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29

Serious Noticing

4
terms
4
notes

Wood, J. (2015). Serious Noticing. In Wood, J. The Nearest Thing To Life. Jonathan Cape, pp. 29-60

36

[...] For details represent those moments in a story where form is outlived, cancelled, evaded. I think of details as nothing less than bits of life sticking out of the frieze of form, imploring us to touch them. Details are not, of course, just bits of life: they represent that magical fusion, wherein the maximum amount of literary artifice (the writer's genius for selection and imaginative creation) produces a simulacrum of the maximum amount of non-literary or actual life, a process whereby artifice is then indeed converted into (fictional, which is to say, new) life. Details are not lifelike but irreducible: things-in-themselves, what I would call lifeness itself. [...]

—p.36 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

[...] For details represent those moments in a story where form is outlived, cancelled, evaded. I think of details as nothing less than bits of life sticking out of the frieze of form, imploring us to touch them. Details are not, of course, just bits of life: they represent that magical fusion, wherein the maximum amount of literary artifice (the writer's genius for selection and imaginative creation) produces a simulacrum of the maximum amount of non-literary or actual life, a process whereby artifice is then indeed converted into (fictional, which is to say, new) life. Details are not lifelike but irreducible: things-in-themselves, what I would call lifeness itself. [...]

—p.36 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

the leaf or leaflike part of a palm, fern, or similar plant

40

frondy purple tassels

—p.40 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

frondy purple tassels

—p.40 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

an excessive amount of something

44

suffering from a surfeit of bloody pungency

—p.44 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

suffering from a surfeit of bloody pungency

—p.44 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

intervened with, through an intermediary

46

looking is always mediated by other representations of looking

—p.46 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

looking is always mediated by other representations of looking

—p.46 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago
51

[...] fiction's chief difference from poetry and painting and sculpture--from the other arts of noticing--is this internal psychological element. In fiction, we get to examine the self in all its performance and pretence, its fear and secret ambition, its pride and sadness. It is by noticing people seriously that you begin to understand them; by looking harder, more sensitively, at people's motives, you can look around and behind them, so to speak. [...]

—p.51 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

[...] fiction's chief difference from poetry and painting and sculpture--from the other arts of noticing--is this internal psychological element. In fiction, we get to examine the self in all its performance and pretence, its fear and secret ambition, its pride and sadness. It is by noticing people seriously that you begin to understand them; by looking harder, more sensitively, at people's motives, you can look around and behind them, so to speak. [...]

—p.51 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago
53

What do writers do when they seriously notice the world? Perhaps they do nothing less than rescue the life of things from their death--from two deaths, one small and one large: from the 'death' which literary form always threatens to impose on life, and from actual death. Which is to say, they rescue us from our death. I mean the fading reality that besets details as they recede from us--the memories of our childhood, the almost-forgotten pungency of flavours, smells, textures: the slow death that we deal to the world by the sleep of our attention. [...]

—p.53 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

What do writers do when they seriously notice the world? Perhaps they do nothing less than rescue the life of things from their death--from two deaths, one small and one large: from the 'death' which literary form always threatens to impose on life, and from actual death. Which is to say, they rescue us from our death. I mean the fading reality that besets details as they recede from us--the memories of our childhood, the almost-forgotten pungency of flavours, smells, textures: the slow death that we deal to the world by the sleep of our attention. [...]

—p.53 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago
56

Nabokov's is a highly self-serving and romantic view of the author, who seems to have no indebtedness to any other author; indeed, in Nabokov's mythology, this writer, who fashions humans from ribs, is God Himself, which might well mean Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov.

ahahah

—p.56 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

Nabokov's is a highly self-serving and romantic view of the author, who seems to have no indebtedness to any other author; indeed, in Nabokov's mythology, this writer, who fashions humans from ribs, is God Himself, which might well mean Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov.

ahahah

—p.56 by James Wood 2 years, 6 months ago

(adverb) by physical coercion / (adverb) by force of circumstances

58

heaven must perforce be a place of serious noticing

—p.58 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago

heaven must perforce be a place of serious noticing

—p.58 by James Wood
notable
2 years, 6 months ago