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Daniel Green
Interests: Good writing, creative and critical.
Recent Activity
My review of Scott Donaldson's The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography at Open Letters Monthly: If Donaldson believes that the claim for biography as a critical tool doesn’t need defending, he is wrong. That biography in itself can enlighten us about a writer’s work is mere conjecture short of an explanation... Continue reading
Anyone who has read Gilbert Sorrentino knows that he was constantly trying out structural devices that would substitute for conventional narrative in fiction. In a 2006 review I wrote of Sorrentino's penultimate novel, A Strange Commonplace, a structurally bifurcated novel whose twin halves mirror and repeat each other, I suggested... Continue reading
Posted Aug 18, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
"Literary citizenship" is a concept that many writers apparently take quite seriously, as it has evolved from a metaphorical notion that writers should advocate on behalf of literature generally to a quasi-literal requirement that they be good citizens in the "literary community" at large, whose well-being they are expected to... Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Tom LeClair's Lincoln's Billy is a work of revisionist historical fiction somewhat similar to Thomas Berger's Little Big Man or Pynchon's Mason & Dixon. Like those novels, it refuses to take iconic American history at face value, presents a version of that history at odds with received wisdom and national... Continue reading
Posted Jul 24, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of Joshua Cohen's Book of Numbers: Readers who may have shied away from Joshua Cohen’s previous novel, Witz (2010), because of its daunting length (over 800 pages) and presumed difficulty will probably find his new novel, Book of Numbers, rather less intimidating and more accessible, if not exactly... Continue reading
My essay-review of Harold Jaffe's Induced Coma is now available at The Kenyon Review Online: If any writer deliberately proceeded throughout his career to almost ensure his work would be ignored by critics and publishers, it would have to be Harold Jaffe. Jaffe has steadfastly continued to write fiction that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Each of Jeremy M. Davies's first two novels, Rose Alley (2009) and Fancy (2014), emphatically reject the notion that, in fiction, form serves content, proceeding instead as each of them do by establishing a form to which narrative content must accommodate itself. Rose Alley especially subordinates its "story" to the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
The impatience with which many writers (and some critics) regard "negative" reviews is in part a natural enough response, reflecting the tense relationship between artists and their critics that has probably always existed. On the other hand, it seems to me that such tension has become particularly acute in our... Continue reading
Posted May 31, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Experimental Fiction Now The Art of Disturbance: On the Novels of James Purdy Literary Pragmatism Continue reading
Posted May 23, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
"The increasing popularity of the prose poem among current poets has itself brought the two forms into closer proximity, through the confluence of prose poetry and what is called “flash fiction.” Not all writers of flash fiction, of course, regard it as a version of prose poetry, but rather as... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
I am making available here an e-book I have written on the current state and status of "experimental fiction." It does draw on essays and reviews previously written and published in various places (including the first iteration of this blog), but I have substantially recast them and added significantly to... Continue reading
In the "Interchapter: A Manifesto," included in The Anxiety of Influence, Harold Bloom asserts that "True poetic history is the story of how poets as poets have suffered other poets, just as any true biography is the story of how anyone suffered his own family--or his own displacement of family... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
In his introduction to Infinite Fictions, his new collection of the reviews he has written over the past several years, David Winters refers to the review as "trivial," even contending that "triviality is among the allures of the form." Of course, Winters surely does not really think his reviews are... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Dawn Raffel is now probably best known for her 2012 book, The Secret Life of Objects, an unorthodox memoir in which the author invokes her past through reflections prompted by various objects she still possesses. While this book succeeds on its own terms, offering a concise but affecting account of... Continue reading
My essay review of the fiction of Steve Tomasula at The Kenyon Review: Tomasula has cited the influence on his work of such writers as Raymond Federman, Gilbert Sorrentino, and William Gass, all of whom similarly unsettle our usual way of reading—on pages with blocks of text, read sequentially from... Continue reading
David Bordwell: Remember Web 1.0, when blogs were really logs? You know, diary-like accounts of events befalling the writer? The sense that every instant of one’s life needs preserving and broadcasting got absorbed into Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I suppose. Today blogs are more likely to feature essayistic thinking.... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
An Introduction to Literary Minimalism: I refute the equation that ‘less’ does indeed mean ‘less’ by suggesting ways in which less becomes more in the collections of minimalist short stories of these three writers. It is my contention that ‘more’ means a richness of effect, an interpretative polyvalency, an interactive... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Justin St. Clair on two new books about Thomas Pynchon: IN MANY RESPECTS, literary criticism is inherently revisionist, so it should come as little surprise that the grand old eremite of American letters should himself be undergoing something of a late-career reevaluation, even before he shoves off, gently or otherwise,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 27, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Stephen Mitchelmore, "'Foreign to the resources of literature'": The shock is a minor one and this is not a post to complain of its omission or to speculate on the competence of the judges [of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize] and instead to wonder if the failure of such novels... Continue reading
Posted Mar 26, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Sarah Gerard's Binary Star is not a formally conventional novel, although it is an intensely realistic one. Conventional storytelling and realism are frequently conflated, as if the latter requires the former to manifest itself or the former naturally produces the latter. But neither is the case. Plot-driven fiction, to the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
There is no inherent reason why what is called "academic criticism" cannot be of interest to non-academic readers. Certainly the formalist approach of New Criticism, which offers the reader a more focused perspective on the way a work of literature produces its effects, as well as an older-style historical criticism,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of Tom McCarthy's Satin Island is now available at Full Stop: The most obvious explanation for the way McCarthy’s books have been received, at least in Great Britain, is that British fiction largely skipped over the phase in 20th century fiction generally labeled “postmodern,” instead renewing after World... Continue reading
Posted Mar 12, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Laura Miller on Miranda July's The First Bad Man: July’s previous book, No One Belongs Here More Than You, was a story collection, and the short form, with its brief glimpse into a character’s life, is better suited to her aesthetic. It’s true that if you dig deeply enough, you... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Patricia Albers on Van Gogh, by Julian Bell: This book is to comprehensive biography as memoir is to autobiography. In fact, “Van Gogh” is dwarfed by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith’s 900-plus-page “Van Gogh: The Life” (2011). Leaving sleuthing and psychological heavy lifting to them, Bell interprets; the result... Continue reading
Rohan Maitzen, herself a long-time proponent and distinguished practitioner of "academic blogging," recently wondered whether the "hope for the beneficent effects of blogging" expressed by many of the earliest champions of academic litblogging (including, it must be said, me) "fizzled out, or [was]. . .(even to a minor extent) realized."... Continue reading