THE ADOLESCENT IN THE AMERICAN NOVEL by W. Tasker Witham

THE ADOLESCENT IN THE AMERICAN NOVEL

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This is an exhaustive check-list of novels published since 1920 dealing with aspects of adolescence. As a survey, it is enlightening; as a close study, it barely flickers. Just about everyone gets the once-over: from the Jazz Age (Dell, Fitzgerald) to proletarian naturalism (Farrell, Wright) or rural lyricism (Wolfe, Agee); from the Beats (Kerouac, Willingham) to the lonely and lost (McCullers, Capote) or the prep school rebels (Salinger, Knowles). Childhood confusions, parental misunderstandings, the search for self or sex, academic agonies or adjustments, delinquency or degeneracy- these make up the themes; and all the varying trends in all the varying social classes and literary periods are nicely noted. But without an in-depth approach is it really worth the effort? Further, a Holden Caulfield, a Eugene Gant, a Nick Adams, especially as described here, are all pretty much small change compared to European counterparts: Joyce's Artist, Mann's Tonio, Musil's Torless.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1963
Publisher: Frederick Ungar