The Survival Tales of John Hersey

The Survival Tales of John Hersey

The Survival Tales of John Hersey

The Survival Tales of John Hersey

Synopsis

". . . Huse is systematic and thorough in her chronological account of Hersey's career, and especially valuable are her insights into the relation of a larger moral vision to the particular manifestation of American society that give Hersey his fictive opportunities. . . ."¿American Literature

Excerpt

John Hersey occupies a somewhat lonely and anomalous position on the current literary scene, particularly in terms of his handling by literary scholars and critics. Though his novels and non- fiction documentaries have been frequent best-sellers, he is obviously too "serious" and philosophical a writer to be classed with the ever popular formulaic melodramatists like Irving Wallace, Arthur Hailey, Sidney Sheldon and Judith Krantz. On the other hand his strong interest in current topics of moral and political concern like racism, war, genocide, overpopulation and atomic holocaust have made him seem to many critics more a moral crusader than a literary artist. As a consequence, his work, though widely read, has never been subjected to the kind of sustained critical inquiry accorded to such twentieth century writers as Hemingway, Faulkner, or Bellow who have been treated as major artists by the critics. John Hersey has been widely reviewed, but almost never interpreted and evaluated until the present book.

Thus, Nancy Huse's book is an invaluable aid to our understanding of the scope and development of John Hersey as a writer. It is a comprehensive study which begins with Hersey's earliest published journalism and examines all his major works down to the present. Most significant of all in the present state of Hersey criticism, Huse gives us an artistic as well as thematic analysis of Hersey's development. Her discussion shows clearly that the common opinion of Hersey as an inartistic moralist is downright wrong. Instead, Hersey emerges from this treatment as a fine craftsman who has been highly sophisticated in his choice of literary techniques and structures.

Beyond its value as an analysis of John Hersey's literary career, this book also offers a number of ideas about two problems . . .

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