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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' Salman Rushdie, 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 European authors.

Josipovici's comments follow British author Harry Mount's assertion in the Daily Telegraph that modern novelists are guilty of writing 'downright boring' books.
 

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