Numéro Cinq, the online literary journal spearheaded by Governor General’s Literary Award–winning fiction writer and critic Douglas Glover, has added American critic Daniel Green to its masthead.
Green is the author of the recently published volume Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism, and he maintains the website The Reading Experience. A passionate advocate for experimental writing and work that challenges conventional (read: staid) wisdom and thought, Green is also a blazing scold of the dominant midcult mentality around literature (in his book, he lauds aesthetically predisposed critics such as Harold Bloom, Susan Sontag, and S.D. Chrostowska and openly disdains the more mainstream James Wood).
Of his own critical style, born out of the New Criticism of the early 20th century, Green writes, “I am inclined first of all to read fiction the way the New Critics read poetry, for the integrated effects of language, for the way the parts of the text make a whole and how the parts interrelate. Ultimately, of course, you can’t avoid discussing such things as characters and point of view, but those are themselves the textual artifacts of language.”
Jeff Bursey, reviewing Beyond the Blurb, writes, “In the culture wars Green refers to throughout, he is a combatant, if an unwilling one.”
In a recent contribution for Numéro Cinq, Green provides an incisive and illuminating take on the work of Robert Coover, in the context of a review of the American postmodernist writer’s latest novel, Huck Out West:
Coover’s novels and stories subvert both the abiding myths and shibboleths – sometimes outright lies – that animate American history, and the formal assumptions of literary storytelling, often by adopting the ostensible conventions of such storytelling but subjecting them to a kind of straight-faced parody.
Like Dwight Macdonald before him, Green is content to write against the grain of prevailing attitudes and assumptions, but his work is nevertheless accessible and informed by a piercing intelligence and roaming curiosity. In his philosophy and approach, he appears a perfect fit for Numéro Cinq’s eccentric mix of criticism, original literary work, and occasional essays.