Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays by Cynthia Ozick

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The essays in this collection that discuss the work of Bellow, Kafka, Trilling, Malamud, are all shrewd and engrossing and eminently capable of seducing the reader’s agreement...But her zealous efforts to put lesser talents and lower forms in their place are rarely so edifying.
-NY Times

Synopsis

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.
 

About Cynthia Ozick

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Cynthia Ozick is the author of numerous acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction. She is a recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International prize. Her stories have won four O. Henry first prizes, and Ozick was recently awarded the 2008 Pen/Nabokov Award and the 2008 Pen/Malamud Award. She lives in New York.
 
Published July 5, 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 224 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
All: 3 | Positive: 1 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Below average
on Apr 30 2016

Ozick’s pieces are also rigorously intellectual. Readers will need some patience and considerable knowledge to keep up with her in her essays about Kafka and Auden and Gass.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by ZOE HELLER on Jul 13 2016

The essays in this collection that discuss the work of Bellow, Kafka, Trilling, Malamud, are all shrewd and engrossing and eminently capable of seducing the reader’s agreement...But her zealous efforts to put lesser talents and lower forms in their place are rarely so edifying.

Read Full Review of Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, ... | See more reviews from NY Times

AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Alex McLevy on Jul 05 2016

Each section fairly seethes with the turbulent rumbling of her mind, the mere promise of which should send curious readers straight to the bookstore. Rarely a page goes by that doesn’t contain at least one sentence so elegantly conceived, it forces a pause of admiration and reflection. And that is a writer’s true measure, critic or no.

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Reader Rating for Critics, Monsters, Fanatics, and Other Literary Essays
80%

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