The World of Fiction

The World of Fiction

The World of Fiction

The World of Fiction

Excerpt

This book has a single, deliberately limited, and clearly defined purpose. It is not a treatise on the psychology of fiction nor a handbook on the writing of fiction, though it involves both psychology and technique. I do not understand it as belonging to esthetics or literary criticism, and I ask the reader not to label it with those names but to regard it solely as an analysis of the relationship between the person who writes a novel and the person who reads it. I especially ask him to recognize that I am not generalizing beyond the immediate reference of my text.

More than that, I ask him to open his mind to all novels while he is reading what I say about fiction. We all know that some novels are better, more important, more worthy than others, are the work of more gifted men, have more significant things to say. I have freely expressed my preferences here when I could do so without endangering my analysis. But the analysis is conducted with as few references to comparative values as I found possible and none at all to absolute values. It will be misunderstood if any are imposed on it. From the point of view maintained here, all novels are valuable in that they are read. The act of read-

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