Sunday, February 03, 2008

James Wood Profiled

...over at FT. From the article:
At The New Yorker, whose sacerdotal approach to editing and mania for accuracy were derided in the 1960s by Tom Wolfe for leaving readers lost in “whichy thickets”, Wood has now found himself at the fastidious end of the publishing scale, which on the whole is a good thing. As with The New Republic, the editing process is one where he is constantly being asked to go deeper. “I find it isn’t the editors who put that qualification in,” he says, “it’s the fact-checkers. They have to be resisted, because they want to water down unprovable assertions. So you say: ‘There is great disagreement about Cormac McCarthy’s status’ – this was a piece I wrote a couple of years ago when No Country For Old Men came out – and they’ll say to you: ‘Well, I’ve been on the internet and I haven’t found much disagreement actually.’ So you say: ‘Well, for instance, Ian McEwan thinks he’s complete shit.’ ‘Yeah, but we’ll have to say then there’s been “some” disagreement.’ And already it’s getting wimpish.”


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