The Modern English Novel

The Modern English Novel

The Modern English Novel

The Modern English Novel

Excerpt

This book was originally written in French, for French students, with no concealment of the fact that much of its matter was second-hand. I said that the book was partly a summary of English opinion of English novelists, an abstract, a kind of class-book. I also likened it to a guide-book for French explorers in the realm of English fiction.

But it occurred to some English publishers and critics that I had in fact done more and better than I professed to have done. They pointed out not only that the compiled matter in this little book had been condensed, rearranged, re-expressed, and made mine, but that it had also been fertilized by new ideas, mobilized by a fresh movement, given a new lucidity, and interspersed with some personal views. They found, in addition, enough original matter in this self-styled "patchwork manual" to make it equal, in formative and informative value, to any work of the same kind on the same subject.

It is not for me to say whether they were mistaken. Be this as it may, the book was simultaneously published by the Oxford University Press in England and by La Nouvelle Revue Française in France. It was on the strength of its original, not of its borrowed elements that it was appraised--and approved.

However, I cannot let a translation be published in America without repeating what I wrote in my Preface . . .

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