Michael Wood (academic)

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For other people of the same name, see Michael Wood.

Michael Wood born in Lincoln, England, was director of the Gauss Seminars in Criticism at Princeton from 1995 to 2001, chaired Princeton's English department from 1998 to 2004, and still teaches at Princeton today, where he is professor emeritus. He is one of the foremost literary and cultural critics in the English-speaking world, and is an author of critical and scholarly books as well as a highly respected writer of reviews, review articles, and columns. He writes in literary publications such as The New York Review of Books and the London Review of Books, where he is also an editorial board member and where his column, "At the Movies", is highly regarded. Wood also teaches at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf School of English in Vermont during the summers.

Prior to teaching at Princeton, he taught at Columbia University in the Department of English and Comparative Literature, lived briefly in Mexico City, and then took the chair of English at the University of Exeter in Devon, England. He was a modern languages undergraduate at St. John's College, at the University of Cambridge. A specialist in French and German, he studied under J. P. Stern and went on as a graduate student at Cambridge as well as a prize fellow.

In addition to countless reviews, he also has written books on Nabokov, the trans-historical appeal of the oracle from the Greeks to the cinema, on the relations between contemporary fiction and storytelling, and on figures in the modern cultural pantheon including Luis Buñuel, Franz Kafka, Stendhal, Gabriel García Márquez and W. B. Yeats.

Wood resides with his wife, Elena Wood Uribe, and has three children: Gaby Wood, who is the literary director elect of the Man Booker Prize in London;[1] Patrick Wood, a former professor at Boston University and currently in health care consulting; and Tony Wood, a journalist and former assistant editor of the New Left Review.

Published works

  • Stendhal (Cornell University Press, 1971)
  • America in the Movies (Basic Books, 1975)
  • García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cambridge University Press, 1990)
  • The Magician's Doubts: Nabokov and the risks of fiction (Chatto and Windus, 1994)
  • Children of Silence: on contemporary fiction (Columbia University Press, 1998)
  • Belle de Jour (British Film Institute Publishing, 2001)
  • The Road to Delphi: the Life and Afterlife of Oracles (Farrar Straus and Giroux, 2003)
  • Franz Kafka (Northcote House/British Council, 2004)
  • Nation, Language, and the Ethics of Translation, editor with Sandra Bermann (Princeton University Press, 2005)
  • Literature and the Taste of Knowledge (Cambridge University Press, 2005)
  • Yeats and Violence (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Film: A very short introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012)


  1. "Telegraph critic Gaby Wood to run Man Booker Prize". BBC News. 30 April 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2015. 

External links

Preceded by
Edmund Keeley
Straut Professor of English at Princeton University
Succeeded by