Magazine
Latest Issue

The monk of metaphor

James Wood, Britain's most brilliant literary critic, has published a novel. Can the merciless arbiter live up to his own critical standards?

By Jason Cowley   April 2003

Book: The Book Against God Author: James Wood Price: (Jonathan Cape, ?12.99)

James Wood conforms in many ways to my romantic ideal of the critic. He is not someone for whom literary criticism is a mere profession or a discipline. For Wood, criticism is a vocation, a secular calling.

When Wood, who is 37, first emerged as a young writer on the ‘Guardian’ in the late 1980s, his reviews had a strange, sanctimonious fervour. There was nothing quite like them. They resembled polemical sermons rather than reviews; even then, he seemed to have read everything of value and to know…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to letters@prospect-magazine.co.uk

More From Prospect