In My Opinion: An Inquiry into the Contemporary Novel

By Orville Prescott | Go to book overview
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I
THE NOVELIST'S WORLD
"In Time of 'The Breaking of Nations'"

There is no such thing, of course, as "the modern mind." There are many minds and some of them seem almost prehistoric. People think differently in different countries and in different parts of the same country. Their occupations, their education, their religious convictions and their degree of awareness of current ideas and current problems vary enormously. A credulous reader of the Chicago Tribune would not often agree with a credulous reader of the New York Daily Worker. The great abstraction which we call the modern mind is divided into many parts.

Those whose thinking is part of the modern mind are those who read and write and think, who question and worry, and who, because they are articulate, influence one another and the culture of their time. Teachers and clergymen, novelists and journalists, scientists and social workers, doctors and lawyers, corporation presidents and labor leaders--all are influenced by the factors which make ours an "age of anxiety."

Whole libraries of books have been written analyzing the crisis of modern civilization. Such an analysis has no place here, even if I were qualified to make it. It must be enough to point out once more that we are the victims of world-shattering catas

-16-

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