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The Broken Estate
  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446419724
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

The Broken Estate

Essays on Literature and Belief




'James Wood has been called our best young critic. This is not true, he is our best critic, he thinks with a sublime ferocity' - Cynthia Ozick.

In a series of long essays, James Wood examines the connection between literature and religious belief, in a startlingly wide group of writers. Wood re-appraises the writing of such figures as Thomas More, Jane Austen, Herman Melville, Anton Chekhov, Thomas Mann, Nikolai Gogol, Gustave Flaubert and Virginia Woolf, vigorously reading them against the grain of received opinion, and illuminatingly relating them to questions of religious and phiosophical belief.

Contemporary writers, such as Martin Amis, Thomas Pynchon and George Steiner, are also discussed, with the boldness and attention to language that have made Wood such an influential and controversial figure. Writing here about his own childhood struggle to believe, Wood says that 'the child of evangelism, if he does not believe, inherits nevertheless a suspicion of indifference'. Wood brings that suspicion to bear on literature itself. The result is a unique book of criticism.

  • Published: 1 January 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446419724
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 336

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.

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Praise for The Broken Estate

A book that makes you feel, having closed it, as if your mind has been oxygenated

Natasha Walter, Independent

He speaks in a manner dedicated to establishing no less than the truth

New York Times

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