Summer 1968 • Vol. XXX No. 3 Book Reviews |

Shorter Reviews: The Truthtellers: Jane Austen, George Eliot, D. H. Lawrence

The Truthtellers: Jane Austen, George Eliot, D. H. Lawrence by Laurence Lerner. Schocken Books, $7.50. Professor Lerner is a poet and a novelist as well as a scholar, and his lucidity, together with a resolute independent-mindedness, make him a welcome companion as he tells us—often wittily, sometimes brilliantly—how he reads Jane Austen, George Eliot, and D. H. Lawrence. The Truthtellers is worth owning and consulting and thinking about, for even when it is wrong it exasperates disarmingly. But it can be very, very wrong. The further away from the novels he gets, the more opaque the author's argument becomes. And because I think highly of Lerner's readings I should perhaps deal first with the radical defects of The Truthtellers. To begin with, there is the matter of arrangement. My impression is that the calamitously bitty organization of the book stems from an excessively digested meal of The Rhetoric of Fiction (The Truthtellers is dedicated to Wayne Booth). In order

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