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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:05:17
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Avant-gardism

Even the long picaresque novel—which, in the hands of a Fielding or his contemporary Tobias Smollett, can rarely be accused of sentimentality—easily betrays itself into such acts of self-indulgence as the multiplication of incident for its own sake, the coy digression, the easygoing jogtrot pace that subdues the sense of urgency that should lie in all fiction. If Tolstoy’s War and Peace is a greater novel than Fielding’s Tom Jones or Dickens’ David Copperfield, it is not because its theme is nobler, or more pathetic, or more significant historically; it is because Tolstoy brings to his panoramic drama the compression and urgency usually regarded as the monopolies of briefer fiction.

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