Winter 1958 • Vol. XX No. 1 Book ReviewsJanuary 1, 1958 |

A Perverse Fiction

By Love Possessed by lames Gould Cozzens. Harcourt. $5.00. The form of James Cozzens' latest novel is that of The Ambassadors: the book is organized around a central consciousness, an intelligent, middle-aged man who participates more or less directly in actions the evaluation of which leads to revaluation of his own experience and principles. A fine pattern for a novel, and one which Cozzens has successfully followed—though not so strictly—in Men and Brethren (1936), Ask Me Tomorrow (1940), and The Just and the Unjust (1942). Unfortunately, the structural principle of By Love Possessed is seriously flawed, and its materials are shoddy. The central intelligence, Arthur Winner Jr., the well-to-do lawyer who appraised the events and characters of the Delaware Valley town, Brocton, is sniped at throughout the book, but so inconsistently and arbitrarily that the values which are to be reappraised at the end have never been given a sensible presentation. Arthur Winner Junior

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