Rough Notes on "How to Read Literature" by Terry Eagleton

324 words


Overall felt this section was too “micro” focused, as most books about fiction writing seem to be. I’m less interested in the sentence-level aspects of it as I suspect it is usually possible to muddle through those.

“Literary works quite often ‘know’ things that the reader does not know, or does not know yet, or perhaps will never know.”

“the strangely striking clocks are a little too voulu, a term meaning ‘willed’ in French that is used to describe an effect that is rather too calculated or self-conscious”

Is there a fiction writing method along the lines of: plan out the skeleton of the plot, hang the scenes on it, and then iterate back over the text inserting foreshadowing and minor metaphorical references to the themes of the text as a whole?


A lot of waffle…

“Roguery is more alluring than respectability.”

“…the more language he throws at a character or situation, the more he tends to bury it beneath a heap of generalities.”

Vague section on potential value of fiction or more broadly imagination and empathy; seems like it would have been better placed in the equally vague Value section.