Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Culture Lust by Angela Carone

Controversial Critic Finds New Home at The New Yorker

The New Yorker has just hired James Wood to serve as the magazine's new literary critic. He was plucked from The New Republic where he served as book critic for several years, and famously, some say harshly, panned works by some of the biggest names in contemporary literary circles, including Toni Morrison , Don DeLillo , John Updike , Thomas Pynchon and Salman Rushdie . Oh, and Zadie Smith , Jonathan Franzen and David Foster Wallace .

You can read an interesting article about Wood in Sunday's Boston Globe , which lays out exactly why he's controversial in the literary world. To explain why he may not like these venerable writers, some point to the fact that he's a Brit. An editor at Harvard University Press accuses Wood of not "getting" America. And John Leonard , book critic at Harper's , says that not "appreciating either Don DeLillo or Toni Morrison suggests that maybe you are tone-deaf to the American language as she is written."