Contemporary European Novelists

Contemporary European Novelists

Contemporary European Novelists

Contemporary European Novelists

Excerpt

In this companion volume to Contemporary American Novelists and Contemporary British Novelists, we had to choose between horizontal coverage of the European novel, across all countries producing fiction, or to narrow our scope to a greater in-depth treatment of fiction in those countries whose novelists are most influential today and who have gained international attention. We chose the latter course. Each contributor was asked to evaluate, criticize, and explain freely novels and authors within his own area of familiarity, as well as to render the intellectual and political contexts and trends that have shaped French, German, Italian, and Russian postwar fiction. Readers of the original essays included in Contemporary European Novelists will find that the authors also have drawn upon some sources of criticism and fiction still untranslated, but which merit translation, in order to give an organic focus to the careers of the writers discussed.

In searching for answers as to what gives contemporary European literature its distinct features, one particularly notices the surge of experimentation and technical variations, the writers' painful and often orphaned isolation--despite ideological groupings--and their awareness of it as a source of creativity and frustration, as well as their essential combativeness. Writing down his thoughts about the relationship of artistic productivity and social development, while in-

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