Monday, 11 August 2008

Spot the agenda

In her longer essays, Rose's love of tangents constantly threatens to destabilise her arguments. Perhaps she would respond that she isn't aiming at coherence, that she believes that criticism, no less than literature, should be allowed to remain a little puzzling. But there is a difference between complexity and obscurity, and the best writers don't forget that. By far the best criticism I have read in recent years - The Broken Estate by James Wood, or Nobody's Perfect by Anthony Lane, or Geoff Dyer's book on DH Lawrence - has come not from academia, but from critics who work as journalists and who combine complexity of thought with a dazzlingly direct style.

Natasha Walter, Review of Jacqueline Rose's On Not Being Able to Sleep, Guardian, 22/ 02/ 2003

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