Michael Wood

Michael Wood is an emeritus professor at Princeton. He has written books on Yeats, Nabokov, Stendhal, Hitchcock and Empson, among other things.

DanielKwan and Daniel Scheinert, the writers and directors of Everything Everywhere All at Once, were worried, apparently, that Covid-related delays might result in their film arriving late for a party at which everyone was already talking about plural possible worlds. Recently it has felt almost impossible to go to the movies without having to engage with some multiverse or other,...

JoachimTrier’s Oslo films – Reprise (2006), Oslo August 31st (2011) and The Worst Person in the World (2021) – didn’t start out as a trilogy, but when one of his actors suggested that they formed one, Trier liked the idea. It’s not so obvious what links them, except for being set in Oslo and adding up to three, but the idea grows on you. Trier said he was...

RyusukeHamaguchi admits that he worried about his film, Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy: ‘I was actually scared that maybe I was writing the same story three times.’ We don’t have to take him literally – the stories are not that similar and he knows what he’s doing – but it’s an interesting thought. In each story, as in Hamaguchi’s recent Drive...

At the Movies: ‘Nightmare Alley’

Michael Wood, 24 February 2022

The Peruvian poet​ César Vallejo wrote in a famous sonnet that he would die in Paris on a rainy Thursday. He lived in Paris, it rains quite a bit there, especially for poets, and he had a one in seven chance of being right about the day. In fact, he died in Paris on a Friday. It was raining. The poem isn’t so much a near-miss prophecy as a piece of lugubrious theatre, playing...

Joel Coen’sThe Tragedy of Macbeth takes its cue from the witches. Or, rather, its one witch, played by Kathryn Hunter, who multiplies herself when she feels like it. Early in the film she stares at us across a pool while talking to Macbeth and Banquo. She is alone but there are two reflections in the water, neither of them in the right place to be hers. Then suddenly there are three...

Pirouette on a Sixpence: Untranslatables

Christopher Prendergast, 10 September 2015

On​ the face of it a Dictionary of Untranslatables looks like a contradiction in terms, either self-imploding from the word go, or, if pursued, headed fast down a cul-de-sac in which it is...

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It took a very special kind of invention to get an awareness of the ‘erratic truth of death’s timing’ into a medium of mass entertainment.

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I told you so! oracles

James Davidson, 2 December 2004

I don’t believe in astrology, but I also know that not believing in astrology is a typically Taurean trait. When I first caught a bright young friend browsing in the astrology section of a...

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And That Rug! images of Shakespeare

Michael Dobson, 6 November 2003

Above the entrance to the saloon bar there is a picture of Shakespeare on the swinging sign. It is the same picture of Shakespeare that I remember from my schooldays, when I frowned over Timon...

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Unspeakability

John Lanchester, 6 October 1994

Musing over Don Juan, Byron asked his banker and agent Douglas Kinnaird a rhetorical question: ‘Could any man have written it – who has not lived in the world? – and tooled in a...

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