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Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism
In this virtuosic, career-spanning collection he takes on James Joyce and Elvis Presley, Nabokov and English football, Jane Austen and Penthouse Forum, William Burroughs and Hillary Clinton. But above all, Amis is concerned with literature, and with the deadly cliches–not only of the pen, but of the mind and the heart.
In The War Against Cliché, Amis serves up fresh assessments of the classics and plucks neglected masterpieces off their dusty shelves. He tilts with Cervantes, Dickens and Milton, celebrates Bellow, Updike and Elmore Leonard, and deflates some of the most bloated reputations of the past three decades. On every page Amis writes with jaw-dropping felicity, wit, and a subversive brilliance that sheds new light on everything he touches.
“Distinguished by its hothouse intensity, its singleness of purpose, its nippy aggression—and its stylishness. . . . Amis’ journalism is narrowly focused but uncannily vivid—the details are fluorescent.” —The New York Times Book Review
“Amis is a force unto himself. . . . There is, quite simply, no one else like him.” —The Washington Post
“Funny, impeccably calm, highly intelligent and almost never polite.” –USA Today
“[Written] with intelligence and ardor and panache. . . . Speaks not just to a lifetime of reading, but also to a fascination with how individual writers mature, how some distill their language and ideas, while others . . . misplace or misdirect their energies. –The New York Times
Table of Contents
On Masculinity and Related Questions:
Iron John. Movie Violence. Thatcher. Lincoln.
Hillary Clinton. The End of Nature.
Elvis Presley and Andy Warhol.
Nuclear Weapons. Writing About Sex.
Some English Prose:
V. S. Pritchett. Angus Wilson. Iris Murdoch.
J.G. Ballard. Anthony Burgess. C.P. Snow,
Brian Aldiss, Cyril Connolly, Fay Weldon,
John Fowles. D.M. Thomas.
From the Canon:
Coleridge. Jane Austen. Milton. Dickens.
Donne.Waugh and Wodehouse.
Robert B. Parker: Chandler Prolonged.
Michael Crichton. Elmore Leonard.
Tom Wolfe. Thomas Harris.
Some American Prose:
Norman Mailer. Gore Vidal. Philip Roth.
William Burroughs. Kurt Vonnegut.
Truman Capote. Don DeLillo. Saul Bellow
Obsessions and Curiosities:
Chess. Footbool. Poker. World Records. Modern Humour.
World Literature. Zamyatin. Kafka.
Shiva Naipaul. A Journey in Ladakh.
Don Quixote. Pride and Prejudice. Ulysses.
The Adventures of Augie March. Lolita.