The American Novel To-Day: A Social and Psychological Study

The American Novel To-Day: A Social and Psychological Study

The American Novel To-Day: A Social and Psychological Study

The American Novel To-Day: A Social and Psychological Study

Excerpt

This book grew out of a series of lectures given by the author at the Sorbonne during the year 1926. These lectures were later published in a volume which was awarded the Montyon prize by the French Academy. The author's first task is to apologize to the American reader for his audacity in attempting to transcribe it into English, and to seek his indulgence by reminding him that this is "an essay from a French pen", to quote our former ambassador, M. Jusserand. It is only fair that the writer should warn his readers that the field of his investigation has been limited. His purpose was not to write a complete history of the American novel, although the principal masters of modern fiction have been included in the book; nor was it his intention that this should be purely a piece of literary criticism.

No one can open an American novel without being impressed by the earnestness and the unanimity which the authors display in discussing moral and social questions. Their books constitute a vast satire of presentday American civilization, a defense of the rights of man against the pressure of obsolete ideals and traditions. From this standpoint, they constitute a homologous group while each retains his full measure of originality.

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