The Social Novel at the End of an Era

The Social Novel at the End of an Era

The Social Novel at the End of an Era

The Social Novel at the End of an Era

Excerpt

WARREN FRENCH, who teaches at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, has written books on Frank Norris, John Steinbeck, and J. D. Salinger and has edited A Companion to "The Grapes of Wrath," A valuable and well-documented study of the Dust Bowl, the "Okies," and other phenomena of the thirities. Now, in The Social Novel at the End of an Era, he revisits that troubled decade, looking at the work of several novelists.

He offers some surprises. He does not, for example, deal with any of the group of writers of the so-called proletarian school, and he does not (except in passing) take up the work of one of the notable social novelists of the period, James T. Farrell, who wrote of the Irish middle class in Chicago. Rather unexpectedly, Mr. French examines a book by William Faulkner and one by Ernest Hemingway. John Steinbeck would of course be anticipated, and Mr. French gives us a fresh view of The Grapes of Wrath (In Dubious Battle,Steinbeck's other outstanding social novel, receives only incidental mention). Mr. French also grants consideration to the pair of novels, now little known, which in 1939 shared the American Booksellers' Award with The Grapes of Wrath:Dalton Trumbo Johnny Got His Gun and Elgin Groseclose Ararat. There is also a discussion of Robert Penn Warren Night Rider (1938), a story of the Kentucky "tobacco wars" of the early twentieth century.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.