Summer 1969 • Vol. XXXI No. 3 Book Reviews |

Old Humanist

Inventory: Essays by Michel Butor edited by Richard Howard. Simon and Schuster, $7.95. In one of the pieces collected in Inventory Michel Butor remarks of Jackson Pollock that we haven't caught the fierce cry of the last canvases, and deplores our refusal to hear, our indifference to the figure of the painter "screaming to you that he is lost, that you are lost too. . . ." And he goes on to say of paintings—and what he says here holds good for the general attitude that informs his dealings with art and literature—that "we are interested only when something in the concept of a composition tells us about nature and ourselves, speaks to us of the world and its workings." Butor is lumped together with Robbe-Grillet as a New Novelist, but it is clear that he is closer to being an Old Humanist. It is necessary merely to add a simple proviso to let the figure stand, that Old Humanists are marked these days by an awareness of the problematic affair that the process of creation has b

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