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“Limited, arrogant and self-satisfied”: the English novel?

29/07/2010

The English novel suffered a blistering attack from Gabriel Josipovici, the former Weidenfeld professor of comparative literature at Oxford University, who labelled Julian Barnes a “smart alec”, Rushdie a show-off and McEwan “hollow”.

He went on to say that “Reading Barnes, like reading so many other English writers of his generation – Martin Amis, McEwan – leaves me feeling that I and the world have been made smaller and meaner.”

It’s just a pity we have no idea who Mr Josipovici is.

Read the full article in the Guardian

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 30/07/2010 15:07

    Since the late 1960s Gabriel Josipovici has been publishing short stories and novels, and he has written many plays for the stage and radio. His last fiction title, _After & Making Mistakes_, came out in 2009, from Carcanet, which is bringing out a collection of his short fiction this fall. A new novel is also coming out this fall from CB Editions, titled _Only Joking_. With all these books, as well as his many non-fiction titles, it’s somewhat strange to read him classed as a literary academic (in the _Guardian_, and other places which have picked up the story), or identified as “the former Weidenfeld professor of comparative literature at Oxford University”, as if his fiction meant nothing. However, his liking for formal invention does keep him from the front pages of books’ sections in most newspapers. Reviews of his work can be found in literary journals and on the web. A little sleuthing will tell you something about Josipovici.

    You write: “The English novel suffered a blistering attack from Gabriel Josipovici…” Maybe there is another way to look at it. Perhaps — and I say this not having read the book — there is a curative aspect to what he writes; maybe the nglish novel will benefit from his analysis. Even if that is too sunnily optimistic for people to accept –though Josipovici, in his fiction and non-fiction, comes across as generous and humane — it’s better, surely, to leave all options open, and it is an exaggeration to say that such a broad creature as ‘the english novel’ could suffer damage at the hands of one man. Don’t you think?

    Best,
    Jeff

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