> Skip to content
About the book
  • 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 and author of How Fiction Works

The selected essays of James Wood - our greatest living literary critic and 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 one of the leading critics of the age, and here, for the first time, are his selected essays. From the career-defining 'Hysterical Realism' to his more personal reflections on family, religion and sensibility, Serious Noticing offers a comprehensive overview of his writing over the last twenty years. These essays offer more than a viewpoint - they show how to bring the eye of critical reading to life as a whole.

'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

  • Pub date: 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

“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

“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