James Ley

James Ley reviews 'The Lives of the Novelists' by John Sutherland

James Ley
21 March 2012

Here are some of the interesting things you may learn if you read John Sutherland’s Lives of the Novelists:

that James Fenimore Cooper was expelled from Yale for training a donkey to sit in the professor’s chair

that Evelyn Waugh once attempted suicide but was prevented from drowning by a passing shoal o ... More

James Ley reviews 'Silence' by Rodney Hall

James Ley
25 October 2011

Isaiah Berlin famously divided people into two categories: hedgehogs and foxes. The former know one big thing with absolute certainty; the latter know many small things. When it comes to writers of fiction, a parallel distinction might be made on stylistic grounds. There are some writers who cultivate a finely attuned personal style – a style that becomes unmistak ... More

James Ley reviews 'James Joyce: A Biography' by Gordon Bowker

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

James Ley reviews 'Freedom' by Jonathan Franzen

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 n More

Page 3 of 3