THE LITERARY FALLACY by Bernard De Voto
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THE LITERARY FALLACY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Here is a critic who dares to say of the American writings of the '20's that it was the age of literary folly, literary slapstick -- ""the Age of Ignominy"". His process of reasoning takes issue with established criticism, epitomized by Van Wyck Brooks, whose very excellence has made him a leading critic -- teacher -- advocate --inspiration. The danger, says he, is that one literary generation's mistakes become the next generation's illusions. And the writers of the '20's made the prime mistake of writing not from life itself, but from distortion, half truths, dissociation from common ideals, common experiences. Literary thinking was caught in its own trap. ""The Literary Fallacy"" assumes that a culture can be measured by its literature which embodies its content and values...is its highest expression...is the measure of life which in turn is subordinate to it..."" This is not a history of American literature of the '20's, though many of its writers come under his microscope. It is a challenge to literature of the future to reflect American life by first knowing America.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1944
Publisher: Little, Brown