The time primarily considered in this study is that of setting and action. It has been used as the major basis of categorization and as point of departure for comments and interpretations throughout. Consequently, the relationship between the works and the time of writing has been given less attention. The rationale behind this approach has already been suggested but needs further development. Some consideration of a complementary view, the interaction between time treated and time of treatment, is also in order. This perspective, added to the picture emerging from the previous chapters, will then form the background for a discussion of the major contributions that the American military novels have made to our view of America in the immediate postwar period.
The "re-created-time" approach that has been used rests on the hypothesis that the picture given of the time of action in military novels is generally reliable and historically accurate and thus a workable basis for time-related comparisons and discussions. This seemed a reasonable assumption in view of the close interrelations between fact and fiction usually found in historical novels, particularly war novels. Also, the writers considered in this study work within a well- established national realistic tradition: American authors were always faithful recorders of factual backgrounds and surroundings of periods and areas treated. William Dean Howells, Stephen Crane, and Theodore Dreiser are well-known exponents of a tradition that extends