Monday, July 28, 2014

Michael Schmidt: The Novel: A Biography

I'm going to read a very long work on literary criticism. I try, of course, to keep abreast of lit-crit theory, and I encounter it often in much of my editing work, but this 1200-page book by Michael Schmidt differs from that sort of literary criticism, or so says Jim Higgins in his review, "Michael Schmidt's 'The Novel: A Biography' captures life, history, connections of literature" (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 18, 2014):
In the book's distinguishing feature, Schmidt taps the opinions of novelists about each other, rather than leaning on professional critics a la Harold Bloom (only cited once in this gigantic volume). The likes of Woolf, Ford Madox Ford and Jonathan Lethem offer insight and argument alongside Schmidt. "The most penetrating insights into Cervantes are those of Fielding, Smollett and Sterne, of Stendhal and Flaubert and Turgenev, Dickens and Faulkner and Hunter S. Thompson; not only what they say about 'Don Quixote,' but how they incorporate the sad knight and his sidekick into their own imagination," Schmidt writes.
This sounds like the sort of lit-crit book I've been reading for, and if it is the one, I'll keep you posted.

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