Gabriel Josipovici hits out at modern British fiction
29th July 2010
A leading academic has levelled harsh criticism at some of the
UK's top literary stars.
Gabriel Josipovici, the former Weidenfeld professor of
comparative literature at Oxford University, told the
Guardian that he thinks it is a 'mystery'
Ian McEwan and
Julian Barnes have won so many awards between them.
'Reading Barnes, like reading so many other English writers of
his generation - Martin Amis, McEwan - leaves me feeling that I and
the world have been made smaller and meaner,' he explained.
Josipovici added that the irony, cynicism and precision which he
used to admire in the modern British novel now seems to him to be a
'terrible constriction' and representative of the authors' fears of
'opening oneself up'.
The academic also suggested that the work of contemporary
British writers stems from a desire to show off or shock and
claimed that this trait is less obvious in Irish, US or continental
Josipovici's comments follow British author
Harry Mount's assertion in the Daily Telegraph that
modern novelists are guilty of writing 'downright boring'