In My Opinion: An Inquiry into the Contemporary Novel

By Orville Prescott | Go to book overview

IV
SQUANDERED TALENTS: Lewis, Steinbeck, Hemingway, O'Hara

"Every man takes the limits of his own field of vision for the limits of the world."--Schopenhauer

The books we have just discussed are marked by a certain clarity of purpose. Their authors hold definite opinions about politics or man's fate, and they have expressed them in fictional form. All of them may not have added a cubit to their own intellectual stature, but at least they have taken thought in a responsible and intelligent fashion. As much cannot be said for the muddled and irresponsible ideas and the debased version of human character which have undermined the recent works of John Steinbeck, John O'Hara, Sinclair Lewis and Ernest Hemingway.

These are great names in the republic of modern letters and the men who bear them are greatly talented. All of them save Mr. O'Hara are world-famous. The late Sinclair Lewis was the most celebrated American writer of this century, a Nobel Prize winner, a novelist whose achievements will never be forgotten, whose influence was incalculable. Ernest Hemingway is probably the second most celebrated modern American writer, a master literary technician whose methods have been imitated

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