Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Clive James doesn't make connections

In the ample space of the TLS, Clive James reviews John Bayley's collection of literary essays (I wonder if it includes this one?). The third paragraph begins:

[Bayley] sees no end of connections [between novels], the best thing about which is that they are not theoretical. Apart from his intellectual objections, the main reason Bayley has no time for literary theory is that he is absorbed in literary practice.

Of course, James likes to think he also has no time for such pretension. A lot further on he announces that:

A work of art exists to occupy the whole space between tumultuous reality and the artist’s attempt to give it shape, with no supervening providence to nullify the order of what has been achieved.

Who needs theory indeed?

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