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Daniel Green
Interests: Good writing, creative and critical.
Recent Activity
Sometime in 2003 I began to notice while "surfing" the internet (which then was not quite as complete in its ubiquity as it is now) certain websites focused on books and writing, generally providing brief commentary accompanied by links to reviews or articles on literary matters. Others began to appear... Continue reading
It is tempting to conclude that Terry Southern has faded from the cultural memory because his work feels unavoidably "dated" due to its contemporaneous references, its time-bound subjects, the decidedly démodé familiarity of its postwar disaffection. From this perspective, Southern was essentially a topical satirist, and, as eventually happens with... Continue reading
Posted Sep 25, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
"If, like me, you feel the obsession with theory over the last forty years has caused many critics to lose sight of the primary purpose of criticism, Daniel Green’s splendid primer returns us to square one. In assured, lucid prose, Green reminds us that a literary work should be analyzed... Continue reading
Posted Sep 19, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Contents Introduction........................................................................9 Part 1: Critical Issues.....................................................17 Close Reading • 18 The Authority of Criticism • 21 Aesthetic Autonomy • 29 The Authority of Critics • 34 Blogs and Alternative Literary Criticism • 39 Part 2: Critical Failures...................................................49 James Wood • 50 Christopher Hitchens • 65 Morris Dickstein and Historical Criticism... Continue reading
Posted Sep 17, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My essay on the fiction of Henry Green at The Quarterly Conversation: Contemplating Green’s body of work more closely, however, reveals that even to the extent that Green was willing to work loosely within the confines of this important mode of English fiction, his novels simultaneously seek to escape, enlarging... Continue reading
Posted Sep 11, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
There are really two writers at work in the fiction of Aimee Bender. First and most conspicuously we find the fabulist, who frequently invests her stories with a surface surrealism by evoking fables and fairy tales. The surreal qualities of her tales might be more pronounced and extreme (a human... Continue reading
I am sympathetic to most of what Joanna Walsh says about unconventional fiction in her recent Irish Times article, "The N Word: Against the Novel." Her question, "why not many novels, not all of which suit everyone; instead of novels that strive to create a world, why not novels that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of A.O. Scott's Better Living Through Criticism at Review 31: It is as if Scott can’t abandon the conventional journalistic imperative to ‘cover’ a subject by reporting on both sides of disputes about it, without interceding to provide some normative appraisal. But Scott seems to experience this obligation... Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My essay on the fiction of Bruce Jay Friedman is available in the new issue of The Quarterly Conversation: Friedman’s work is most often considered as a contribution to the emergence of “black humor” in American fiction, but his first novel, Stern (1962), could at the time have easily enough... Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
In a riposte to Jessa Crispin's recent complaint that a besieged literary culture has been too quick to "close ranks," leading some review editors to prefer only positive reviews, Bethanne Patrick wants to remind us that "Positive reviews, well-written and carefully thought out, certainly are part of criticism." This is,... Continue reading
From my review of Angela Woodward's Natural Wonders, now available at Full Stop: It would seem that many of the more adventurous younger women writers right now are tending toward a kind of undisguised fabulism as their chosen form of departure from conventional practice. Writers like Joanna Ruocco, Danielle Dutton,... Continue reading
Posted May 27, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of John Keene's Counternarratives has been posted at the Kenyon Review Online: John Keene’s Counternarratives is neither a collection of short stories, nor the sort of linked novel-by-proxy series that has become increasingly common in the past decade or so. This extraordinary book is instead unified by the... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of Derek Attridge's The Work of Literature, at New Rambler Review: But for the critic’s attempt to be either just or unjust, the “literary work itself” must have palpable qualities that are not simply functions of the reader’s perception. There must be the possibility that some critics might... Continue reading
Posted May 16, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of DeLillo's Zero K is available in the new issue or Open Letters Monthly: Zero K doesn’t exactly seem like self-parody, however; it is more like DeLillo has come to this DeLillo-like premise and cast of characters belatedly, after a dominant impression of “typical” DeLillo themes and motifs... Continue reading
At the Los Angeles Review of Books, I review S.D. Chrostowska's work of experimental criticism, Matches: Matches could variously be described as a miscellany, a commonplace book, a series of meditations. Some might initially regard it as a more or less disconnected collection of pensées (a quite sizable collection at... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
(Note: This is the paper I recently presented at the Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture Since 1900. It was part of this panel.) While "surfing" the world wide web in late 2003, I began noticing certain websites—they looked more like online diaries—discussing books and writers with an enthusiasm and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 27, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of Dumitru Tsepeneag's The Bulgarian Truck is available at 3:AM Magazine: Romanian novelist Dumitru Tsepeneag would seem to be among those post-communist East European writers whose fiction, as if in leaving the legacy of socialist realism as far behind as possible embraces its perceived opposite, could be described... Continue reading
Posted Feb 15, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Feb 18 Session B-3 Everyone's a Critic: Literature, Criticism and the Internet Although prominent writers such as Jonathan Franzen have accused the internet of corrupting and trivializing public discourse, online literary criticism has only become more credible and influential since its initial appearance over ten years ago. As journalists and... Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2016 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
My review of Joanna Ruocco's Dan is now available at Kenyon Review: "Clearly Joanna Ruocco would have to be included among those writers devoting themselves to the fabulative mode. Her most recent novel, Dan, is set in the fictional village named in the title, which itself seems to exist somewhere... Continue reading
CRITICAL FAILURES James Wood The limitations of James Wood's How Fiction Works become evident in just its first few pages. In his "Introduction," Wood tells us that although he admires the critics Victor Shklovsky and Roland Barthes, among their deficiencies was their failure to write as if they expected "to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at On Critics and Criticism
My essay-review of John Barth's Collected Stories at The Quarterly Conversation: While numerous works prior to Lost in the Funhouse clearly enough now seem classifiable as postmodern (including Barth’s own previous two novels), it also now seems clear that this book is most responsible for clarifying (and raising) the stakes... Continue reading
Posted Dec 13, 2015 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Full Stop Satin Island, Tom McCarthy (link) I, Bartleby, Meredith Quartermain (link) Book of Numbers, Joshua Cohen (link) Silence and Song, Melanie Rae Thon (link) Kenyon Review Online Once Human, Steve Tomasula (link) Induced Coma, Harold Jaffe (link) Open Letters Monthly The Impossible Craft: Literary Biography, Scott Donaldson (link) The... Continue reading
Sam Sacks on the "insider" ethos in contemporary fiction: What is only rarely found is fiction that starts on the outside and, by virtue of formal innovation and the manipulation of language, stays outside. These are books that deconstruct the very act of reading. . .[T]he truth is that American... Continue reading
Lisa Ruddick on the antihumanist consensus: The poststructuralist critique of the self, though associated with progressive politics, has an unobserved, conservative effect on the lived world of the profession. It protects the institutional status quo by promoting the evacuation of selves into the group. In the story behind the story,... Continue reading
I generally agree with Mark de Silva's critique of contemporary fiction's loss of "visionary" power: In fiction, it seems we’ve grown increasingly accustomed to expecting, even from those we consider our most ambitious literary artists— a previous generation’s list would have included challenging writers like Nabokov, Robbe-Grillet, Pynchon, and Gass—to... Continue reading