Politics and the Novel

Politics and the Novel

Politics and the Novel

Politics and the Novel

Excerpt

This book is meant primarily as a study of the relation between literature and ideas, though a considerable part of it, I should say, consists of literary criticism. My interest was far less in literature as social evidence or testimony than in the literary problem of what happens to the novel when it is subjected to the pressures of politics and political ideology. In discussing nineteenth century writers I have employed more or less conventional methods of criticism, while in treating twentieth century writers I have found myself placing a greater stress upon politics and ideology as such; but this was not the result of any preconceived decision, it was a gradual shift in approach that seemed to be required by the nature of the novels themselves.

It is clear that, in addition to the books discussed in the following pages, there are a number of important novels that might profitably have been considered in the terms that I have here employed. Various friends suggested novels by Disraeli, Meredith, Mark Twain, Tolstoy, Pirandello and a great many contemporary writers. Some of these did not happen to interest me, others interested me too much. In any case, my intention was not to discuss every novel that might . . .

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