In this ongoing series, Critical Mass asks critics to name five books that should be found in any reviewer's library. Unable to settle on five, here are seven titles suggested by Geoff Dyer, whose Out of Sheer Rage: Wrestling with D.H. Lawrence was a 1998 NBCC finalist in Criticism.
D.H. Lawrence, Studies in Classic American Literature: Unrelieved, outrageous––genius, in short.
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society: In some ways a re-writing of Leavis’s The Great Tradition but also a vital statement of the way that literature and politics meet
George Steiner, Real Presences: Just the first part, really.
Martin Amis, The War Against Cliché: Who'd have thought that lit crit could be so much fun?
Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation: The thrill of these essays––the intensity of her engagement and advocacy––never wears off.
John Berger, Selected Essays: Indispensable, wide-ranging pieces on photography, art, politics, and life.
John Szarkowski, Atget: A lifetime’s knowledge brought to bear on 100 images.