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Daniel Green
Interests: Good writing, creative and critical.
Recent Activity
Discussing the peer review process involved in the publication of his upcoming book on Charles Ives, composer/musicologist Kyle Gann notes the pressure on an academic author to quote other scholars liberally or be accused of “insufficient engagement with work in the field.” Gann objects that "apparently if I mention a... Continue reading
Scott Esposito on Patrick Modiano: Part of the allure of an unsolvable mystery is the belief that we will somehow master it; “Suspended Sentences” hums with that impossibility. Modiano’s unconventional accounts of vanished hours show how the urge to solve a long-lost crime, or to reclaim forgotten memories, ultimately leads... Continue reading
Laura Frost, The Problem With Pleasure: Modernism and Its Discontents (Open Letters Monthly) Peter Handke, Storm Still (Full Stop) Kyle Minor, Praying Drunk (Full Stop) Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World (Full Stop) Davis Schneiderman, [SIC] (American Book Review) Ted Underwood, Why Literary Periods Mattered (The Quarterly Conversation) Gabriel Blackwell, The... Continue reading
I certainly agree that reviewers of translations "must have knowledge of the original language and culture of the work in order to be able to really evaluate the translation within their review" (Reading in Translation). I would go farther and say that a critic needs to have such knowledge if... Continue reading
David Abbott on two books by David Albahari: Since his move to Canada, now with the added layer of immigrant experience, now as an emigrant from his homeland, Albahari has continued to question the exact meaning of writing, to explore the possibilities and limitations of narration and of identity. Gabriel... Continue reading
Sam Sacks on James Wood: These biases can be exasperating, in part because they make Wood predictable. You sometimes feel you need only read a book’s dust-jacket synopsis to anticipate his glowering judgment or satisfied approbation. More troubling is the frequent tone of moral hectoring. Like all born-agains, Wood cannot... Continue reading
While going through my archives in order to export them to this new address, I came across this orphaned post, which I apparently wrote in a fit of disgust with Nobel Prize speculation but wisely decided not to publish: The 2011 Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Moe... Continue reading
Posted Nov 28, 2014 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
New address for The Reading Experience: Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at The Reading Experience
The Laughing Monsters is not an altogether tedious read. Its origins in Johnson’s own reporting on the situation in Africa gives its rendering of character and setting a tacit authenticity. The plot has its moments of high tension, and the narration by Nair succeeds in immersing us in the story.... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2014 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
Garrett Caples, "Surrealism Is a Romantic Critique of the Avant-Garde from Within": The assertion that surrealism “eschews the traditional criteria…by which one judges a piece of writing” is certainly a strawman argument in 2014, inasmuch as the proposed criteria (“taste, beauty, structure, depth, symbolism”) haven’t been live considerations in any... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Daniel Green's The Reading Experience
I fear that the house style of Htmlgiant, which billed itself as the literary magazine of the future, is becoming something like the norm. If that site (now apparently defunct) is a model for the future, contributors are going to have to become better at reviewing, or literature is in a lot of trouble.
Toggle Commented Oct 12, 2014 on Something Wrong at DANIEL GREEN
All future posts will now appear here. Continue reading
Posted Oct 13, 2013 at thereadingexperience
My review of Pynchon's Bleeding Edge has now been posted at Full Stop: Bleeding Edge is a book worth reading simply because it’s by Thomas Pynchon, although anyone contemplating it as an introduction to Pynchon’s work should instead go immediately to V or Gravity’s Rainbow or even The Crying of Lot 49, which, although now apparently somewhat disdained by Pynchon, has long served as a more accessibly condensed example of Pynchon’s literary strategies and worldview. Ultimately, however, Bleeding Edge is not so much “minor” Pynchon as it is a kind of synthetic replica of a Thomas Pynchon novel, all the... Continue reading
Posted Oct 10, 2013 at thereadingexperience
In a review of the novel in Review 31, Helen McClory makes a curious criticism of Helen DeWitt's 2011 novel, Lightning Rods: What it lacks is interiority. The narration, because it is so slick and over-worked, has the feel of a voice-over; it's all surface, even when we are ostensibly presented with access to the minds of the characters. This creates a sensation of hollowness. . . The total misperception of DeWitt's purpose in Lightning Rods is extraordinary. As almost all other reviewers of this novel observed, it is most certainly a novel of "interiority," although it is a special... Continue reading
Posted Sep 7, 2013 at thereadingexperience
My review of Those Whom I Would Like to Meet Again by the Lithuanian writer Giedra Radvilaviciute is now available in the Fall issue of The Quarterly Conversation: What is most significant in the publisher’s description of Radvilaviciute’s writing is that it identifies the contents of this book as “stories.” Although these “stories” are further characterized as “combining fiction, memoir, and essay,” this attempted clarification is more confusing that illuminating—to what extent can fiction, memoir, and essay really be “combined”?—and finally doesn’t adequately prepare the reader for the true indeterminacy of genre these stories achieve. Clearly enough the intention is... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2013 at thereadingexperience
