The Art of Fiction – David Lodge

2016eclecticreader_bookdout2016 Nonfiction Challenge

Genre: Literary Criticism

Narrative Style: A series of essays originally published as newspaper columns.Unknown-2

Rating: 3/5

Published: 1994

Format: Paperback

Reading Challenges: Non Fiction Reading Challenge, Eclectic Reader Challenge – Genre a book about books.

I have had this book on my shelf for about twenty years so it seemed a good place to start reading some long neglected non fiction. I do enjoy reading literary criticism and it is a long time since I have read any so I was looking forward to reading it.

Lodge has an easy to read style – probably because these were originally written for a non-expert audience. It is easy to grasp the concepts that he discusses even when they were quite complex ideas. Each chapter looks at a different aspect of literary criticism and is illustrated by extracts from texts which illustrate its use. This was good because it meant that you had carefully chosen extracts to ponder over if you found the ideas difficult to understand.

As always with literary criticism, there were times when I thought Lodge stretched things a bit but they were few and far between. It is the nature of reading that some things that seem obvious to one reader will seem far fetched to another so I would have been surprised had this not been the case.

My other criticism is really a matter of taste. Lodge favours writers such as Woolf , Beckett and Joyce which really don’t particularly appeal to my taste. He seems quite in thrall to this sort of writing – in fact, he does talk of the influence on his own fiction of such writers. Lodge mentions his own fiction fairly often and even uses it as an illustrative example for one of the chapters. While it would seem unlikely that he would manage to not mention his own fiction, it does seem rather conceited to put it up there as an example in amongst such writers as Austen, Joyce, Elliot, James and Poe. (I have never read any of his fiction so maybe I am being a bit harsh.)

The main thing I have  come away from this book with is a list of authors that I would now like to read that I might not have considered otherwise so thank you, David Lodge for expanding my already over burdened to read list.

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