THE NOVEL AS FAITH: The Gospel According to James, Hardy, Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf by John Paterson

THE NOVEL AS FAITH: The Gospel According to James, Hardy, Conrad, Joyce, Lawrence and Virginia Woolf

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Paterson (Univ. of California at Berkeley) views the period from ""the first publications of James and Hardy to the last publications of Joyce and Mrs. Woolf"" as ""the most conscious and self-conscious period in the history of English fiction,"" as a time when novelists ""first felt free to take themselves seriously as artists on a par with poets and dramatists,"" and he attempts to explore the assumptions of these six dominating writers, hoping ""to reveal. . .the various principles of form that separated them from each other and the essential principles of form that united them and made them one."" Paterson admittedly makes no effort to relate their aesthetics to their novels; his approach is ""wholly theoretical and abstract."" This book's one salient virtue is the assiduous accumulation of pronouncements made by the novelists on their art and on the efforts of their fellow artists. Otherwise, it is a rather thin and largely repetitious book, replete with tiresome longueurs, paraphrases which add little to the observations quoted, all written in a style that seems a cross between a pedant's and that of an insatiable alliterator. The few pertinent insights that occur would seem better suited to a monograph or an introductory lecture than a book-length treatment. Such a work should illuminate either our understanding of a genre or particular works of art, as did for instance F.R. Leavis' The Great Tradition. Sadly this book accomplishes neither.

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 1973
Publisher: Gambit