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Born May 18, 1953; got saved at Truett Memorial BC in Hayesville, NC 1959. On rigged ballot which I did not rig got Most Intellectual class of 71, Gaffney High School. Furman Grad, Sociology major but it was little tougher than Auburn football players had Had three dates with beautiful women the summer of 1978. Did not marry any of em. Never married anybody cause what was available was undesirable and what was desirable was unaffordable. Unlucky in love as they say and even still it is sometimes heartbreaking. Had a Pakistani Jr. Davis Cupper on the Ropes the summer of 84, City Courts, Rome Georgia I've a baby sitter, watched peoples homes while they were away on Vacation. Freelance writer, local consultant, screenwriter, and the best damn substitute teacher of Floyd County Georgia in mid 80's according to an anonymous kid passed me on main street a few years later when I went back to get a sandwich at Schroeders. Had some good moments in Collinsville as well. Ask Casey Mattox at www.clsnet.org if he will be honest about it. I try my best to make it to Bridges BBQ in Shelby NC at least four times a year.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Literary Critic, James Wood/Community Arrogance

Thursday, July 19, Sewanee, TN

Here at the Sewanee Writer's Conference where I hope to hear James Wood of the Broken Estate in about 15 minutes. Will give you a review soon, and some links to his take on Cormac McCarthy among others.
Outside my pay grade here, but it is not the first time. Have a fellow revenant with me and he is even further outside his element than me.
But we are substantive, serious people and as Steal Away says, We Ain't got Long to Stay Here.

That was Thursday, this is Monday. This note give you an idea of the phenom of an intelligence in the room at Sewanee Thursday at 5:15
From the NY Rev book July 2003

God and the Critic
By Jennifer Schuessler
James Wood(click for larger image)

The Book Against God
by James Wood
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 257 pp., $24.00
The Broken Estate: Essays on Literature and Belief
by James Wood
Modern Library, 284 pp., $14.95 (paper)
In the fifteen years since he first began reviewing books for a living, the British writer James Wood has established himself as perhaps the strongest, and strangest, literary critic we have. In his frequent essays for The New Republic (where he is a senior editor) and various other publications on both sides of the Atlantic, Wood combines an elegant literary style and magisterial command of the canon with a fierce moral passion that threatens, at times, to come slightly unhinged.

Back to Fox
I chatted briefly with Wood after his lecture. Asked him if he had any second guesses about the religion since his 99 Broken Estate. He said a few. Said he was aware of Marshall Frady and hoped to read his 79 bio of Billy Graham.
That would be fascinating indeed. For the most part his lecture was the first chapter of his upcoming book How Fiction Works.



Mixxing apples and oranges I may separate later, there is a Texas Observer article out there on Ben Cole. I hope at some point Cole understands Wood but I fear he does not now.
In any case, article has a witticism by Cole comparing the SBC mafia to the HBO Series The Sopranos.
I know what he means, but I have to say, it was the altos that got me.
Many of you may like this as a tertiary digression from this blog entry.
http://www.nybooks.com/articles/20473

And from Monday the 23rd, July, 2007
William Bradford Huie is profiled in the Summer Oxford American. I met his second wife about five years ago in a Wayne Flynt todoo at a Junior College near here.
Closing paragraph about Huie's iconoclastic career is strong. Here it is:

"Community power, because of its tendency to arrogance," Huie wrote, "must always be suspect among free men. Free men create community power fearfully: there was not a patriot at Philadelphia who didn't fear the United States even while he was helping create it."
Any American will grasp what Huie meant. Like deTocqueville, he saw democracy as a beautiful idea that also threatened to make a tyranny of the majority. Consider: we sing hymns to individualism, yet stand alone may be the single hardest thing for any American to do. As a country made up of often antagonistic communities, we guard our tribal prejudices--our "community standards"--yet imagine that we are united. We hate those who defy the standard and refuse the prejudice. We break our defiers while they're alive, and then when they're dead, call them great Americans.

Fox> I was trying to make a similar point my last day at the Collinsville Library, Jan 20, 2006 when reading a paragraph from Hardy Jackson's readable History of Alabama. They showed me the door on the Cornerstone Catch 22.

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