global  >   America  >   NYC

why 26 january is celebrated as republic day

Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 14:59:36
Typeface large in Small

There are symbolic novels whose infranarrative meaning cannot easily be stated, since it appears to subsist on an unconscious level. Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851) is such a work, as is D.H. Lawrence’s novella St. Mawr (1925), in which the significance of the horse is powerful and mysterious.

The novel attempts to assume those burdens of life that have no place in the epic poem and to see man as unheroic, unredeemed, imperfect, even absurd. This is why there is room among its practitioners for writers of hardboiled detective thrillers such as the contemporary American Mickey Spillane or of sentimental melodramas such as the prolific 19th-century English novelist Mrs. Henry Wood, but not for one of the unremitting elevation of outlook of a John Milton.

The inferior novelist tends to be preoccupied with plot; to the superior novelist the convolutions of the human personality, under the stress of artfully selected experience, are the chief fascination. Without character it was once accepted that there could be no fiction. In the period since World War II, the creators of what has come to be called the French nouveau roman (i.e., new novel) have deliberately demoted the human element, claiming the right of objects and processes to the writer’s and reader’s prior attention. Thus, in books termed chosiste (literally “thing-ist”), they make the furniture of a room more important than its human incumbents. This may be seen as a transitory protest against the long predominance of character in the novel, but, even on the popular level, there have been indications that readers can be held by things as much as by characters. Henry James could be vague in The Ambassadors (1903) about the provenance of his chief character’s wealth; if he wrote today he would have to give his readers a tour around the factory or estate. The popularity of much undistinguished but popular fiction has nothing to do with its wooden characters; it is machines, procedures, organizations that draw the reader. The success of Ian Fleming’s British spy stories in the 1960s had much to do with their hero, James Bond’s car, gun, and preferred way of mixing a martini.

The presentation of factual material as art is the purpose of such thinly disguised biographies as Somerset Maugham’s Moon and Sixpence (1919), undisguised biographies fleshed out with supposition and imagination like Helen Waddell’s Peter Abelard (1933), and many autobiographies served up—out of fear of libel or of dullness—as novels. Conversely, invented material may take on the lineaments of journalistic actuality through the employment of a Defoe technique of flat understatement. This is the way of such science fiction as Michael Crichton’s Andromeda Strain (1969), which uses sketch maps, computer projections, and simulated typewritten reports.

The romantic novel must be seen primarily as a historical phenomenon, but the romantic style and spirit, once they had been brought into being, remained powerful and attractive enough to sustain a whole subspecies of fiction. The cheapest love story can be traced back to the example of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre (1847), or even Rousseau’s earlier Nouvelle Héloïse. Similarly, best-selling historical novels, even those devoid of literary merit, can find their progenitor in Scott, and science fiction in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), a romantic novel subtitled The Modern Prometheus, as well as in Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. The aim of romantic fiction is less to present a true picture of life than to arouse the emotions through a depiction of strong passions, or to fire the imagination with exotic, terrifying, or wonderful scenes and events. When it is condemned by critics, it is because it seems to falsify both life and language; the pseudopoetical enters the dialogue and récit alike, and humanity is seen in only one of its aspects—that of feeling untempered with reason.


RELATED ARTICLES

Copyrightchina(cn)ding ding Technical supportding ding
Host BNN News NetworkCo operation BNNCopyright BNN News Network