Graham Harman's attempt to elevate H.P. Lovecraft to the pantheon of supreme literary artists in his book, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy (Zero Books, 2012), begins with a defense of Lovecraft's work against what is probably the most famous dismissal of it, made by the critic Edmund Wilson in the 1930s. "The principal feature of Lovecraft's work," wrote Wilson, "is an elaborate concocted myth" about "a race of outlandish gods and grotesque prehistoric peoples who are always playing tricks with time and space and breaking through into the contemporary world, usually somewhere in Massachusetts." One of Lovecraft's stories, "At the... Continue reading
Posted Aug 24, 2013 at thereadingexperience
My review of Joseph McElroy's Cannonball is now available at Full Stop. Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2013 at thereadingexperience
I am currently writing an extended response to Graham Harman's book, Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy, but there are some issues related to Harman's underlying assumptions, assumptions directly related to Object-Oriented Ontology/Speculative Realism, that I also need to think my way through even if I don't take them up directly in the response. These issues concern Harman's critique of New Criticism, specifically represented by Cleanth Brooks. Harman asserts that Brooks was guilty of what Harman calls the "Taxonomic Fallacy," by which he makes an untenable distinction between literature and the discourse of science and philosophy. "For while it is correct... Continue reading
Posted Jul 16, 2013 at thereadingexperience
(Note: This essay was published in the American Book Review in 2000. In the thirteen years since, ABR has never made it available online, so I am taking advantage of the fact that I recently discovered the typescript of the essay to post it here. The essay still seems pertinent to me, although the "curricular wars" were perhaps more heated in the late 1990s than now.) In his recent book In Plato's Cave, Alvin Kernan describes a career crisis that he no doubt shared with many other literary scholars of his generation: The canon of great books, authors and their... Continue reading
Posted Jul 9, 2013 at thereadingexperience
My review of William Gass's Middle C is now available at Identity Theory: If writers such as Gary Lutz, Diane Williams, and Christine Schutt have brought increased attention to the sentence as the fundamental, perhaps even self-sufficient, source of aesthetic interest in fiction, the most important precursor to their particular kind of inspired sentence-making must be William H. Gass. While these writers cite Gordon Lish and his notion of “consecution” as the most immediate influence on their own practice of allowing form to evolve from the serial progression of meticulously constructed sentences rather than regarding form as the pre-existing container... Continue reading
Posted Jun 24, 2013 at thereadingexperience
I've rarely read an essay whose title so inaccurately signals its content than Annie Murphy Paul's "Reading Literature Makes Us Smarter and Nicer," posted at It is ostensibly a response to Gregory Currie's post on the New York Times's Opinionator blog, "Does Great Literature Make Us Better?," but in fact after quoting Currie's contention there is little evidence "that people are morally or socially better for reading Tolstoy," Paul does not discuss "literature" at all but instead moves on to make claims about the nature of reading that can't withstand scrutiny and do nothing to show that reading literary... Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2013 at thereadingexperience
My review of Haruf's Benediction at Full Stop: If Benediction does seem “authentic” as a kind of slice-of-life account of the lives of people like those living in his fictional Holt County, we might nevertheless still ask whether, 150 years after its ascension, this sort of realism retains credibility as an aesthetic strategy in fiction. If we grant that Haruf employs the conventions associated with such realism very well, what do we find in a novel like this that we wouldn’t find in the fiction of those writers on whose work it is modeled? What do we find that is... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at thereadingexperience
In a post at the Guardian's Books blog, Stuart Kelly argues that we have reached the end of the "genre wars" in criticism, although this has not yet fully registered with publishers and booksellers, who still cling to increasingly "irrelevant" distinctions among genres. Although I can't disagree with Kelly that few literary critics would want to "dismiss genre writing solely on the basis that it is genre writing," the very fact that "genre" is no longer a barrier to critical respectability (to the extent it ever was) makes his reasoning when accounting for the persistence of genre categories all the... Continue reading
Posted May 20, 2013 at thereadingexperience
Colin Marshall provides a very good introduction to the South Korean novelist Kim Young-ha, but in the midst of discussing the newly translated Black Flower, he suddenly informs us parenthetically that "I look forward to Korea's coming film adaptation of Your Republic is Calling You, but a cinematic version of Black Flower could do even better, with this high watermark of futility in its New Korea episode, assuming it finds the right director — Werner Herzog, for instance." This preoccupation with the film version, or the possibility of a film version, of a work of fiction has become very annoying... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2013 at thereadingexperience
It appears there are still those in mainstream media and publishing worrying over the the dilution of "standards" in the era of the internet and of self-publishing. Alison Walsh at the Irish Independent is concerned that In the 'anyone can do it' age, it seems that all you have to do is join a creative writing group, or upload a short story on to one of many websites, or chat to your friends on author forums and hey, presto. But while writing courses can encourage a certain standard, can make you aware of point of view and plot development, can... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2013 at thereadingexperience