Arthur Mizener swings somewhere between the little magazine highbrows and the mass media middlebrows. By Nasty Norman's tally he's one of the good, grey, genteel guardians of the literary racket, which translated means Mizener's a critical poltroon who plays it safe. Poltroon or not, here he utters many square-dealing and provocative pronouncements on the state of the novel vis-a-vis the twin modes of nature and manners, the sense of life and the sense of morals. He richly aerates he ""no win"" landscapes of Hemingway, Dos Passos and Fitzgerald, especially the atter's Tycoon and the ""ordinary queerness of experience"", its floating echoes, its ghoulish glamor. The downgrades Hardy's Jude for its doctrinal divisiveness, ups Trollope's observational directness, salutes the fumbling power-hungry fashionable of Powell's patterned pieces. He divines the American hero as rooted in romance, even in Salinger and Updike, and calls for a realistically integrated break-through towards both the public and personal worlds. This can be glimpsed in Tate's Fathers and its symbolic naturalism, the last essay, and a classy commentary it is. P.S. Not a word anywhere about Norman Mailer.