BOOKS WITH MEN BEHIND THEM by Edmund Fuller

BOOKS WITH MEN BEHIND THEM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In 1958 Edmund Fuller's Man in Modern Fiction was an attack against the distortion of the ""image of man"" in contemporary fiction. This- in a sense its sequel-presents a few modern writers who on the other hand have ""ripened some ordered, rational and balanced vision of life"". Fuller has little use for much that is symptomatic of this ""disordered age"". Its acceptance of the ""immature"" and the ""maimed"", its isolation in private experience, and the equation of talent with ultimate achievement. Essentially Fuller is a humane, occasionally didactic critic, searching for some affirmation of moral and spiritual value. (Still- it is hard to accept- in his selective endorsement of a few recent novels, Eugene Vale's The Thirteenth Apostle: talent may not be enough, but conversely, an inspirational mission and message is not all.) The writers here discussed at length to present the larger view are varied, frequently less known; the currently undervalued and neglected Thornton Wilder; the historical works of Gladys Schmitt with Rembrandt ""the prudent and most perfected of her works"" (again aesthetically arguable); Alan Paton: C.P. Snow for his ""responsible concern"" with important issues; and at the close three masters of fantasy affiliated by their ""Christian view of the nature of reality"", C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Charles Williams.... Fuller who probably would have little use for Gautier's art for art's sake also represents the ""Christian view"" and has attempted to guide the reader toward works in which he finds some awareness of the dignity of man and the meaningfulness of his existence. This necessarily slights and diminishes the other purposes and pleasures a book may offer.

Publisher: Random House