The Novel & Our Time

The Novel & Our Time

The Novel & Our Time

The Novel & Our Time

Excerpt

IN THIS BOOK I AM TRYING TO PRESENT, NOT for critics but for readers, one or two of the critical and technical problems arising out of the novel in its present setting. I will keep off its history, except insofar as that is essential in discussing the intention of the novel in general, and I do not feel qualified to discuss individual contemporaries at length. If I make it clear at the outset that I am speaking entirely for myself that may prevent misunderstanding of the general thesis behind my criticism. Since every writer is bound to be influenced by all that he reads, from Tolstoy to Maria Monk, whether he likes it or not, schools of literature are at best confessions of indebtedness between friends, and at worst discreditable rackets. One of the few compensations which individualism in art has to offer for the loss of a human conception of creative work is the freedom to mould literature to ones own personality, and I am going to suggest that this is more true of the novel and the lyrical poem than of any other forms of verbal art. Now that a writer's attitude to humanity and history is increasingly his most important artistic quality there is more reason for the reader to demand personal accounts of what takes place in the process of writing than in social patterns of society where he shares with the writer the making of what is written.

My own position is that of romanticism, which I have discussed elsewhere and tried to define in such a . . .

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