His puffed-up preferences are not moral imperatives.
I happen to disagree with Wood, but in invoking moral objections he's already denied me equal textual footing for a rebuttal. Certain metatextual questions remain in play: We can talk, for example, about whether or not Robert Lowell should have incorporated his ex-wife's letters into his work, but I fear I'm not willing or able to sustain a moral argument for or against Pynchon's decision to include a talking dog and a mechanical duck in Mason & Dixon rather than more conventional, rounded human characters. To engage a moral argument about such things is to be led down the primrose path by Wood, where we will engage in narrowing the novel instead of celebrating its manifold possibilities.
05 September 2007
The Moral Argument of Talking Dogs
The Rake on James Wood's criticism of "hysterical realism":