Summer 1966 • Vol. XXVIII No. 3 NonfictionJune 1, 1966 |

The Curious Death of the Novel: Or, What to Do about Tired Literary Critics

I. FABLE Once upon a time there was a group of very talented writers known as Modern Novelists, who wrote books known as Modern Novels. The writers known as Modern Novelists were named Joyce and Proust and Dreiser and Mann and Faulkner and Fitzgerald and Hemingway and Wolfe. While no one of these writers wrote books like those of any of the others, they were all considered to be very good Modern Novelists. At the same time there was another group of people, some of them very talented and some of them not so very talented, who were known as Literary Critics. They read the books of the Modern Novelists, and they thereupon said to each other, "Aha! Now we know what a Modern Novel is." This was a very astute observation and they were most satisfied with it. Time Passed, and after a long while every one of the group of people known as Modern Novelists was dead. There were now some new people around who also wrote books, and who kept insisting that the books were Novels and that

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