Truly international in scope, The Oxford Guide to Contemporary Writing covers the recent literature of cultures as various as Australian and Spanish-American, French, Israeli, and Canadian, New Zealand and Russian, as well as American, English, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish. Here are discussions of the movements, noteworthy publishing events, and literary happenings in world cultures, with frank and lively opinions on the individuals and artists involved, including James Wood on the English, ("Intelligence is [A.S.] Byatt's greatest problem as a writer. She has never learned how to subjugate it"); John Taylor on the French (he dubs Debord's Panegyric the "most remarkably pure autobiography of recent times"); Rhys Williams on the literature of German-speaking countries ("This was the generation of the student movement, but also of urban terrorism"); Mark Morris on Japan (who explains the difference between shosetsu, roughly akin to the novel, and junbungaku, or "pure literature"). Not merely an annotated bibliography of authors and titles, The Oxford Guide to Contemporary Literature is an intriguing narrative in its own right, and a provocative source for new reading ideas and divergent literary paths to tread. Written by experts, but demanding no specialist knowledge of the reader, it concentrates on fiction and poetry, but is generously inclusive in its scope; each chapter provides a wealth of biographical and background information, informed criticism, suggestions for further reading, and an often controversial view of contemporary writing and its development.
Sturrock's aim in compiling The Guide has been to create a volume that is helpful, but not definitive: the judgements it contains may invite disagreement, but they are offered in a spirit of incitement and excitement about reading and writing, a roadmap to previously unknown or obscure authors worth tracking down, or whole literatures worth a closer look. The Oxford Guide to Contemporary Literature will be an invaluable companion for anyone for whom a good book is time well spent.
About: An accessible, up-to-date survey of the best writing from around the world since 1960 discusses the most important literary movements, figures, and events of the past thirty-six years, offering candid opinions from expert critics.
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