Summer 1963 • Vol. XXV No. 3 Nonfiction |

The Economy of Love: The Novels of Bernard Malamud

Jonathan Baumbach THE ECONOMY OF LOVE: THE NOVELS OF BERNARD MALAMUD "Without heroes, we're all plain people and don't know how far we can go."-The Natural ANGLOPHILES AND JACOBITES NOTWITHSTANDING, THE ENGLISH novel of manners has never been congenial with us. The main tradition of the American novel, if such a freewheeling form can be said to have one, is founded on that ambiguity that Richard Chase calls the "romance." In The American Novel and Its Tradition, Chase, referring to Cooper, Melville, and Hawthorne, defines romance as an assumed freedom from the ordinary novelistic requirements of verisimilitude, development and continuity; a tendency toward melo- drama and idyl; a more or less formal abstractness, and, on the other hand, a tendency to plunge into the underside of consciousness.... I quote Chase's definition here because, with certain modifica- tions, it also describes the concerns of some of our best recent fiction. One thinks immediately of The Natural, Henderson th

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