James Ley

James Ley reviews 'mes Joyce: A Biography'

James Ley
23 August 2011

Literary biography is an often derided genre. Writers, in particular, tend to be suspicious, if not openly hostile, toward what they are apt to regard as a secondary or parasitic form. And there are valid reasons for this wariness. The assumption behind a biography is, reasonably enough, that the writer’s life informs the work, but establishing the precise relevan ... More

James Ley reviews 'Heat: 24'

James Ley
19 April 2011

A declaration of interest is in order. I have twice appeared in the pages of HEAT. I am also in the latter stages of a doctorate, which I have been writing for the past few years under the supervision of HEAT’s editor, Ivor Indyk. Under normal circumstances, I would decline to review a new edition of the journal for these reasons. The latest edit ... More

Jonathan Franzen: Freedom

James Ley
07 December 2010

In 1996, with two well-received but not widely read novels to his credit, Jonathan Franzen published a long essay in Harper’s magazine in which he aired his concerns about the novel’s waning cultural authority. As Franzen later admitted, the essay was not a particularly cogent piece of writing. Even in the clarified version that appears in How to Be ... More

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