THE POLITICS OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY NOVELISTS by George E. -- Ed. Panichas

THE POLITICS OF TWENTIETH-CENTURY NOVELISTS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This collection of short, dull articles reads oddly as if it had all been written by the same person. Just about the only general comments on literature-and-politics are ventured by the introduction, and they fail to seize upon the problems and potentialities of politically sensitive fiction. There are a few decent essays, on E. M. Forster, Ellison, Baldwin, and Steinbeck, but they are too fiat and abbreviated; most of the collection, which covers British, European, and American literature of the 20th century, would fail the standards of a respectable literary review or graduate department, as witness the banal, superficial treatments of Snow, Malraux, Camus, Orwell, Huxley, and Styron. Most disappointing are the nutshell curricula vitae -- Dos Passos hasn't changed, was always a political freedom-lover, and the key to all Kazantzakis' switches is his eternal love of youth and strength. The essay on Bernanos, however apologetic and inept, at least provides an inkling of the political alignments, debates, and self-rationales of the period. With the exception of Lawson on Faulkner, the little-known contributors fear lo venture a connection between objective social-cultural-political developments and the works in question; they settle for a recitation of the author's opinions, characters, and motifs. One need not even invoke Wilson-Trilling-Kazin-Rahv and their non-formalist successors to deem this an undertaking of very little interest or utility, political or literary.

Pub Date: June 28th, 1971
Publisher: Hawthorn