HOW TO READ A NOVEL by Caroline Gordon


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Novelist Gordon's approach bears no resemblance to Mortimer Adler's How To Read A Book nor should her book in any way be considered a manual with lists and categories. Hers is a visiting tour of master craftsmen from Sophocles to Hemingway pointing to this, steering away from that. She draws on the comments of many critics-Maritain, R. G. Collingwood, Howard Mumford Jones, Van Wyck Brooks. She explains, broadly, the development of the novel, where those practitioners of the art of the novel have succeeded and where some, notably Gide, have failed in her belief that one ""must know the makeup of the novel before one can appreciatively read it"". Because, in the last analysis, the goal of the author and the reader is the same -- the perception of life as it really is, in other words, the grasp of truth. The key- note approach for both is that of humility:- humility for the author because his task is larger than that of mere self-expression, humility for the reader because be must, for creative reading, lay aside his preconceived notions of what a novel must be and ""follow in the footsteps of the creator"". Here is an unacademic, informal study directed toward that end, which is well worth the reading.

Publisher: Viking