Monday, November 4, 2019

Stanley Fish's six essential reads

Stanley Fish is a prominent literary theorist and legal scholar whose books include How to Write a Sentence and How Milton Works. His latest book is The First: How to Think About Hate Speech, Campus Speech, Religious Speech, Fake News, Post-Truth, and Donald Trump.

At The Week magazine, Fish shared a list of six essential reads, including:
The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford (1915).

A story that's chock-full of monstrous betrayals is narrated by a participant who understands nothing of what has happened. "Empty" is too full a word for him. The maintenance of this personhood-free persona is extraordinary and unmatched in any novel I know.
Read about the other entries on the list.

The Good Soldier also appears on Carrie V Mullins's list of eleven of the least reliable narrators in literature, Piers Paul Read's top ten list of novels about unfaithful wives, Jean Hanff Korelitz's top six list of her favorite books about failed marriages, Penelope Lively's six favorite books list, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best spas in literature, ten of the best failed couplings in literature, and ten great novels with terrible original titles, and on the Guardian's list of ten of the best unconsummated passions in fiction and Adam Haslett's list of the five best novelists on grief. One line from the novel appears among Stanley Fish's top five sentences.

The Page 99 Test: The Good Soldier.

--Marshal Zeringue