Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays / Cynthia Ozick.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: "In a collection that includes new essays written explicitly for this volume, one of our sharpest and most influential critics confronts the past, present, and future of literary culture. If every outlet for book criticism suddenly disappeared -- if all we had were reviews that treated books like any other commodity -- could the novel survive? In a gauntlet-throwing essay at the start of this brilliant assemblage, Cynthia Ozick stakes the claim that, just as surely as critics require a steady supply of new fiction, novelists need great critics to build a vibrant community on the foundation of literary history. For decades, Ozick herself has been one of our great critics, as these essays so clearly display. She offers models of critical analysis of writers from the mid-twentieth century to today, from Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Kafka, to William Gass and Martin Amis, all assembled in provocatively named groups: Fanatics, Monsters, Figures, and others. Uncompromising and brimming with insight, these essays are essential reading for anyone facing the future of literature in the digital age"-- Provided by publisher.
    • Content Notes:
      The boys in the alley, the disappearing readers, and the novel's ghostly twin -- Novel or nothing : Lionel Trilling -- The lastingness of Saul Bellow -- "Please, stories are stories" : Bernard Malamud -- W.H. Auden at the 92nd Street Y -- Transcending the Kafkaesque -- Nobility eclipsed -- Writers, visible and invisible -- Out from Xanadu -- The rhapsodist -- "I write because I hate" : William Gass -- Love and levity at Auschwitz : Martin Amis -- An empty coffin : H. G. Adler.
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  • Citations
    • ABNT:
      OZICK, C. Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays. [s. l.]: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. ISBN 9780544703711. Disponível em: Acesso em: 25 jan. 2020.
    • AMA:
      Ozick C. Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2016. Accessed January 25, 2020.
    • APA:
      Ozick, C. (2016). Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved from
    • Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date:
      Ozick, Cynthia. 2016. Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
    • Harvard:
      Ozick, C. (2016) Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available at: (Accessed: 25 January 2020).
    • Harvard: Australian:
      Ozick, C 2016, Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, viewed 25 January 2020, .
    • MLA:
      Ozick, Cynthia. Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016. EBSCOhost,
    • Chicago/Turabian: Humanities:
      Ozick, Cynthia. Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
    • Vancouver/ICMJE:
      Ozick C. Critics, monsters, fanatics, and other literary essays [Internet]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2016 [cited 2020 Jan 25]. Available from:


Booklist Reviews 2016 June #1

*Starred Review* A commanding literary critic (The Din in the Head, 2006) as well as an exceptional novelist (Foreign Bodies, 2010), Ozick takes infinite pleasure in vigorously inquisitive discourse, writing in cadences conversational and incantatory as she marvels and jousts, recharging our appreciation for supple elucidation, robust expression, and intrepid opinion. Ozick launches this fresh and bracing collection with a rallying declaration: "superior criticism . . . not only unifies and interprets a literary culture, but has the power to imagine it into being." In her celebration of the critical calling, she looks to the foundational writings of Edmund Wilson and Lionel Trilling as well as that of their heirs, Harold Bloom, James Wood, Adam Kirsch, and Daniel Mendelsohn, even as she drolly acknowledges that readers are fading away, "distracted by the multiplicity of storytelling machines." Yet Ozick remains undaunted in her fiery pursuit of literary clarity, examining the letters of Bellow and the journals of Kafka, retrieving the forgotten story of American poets writing in Hebrew, and castigating today's anemic poetry in contrast to the mastery and profundity of Auden. Ardent readers will feel elated and affirmed by Ozick's passion, knowledge, insight, virtuoso style, and personal disclosures, all of which resplendently validate her credo: "Without critics, incoherence." Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

PW Reviews 2016 March #2

This essay collection from novelist (Foreign Bodies) and literary critic Ozick takes a fresh look at renowned writers of the past and present. She sorts the authors under consideration into different categories, including "Critics" (such as Edmund Wilson), "Figures" (such as Bernard Malamud and W.H. Auden), "Monsters" (such as Leo Baeck and Harold Bloom), and "Souls" (such as William Gass and Martin Amis). Ozick illuminates argument through juxtaposition. Thus, essays by Jonathan Franzen and Ben Marcus are seen as seeking, but not finding, "an infrastructure of serious criticism." Lionel Trilling, "the most celebrated critic of his time," is seen here through the lens of his fiction, and Saul Bellow through his letters rather than his novels. A piece on Kafka is partly biographical essay and partly exploration of the nature of biography. Hebrew, as language and identity marker, takes center stage for a public conversation between Marilynne Robinson and Robert Alter at the 92nd Street Y, forging links to Ozick's recurring theme of Jewish identity, and to her last section devoted to Holocaust literature. The Beat Generation comes in for a bit of scolding along the way, but Ozick opens more doors than she closes. "Serious criticism is surely a form of literature," she posits, and serious readers will agree and find it practiced here. Agent: Melanie Jackson, Melanie Jackson Agency. (July)

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