Sorry to disagree with the poster who called my comments on James Wood "ignorant." I'd suggest that he himself is ignorant, for not looking at literature with a broader view.
James Wood, to my mind, is nothing but a shill. I'll not apologize or back off from that. He reminds me of the car reviewers who write for car enthusiast magazines, rating the newest models, making distinctions within their narrow world. "The new Dodge truck, though it's larger than a house and gets one mile to the gallon, doesn't kick ass when I gun it! I prefer the Ford model-- and you sit higher; like, your head is right there the roof inches away when you drive under a bridge." The writer isn't expected to step back and take a larger view-- he's just there to comment on the latest garbage. No analysis of why Ford and GM are on the verge of going out of business-- no examination of the magazine's own codes and message.
James Wood is like a beat sportswriter, on deadline to comment on the hockey game the night before. Yzerman had an off night and should retire. The Wings were tired. The Blues played better defense. He's not about to say in his report that the sport itself is dying, far less exciting than it was twenty years ago; that it's failed to develop new stars; that TV ratings have vanished and arenas are half-filled. Then all the arenas in the entire league become empty and the beat reporter is put on another assignment-- high school girls lacrosse leagues and such.
The good thing about cars and hockey is that there are journalists somewhere doing in-depth analysis, and shows on radio where the sport's or industry's decline is dissected.
James Wood doesn't even realize literature is IN crisis. Cronyism? Corruption? What's that? Far be it from this stooge to ever write about it. He's mentally incapable, for starters, of realizing that Bellow was from a different era-- that to continue to hype him many decades after he was relevant is a detriment to lit's condition as it stands now. I'd guess there is scarcely a non-English major young person who would possibly have interest in Bellow whatsoever. Putting him on the cover of your hockey season program guide is a distinct mistake-- it sends the message, "This sport is dead!"
The last true literary critic produced by the establishment, who looked at literature's corruption and looked at the art in context, was Richard Kostelanetz in the 1960s. Because he spoke the uncomfortable truth, they quickly kicked him out of their ranks.