows himself a maestro of tone and inflection. His sustained close attention as he interrogates the writers he loves is genuinely something to behold

Tim Adams, Observer

Like all good critics, James Wood is a story-teller of the art of reading, recreating the experience on the page for us’

Francis Spufford

The two voices mingling in this collection give a beautiful, moving sense of the stakes of criticism as Wood has practiced it, vigorously, without interruption for 30 years... No modern critic has exerted comparable influence in how we read . . . Wood writes as if enmeshed in the text itself; registering shifts in point of view and perspective with seismographic precision

Parul Sehgal, The New York Times Book Review

Critics like James Wood not only help readers to read but especially, perhaps, help the author as well

Elena Ferrante

James Wood is a close reader of genius... By turns luscious and muscular, committed and disdaining, passionate and minutely considered

John Banville

The most urgent and morally demanding critic around

Guardian

An authentic literary critic, very rare in this bad time… Wood is always urgent, lucid, and interesting

Harold Bloom

Wood writes more incisively than almost anyone producing criticism today. His ability to transform complex, anxious thought into lucid, exciting prose is everywhere present

Janet Malcolm

James Wood has been called our best young critic. This is not true. He is our best critic; he thinks with a sublime ferocity… To enter Wood’s mind is to cross a threshold: from the reviewer commonplaces that pass for essay-writing into the intellectual daring that portends literary permanence

Cynthia Ozick

The most influential critic of his generation

William Skidelsky, New Statesman

Deservedly famous for the intellectual dazzle, literary acuteness and moral seriousness of his essays on everything from the King James Bible to Don DeLillo ... Wood writes like a dream

Daniel Mendelsohn, New York Times Book Review

James Wood, the critic, is one of the few living practitioners of his craft who will be read fifty years from now

Brian Morton, The Nation

Packed with…insight… [and a] concern for the messiness of emotional truth… Over the years, as this volume demonstrates, Wood has learned not only to dissect that habit of mind, but also to practise it

Tim Adams, Observer

Related titles